If Your Teen Wants an SUV, Buy the 2021 Subaru Forester

Watching your teen drive off for the first time is one of the hardest things for a parent. And though you might not want to buy your newly minted driver a brand-new SUV, a model loaded with safety features could change your mind. And you don’t need to spend a fortune. The 2021 Subaru Forester offers plenty of safety features, and you can get one for around $25,000. It has even won some impressive safety awards.

The 2021 Subaru Forester is a safety winner

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Safety is one of the most important considerations when choosing an SUV for your teen. MotorTrend recently compiled a list of safe but relatively inexpensive cars for teens. The 2021 Forester is the first SUV on the list, and a big reason is its high safety marks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2021 Subaru Forester with its highest designation: Top Safety Pick+. The Forester also earned a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with a 4-star rollover rating and only a 16.9 percent rollover risk.

Safety comes standard with the Subaru Forester

One of the reasons the 2021 Subaru Forester won those safety awards is because of its driver assists that come standard. Advanced safety features on every trim include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams. Higher trim levels add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Additionally, every Forester has Subaru’s EyeSight active safety suite. EyeSight acts as an extra pair of eyes on the road, which is a nice feature to have in your teen’s SUV. It isn’t like a video baby monitor where you can actually watch your teen drive (sorry), but it uses dual color cameras to watch the road for danger and then react if the driver doesn’t. In addition to pre-collision braking, it also features pre-collision throttle management, which reduces engine power to minimize impact force and damage.

The higher the trim, the higher the price

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It makes sense that the more extras you add, the higher price you’ll pay. But you don’t always need the highest trim to get the features you want and need. A base-model 2021 Subaru Forester starts at just under $25,000 and comes with many advanced safety features.

The next trim level up, the Premium, starts at just under $28,000, and the only difference in safety features is the Starlink Safety and Security system that comes standard. This provides access to things like automatic collision notification and enhanced roadside assistance, but it requires a subscription and comes with only a six-month trial. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not standard, either, but they’re optional add-ons.

The highest trim, the Forester Touring, starts at just under $35,000 and comes standard with everything the two lower trims have as options. But the only other differences are reverse automatic braking and the DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System. This alerts the driver if their face turns away or their attention is perceived to be wavering; however, clothes and hats sometimes affect its accuracy, so it might not be worth the extra $10,000.

Choosing an SUV for your teen can be difficult, but the 2021 Subaru Forester is a solid choice that’s safe and fairly inexpensive. It’s also one of the best compact SUVs overall. If you have to let your teen drive off on their own, it might as well be in one of the safest SUVs that also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.