Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
On the face of it, the $35,490 2.5i-L is a hard sell. There is, quite literally, no visual distinction between this car and the base-model 2.5i which sits below it.
No bespoke wheels, no little bits of chrome trim, no differing materials on the inside - there isn’t even a bigger media screen. Don’t believe me? Go and look at my recent review of the 2.5i and try to find a difference (I’ll save you some time; you can’t).
It isn’t helped by the fact that the base-model Forester (at $33,490) is already amazing value, featuring highlights like LED headlights, a leather-bound steering wheel and Subaru’s very good ‘EyeSight’ safety suite (more on that in the safety section).
So, what’s left for the 2.5i-L to add? It costs $2000 more than the base and adds driver attention alert (DAA) to the safety offering, alongside a side-view monitor (so you don’t smack your wheels in the gutter), a front-view monitor (like a reversing camera, but for going forward…), auto high-beam control and reverse auto emergency braking (AEB).
The 2.5i-L also enables memory functions on the climate control, driver instrument panel and dash display, which seems like arbitrary punishment for base-model buyers. Surely it doesn’t cost Subaru too much more for these features to have memory function…
The additional safety and memory features are nice, but they’re hardly a deal breaker either way, making the 2.5L an arguably forgettable variant. The 2.5i Premium sits above gets a significant swathe of stylistic and feature upgrades and will certainly have more presence on a dealer lot.
Despite that, and thanks to the features available from the base up, the $35,490 2.5i-L still compares well to rivals like the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport ($37,870), Honda CR-V VTi-S AWD ($35,490) and the Nissan X-Trail TS AWD ($35,990).