2013 Subaru Forester Preview

Jeff Youngs | Jun 17, 2013
  • All-wheel drive (AWD)
  • 6 trim levels
  • Available turbocharged engine
  • EPA-estimated to achieve up to 27 mpg on the highway
  • 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded
  • 5-passenger seating
  • Standard Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming
  • Up to 8.9 inches of ground clearance


With a redesigned model on the horizon for 2014, the 2013 Subaru Forester debuts with changes that are limited but noteworthy. Among the updates is standard Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming on every trim level, and a 2.5X Premium variant that is now equipped with heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer.

Exterior Features

For 2013, the base Subaru Forester 2.5X features standard 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, rear window wiper, keyless entry, black mirror housings, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Next in the lineup is the Forester 2.5X Premium, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color and chrome exterior accents, heated outside mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, rear privacy glass, roof rails, and a power tilt/slide moonroof. The 2.5X Limited differs only with its fog lights and stainless steel exhaust tips, while the 2.5X Touring sports silver roof rails, rear spoiler, automatic HID headlights, and heated turn signal mirrors.

These trim levels are complemented by the 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Premium, offering greater performance, 8.9 inches of ground clearance, rear spoiler, and a hood scoop. A 2.5XT Touring variant is essentially a duplicate of the less powerful 2.5X Touring.

Interior Features

Unlike some sparsely equipped base models, the 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X is offered with standard cruise control, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat with armrest, tilt steering wheel with integrated audio controls, cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 4-speaker sound system boasting a USB port, auxiliary input, and iPod compatibility.

The 2013 Forester 2.5X Premium's list of content includes the 2.5X's standard wares, as well as heated front seats with 10-way power adjustment for the driver, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, chrome trim, and a reclining rear seat. Opting for the 2.5X Limited avails buyers to automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a tray for the cargo area. The 2.5X Touring adds a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, electroluminescent gauges, quick-fold rear seat, and a subwoofer.

Moving to the 2.5XT Premium, the biggest difference between it and the 2.5X Premium lies under the hood, leaving only aluminum foot pedals to visually distinguish this model. From an interior perspective, the Forester 2.5XT Touring is identical to the 2.5X Touring trim level.

Optional Features

Shoppers interested in a 2013 Subaru Forester fitted with a few extras have a number of options to consider, ranging from 16-inch alloy wheels for the base 2.5X to a navigation system available with all Limited and Touring models. The latter includes a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, rearview camera, voice-activation, HD and satellite radio, iTunes tagging, text messaging capability, and more. A portable TomTom navigation unit is offered for the lower trim levels.

Also noteworthy is a Plus package for Foresters equipped with a manual transmission. This bundle of features includes fog lights, 6-speaker sound system with a 4.3-inch display, iTunes tagging, HD Radio, and iPod integration.

Under the Hood

Subaru equips 2013 Forester 2.5X models with a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder horizontally opposed Boxer engine that delivers 170 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, output that's directed to the ground via a 4-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode or 5-speed manual with hill-start assist. Excluding the new BRZ sport coupe, every 2013 Subaru model features all-wheel-drive capability.

Forester 2.5XT models also utilize a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine, though the addition of a turbocharger helps produce 224 horsepower and 226 lb.-ft. of torque. The 4-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Subaru Forester are:

  • Forester with 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission: 21/27/23 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Forester with 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission: 21/27/23 mpg
  • Forester with turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission: 19/24/21 mpg


The 2013 Subaru Forester's standard safety features include 6 air bags, traction control, front active head restraints, daytime running lights, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, brake assist, and electronic brake-force distribution.

In government crash tests, the 2013 Subaru Forester received an overall rating of 4 (out of 5) stars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Forester received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for moderate frontal-offset crash protection; the Forester also received a "Top Safety Pick" designation from the Institute.


Though all 2013 Subaru Foresters feature all-wheel drive, there are some differences depending on which transmission is selected; models equipped with the 5-speed manual gearbox utilize a viscous-coupling locking center differential, while the 4-speed automatic is paired with an electronic continuously variable transfer clutch.
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