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Is the Subaru Forester Underpowered?

The Subaru Forester has largely been known for its ruggedness and its off-road capability for when you need to off the beaten path. Additionally, some might find the Forester with being synonymous with providing an excellent value amongst others in its class given its standard all-wheel-drive configuration and tech-savvy features. But others might wonder: Is the Subaru Forester is really underpowered?

We have first and second-hand accounts of the Forester’s performance

Every 2021 Subaru Forester is powered by the same 2.5-liter, BOXER four-cylinder engine that produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque that is connected to a CVT transmission, which routes power to all four wheels via Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. According to Car and Driver, the Forester can get from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and U.S. News posted that it “feels adequate in most driving situations,” and I couldn’t agree more.

I actually own a 2019 Subaru Forester Sport and have driven it in California, near sea level, and also in Colorado at 10,000 feet of elevation. In both driving situations, the Forester feels equally responsive, although the increase elevation does decrease power a little. During my time with it. getting onto the freeway has never been an issue, although going up steep hills proves somewhat strenuous for the powertrain. The good news is that you won’t be rolling backward down the hill due to a lack of power, but it will take you a little longer than you think to get to the top. Case in point, the Forester could definitely use more power, but it’s not a complete necessity if it never happens.

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Subaru Forester?

2020 Subaru Forester Limited driving down a gravel road in the woods
2020 Subaru Forester Limited | Subaru

What the Subaru Forester lacks in power, it makes up for it other ways

2020 Subaru Forester Touring interior is the most luxurious option to get/
2020 Subaru Forester Touring interior | Subaru

In case getting up to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds or being able to adequately drive up mountains might not be good enough for some prospective buyers, they’ll be happy to know that the Forester handily makes up for its lack of power in other ways. For example, its 76.1 cu-ft of cargo space (with the rear seats folded) is no joke. I was able to fit a large amount of furniture, including an average-sized bookshelf and a bed frame (disassembled), when I had to move apartments once, not to mention that I had plenty of room on the floor space between the front and rear seats to haul smaller items at the same time. The amount of cargo space is impressive, even with the rear seat folded up.

On top of the cargo volume, the Subaru Forester is able to achieve up to 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway according to the EPA estimate. In all my time driving it thus far, my Forester was able to consistently obtain 30 mpg in combined driving, but I’ve seen it go as high as 35 mpg on a road trip that consisted of mostly highway driving.

RELATED: Best Subaru Forester Model Years to Buy Used

2020 Subaru Forester Touring rear cargo area
2020 Subaru Forester Touring rear cargo area | Subaru

Overall, the Forester is a great value proposition

If you’re in the market for a crossover and want something a little more rugged than a Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, then the Subaru Forester is worth a look. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, confident ride and handling characteristics, and a host of safety features right out of the box, it’s a great value proposition. Just remember, though, you made need to push a little harder on the gas pedal when going up hills or getting on the freeway, but I personally wouldn’t call it “underpowered.”