6 Best & Worst Subaru Forester Years (Stats & Examples)

Subaru Forester has long been a popular choice among compact SUV enthusiasts due to its versatile nature, practicality, and capable all-wheel drive system. 

However, not all model years are without fault; some have proven more reliable and trouble-free than others. 

In this article, we will explore the 7 best and worst Subaru Forester years based on stats and examples, helping you make an informed decision when considering a used or new Forester.

The Best and Worst Years For Subaru Forester Are: 

The 2016, 2020, and 2021 Subaru Forester models have consistently shown strong reliability, supported by statistics and expert opinions. However, the 2011, 2014, and 2015 versions have exhibited lower reliability due to issues like excessive oil consumption and costly repairs.

What Subaru Forester Years Are The Most Reliable?

When it comes to reliability, certain Subaru Forester model years have established themselves as top performers. 

These years have garnered positive feedback from both owners and experts, making them stand out as some of the most reliable options in the Forester lineup. 

Let’s delve deeper into these model years and explore the reliability statistics and expert opinions that support their reputation.

2016 Subaru Forester

The 2016 Forester is a year that consistently receives high marks for reliability. 

According to reliability data, the 2016 Forester exhibits fewer reported problems and offers owners a sense of dependability. 

Experts appreciate its excellent safety ratings, reliable performance, and thoughtfully designed interior. 

The inclusion of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance system as a standard feature enhances Forester’s safety and convenience. 

Therefore, the 2016 model year is recognized for its longevity and ability to withstand the test of time, making it a reliable option for buyers.

2020 Subaru Forester 

The 2019 Forester is highly regarded for its reliability and durability. This model year is the year just after the introduction of Subaru’s Global Platform, a new architecture that improved rigidity and crash safety. 

According to reliability statistics, the 2019 Forester has exhibited impressive performance, with minimal reported issues. 

Experts highlight its:

  • Spacious interior
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Advanced safety features

The advanced safety features include Subaru’s EyeSight system and the available DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System.

Overall, the 2020 Forester has gained a reputation for being a reliable and practical choice among compact SUVs.

2021 Subaru Forester 

As the most recent model year, the 2021 Forester continues the legacy of reliability associated with the Forester lineup. 

While comprehensive reliability data for the 2021 model may not be widely available yet, experts and initial owner feedback suggest that it upholds Forester’s reputation for dependability. 

Experts appreciate the 2021 Forester’s smooth and composed ride, generous cargo space, and impressive suite of standard safety features. The availability of a turbocharged engine option further adds to its appeal for buyers seeking enhanced performance. 

Therefore based on Subaru’s recent track record, the 2021 Forester is expected to deliver reliable performance and longevity.

Please also take a look at our article about cars that fit wheelchairs, which features the Subaru Forester.

What Subaru Forester years should you avoid?

When considering a used Subaru Forester, it’s important to be aware of specific model years with reported issues, recalls, or concerns. 

By understanding these factors and referring to industry data, potential buyers can make more informed decisions and avoid potential headaches. 

Let’s dive deeper into the Subaru Forester model years that should be approached with caution, taking into account industry data, recalls, and other relevant information.

2011 Subaru Forester

The 2011 Subaru Forester model year has garnered attention for some reported problems and concerns that potential buyers should be aware of. 

One of the primary issues associated with the 2011 Forester is related to engine reliability, specifically the head gaskets. 

Owners have reported failures and leaks in the head gaskets, resulting in coolant leakage, overheating, and potential engine damage.

According to industry data, the 2011 Forester has a higher-than-average complaint rate for engine issues compared to other model years. 

However, it’s worth noting that this issue is not exclusive to the Forester, as Subaru models from the same era experienced similar concerns with head gaskets.

The head gasket failures in the 2011 Forester can be attributed to a design flaw and a combination of factors such as:

  • Poor quality of materials
  • Engine overheating
  • Inadequate sealing

It’s advisable for potential buyers to thoroughly inspect the maintenance history and check if the necessary repairs have been performed. 

In addition to the engine concerns, the 2011 Forester also faced a recall related to the brake master cylinder. 

The recall affected a specific range of VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) numbers and aimed to address potential brake fluid leakage that could compromise braking performance.

Despite these reported issues, it’s important to note that not all 2011 Foresters will experience these problems. Proper maintenance and regular inspections can help identify and address any potential issues before they escalate. 

2014 Subaru Forester (Turbocharged)

The 2014 Subaru Forester model year is generally regarded as a reliable choice for potential buyers in search of a used SUV. However, it’s important to be aware of some specific considerations associated with this particular model.

Some owners have encountered problems with the turbocharger, which can lead to reduced power and compromised engine performance. 

Turbocharger failures may require expensive repairs or even replacement. Additionally, a subset of turbocharged Foresters from this year has exhibited higher-than-usual oil consumption, potentially leading to engine complications if not promptly addressed. 

Therefore, it’s advisable for prospective buyers to carefully inspect the maintenance records and thoroughly assess the condition of the turbocharged models.

On the other hand, the non-turbocharged version of the 2014 Forester is generally considered more reliable and less prone to the specific concerns mentioned just above. 

Therefore, while the 2014 Subaru Forester model year is generally regarded as reliable, potential buyers should exercise caution when considering the turbocharged variants due to reported turbocharger issues and higher oil consumption. 

Thorough inspection, review of maintenance records, and seeking professional guidance through a pre-purchase inspection are essential steps to uncover any potential concerns.

Ultimately, the 2014 Forester offers numerous desirable features and enhancements, making it a compelling option for individuals seeking a dependable and enjoyable compact SUV.

2015 Subaru Forester

When it comes to the 2015 Subaru Forester model year, potential buyers need to be aware of certain considerations before making a purchase decision. 

While the 2015 Forester is generally regarded as a reliable vehicle, there is a specific issue that has been reported by some owners.

Like the 2014 model, one notable concern associated with the 2015 Forester is excessive oil consumption. 

Several owners have reported that their vehicles consume oil at a higher rate than expected, which can potentially lead to engine problems if not addressed promptly. 

It’s important to note that not all 2015 Foresters experience excessive oil consumption, and individual driving habits and maintenance practices can influence the likelihood of encountering this issue. 

However, being aware of the reported concerns associated with the 2015 model year allows buyers to approach their purchase with greater caution and make informed decisions.

In terms of recalls, the 2015 Forester did not have any significant recalls that directly affected its reliability. 

Despite the reported concerns associated with the 2015 Forester, it’s important to consider the overall positive aspects of this model year. 

When considering a used 2015 Subaru Forester, potential buyers should conduct a thorough inspection, review maintenance records, and consider seeking the expertise of a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. 

This will help identify any existing or potential issues and provide a clearer understanding of the vehicle’s condition.

In conclusion, while the 2015 Subaru Forester model year has reported concerns regarding excessive oil consumption, not all vehicles within this model year will experience this issue. 

What are Some Typical Problems with the Subaru Forester Models? 

The Subaru Forester is generally known for its reliability and solid performance. However, like any vehicle, it is not without its common problems. 

Here are some typical issues that owners have reported with Subaru Forester models:

  • Head Gasket Problems
  • Oil Consumption
  • Suspension and Steering Components
  • Electrical System Issues
  • Catalytic Converter Failure

For a more in-depth review, please take a look at our article about common problems with Subaru Forester SUVs.

It’s important to note that not all Subaru Foresters will experience these problems, and the severity may vary depending on factors such as driving habits, maintenance practices, and specific model years. 

Regular maintenance, routine inspections, and prompt addressing of any concerns can help mitigate potential problems and ensure a reliable ownership experience with the Subaru Forester.


Go back to best and worst years across all Subaru models.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)

ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.