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2019 Subaru Forester Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2019 Subaru Forester Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs Premium vs Sport, Limited & Touring

What 2019 Subaru Forester Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

If you have ever taken a look at the mid-size SUV class, then you’ll know that the Subaru Forester is a highly respected vehicle that provides both power and comfort for trips of all lengths. Mid-size SUVs are meant to be all-around stars, putting in work for a family or a single driver. They can pack cargo to maximum capacity inside the roomy interior while still managing to accelerate to full speed with ease. These SUVs should be able to fit a family of five with enough room and comfort to not feel cramped on long trips and should provide a pleasant enough driving experience for drivers to feel comfortable on the highway for extended periods of time.

The 2019 Subaru Forester checks all of these boxes, providing comfort and room inside for everyone. It also packs in plenty of safety technology and entertainment technology to make the drive less boring for passengers. This year’s model features a completely redesigned cabin and exterior based entirely on Subaru’s Global Platform - a design and aesthetic that is now consistent across the Forester, the Impreza, the Crosstrek, and even the Subaru Ascent. This redesign means that the Forester features more interior space for passengers and cargo alongside a suite of new safety technology.

This year’s model of the Subaru Forester comes in five trim levels, ranging from the base Forester to the Forester Touring, a trim jam-packed with luxury features. There are a breathtaking number of options available in each trim level, so figuring out which trim level is right for you can be somewhat overwhelming. This guide clearly explains the major differences among each of the trim levels in order to help you decide on the optimal trim and package customization for your Forester.

Price Tip
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Compare the 2019 Subaru Forester Base vs Premium Trims. What is the difference?

The base 2019 Subaru Forester is a fantastic mid-size SUV, offering plenty of interior room and quite a few safety features. This base trim comes standard with many features that would be considered luxury upgrades in other SUVs of this caliber, including a rearview camera for driver convenience while sliding into or out of tight parking spots. There’s a surprisingly responsive 6.5-inch infotainment system that syncs with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to use some smartphone apps through the infotainment system and control your phone via the car’s voice control system. While you may want to use your smartphone for navigation (the Subaru navigation system can sometimes be slow to update), most of the built-in apps on the infotainment system are quite useful.

Also included in the base model are automatic LED headlights and a suite of driver assistance and safety technology. This suite, known as EyeSight, includes fantastic features like lane keep assistance, adaptive cruise control, and automatic braking if a crash is imminent. This system was only available as an upgrade in prior years.

The Premium trim includes every feature that you can find in the base model, along with many more. This trim increases the wheel size to a larger 17 inches and toughens them up for any potential off-road driving. To further enhance your off-road driving capabilities, the Premium trim includes a new driving mode called X-Mode. This mode helps control the car while descending on steep hills.

Also included in the Forester Premium trim are some of the instantly recognizable features of the Subaru Forester, including roof rails and a rear spoiler. These help with cargo and aerodynamics, respectively, and have been a presence in Subaru Forester models since the vehicle went on the market. One of the more luxurious upgrades included in this trim is a 10-way power seat for the driver, a particularly useful feature if you plan to use the vehicle often for long drives. Other upgrades include a moonroof, rear seats that can recline as well as fold down, and an option for a leather-wrapped steering wheel for enhanced comfort.

If you’re looking at either of these two trim levels, then you’ll probably favor the base model. The Premium trim does not offer many upgraded features, and the features that it does offer are not the most pressing ones that you may want in your vehicle. The base 2019 Subaru Forester still offers quite a bit of cargo space even without the roof rails, and its EyeSight safety suite gives the car plenty of security. However, if you are aiming to take the vehicle on multi-hour drives and don’t want to upgrade past the base or Premium trim then you will want to upgrade to the Premium for the 10-way adjustable driver’s seat.

Compare the 2019 Forester Premium vs Sport Trims. What is the difference?

The 2019 Subaru Forester Sport trim is new this year, and Subaru has clearly thought carefully about its design. Many new features are included in this trim that give this car a more refined racing-esque aesthetic. Its wheels are even larger than those of the Premium, increasing in size from 17 inches to 18 inches. They’re also colored black to gel more with the overall Sport aesthetic. To pair with these larger wheels, the X-Mode included in the Premium trim now has two unique functions - there’s a Sport Sharp driving mode that gives the car some extra power and handling on and off the road. There’s also an optional blind-spot monitor to help you know where cars are relative to you on the road.

The Forester’s fog lights are upgraded to powerful LEDs in the Sport, and the interior lighting for the dashboard and gauges are now lit by bright LCDs. These lighting choices pair well with the new color choices on both the interior and the exterior of the vehicle. On the inside, you’ll be getting a far more comfortable fabric that’s themed in a muted dark grey. The outside of the Subaru Forester Sport trim now comes in glossy finishes, with a black and orange pairing as the primary color choice.

Other features of the Subaru Forester Sport include extra USB ports for the backseat passengers and tie-downs integrated with the roof rails for better cargo security. The only major downside of the Sport as compared tot he base and Premium trims is the slightly smaller infotainment screen, which measures in at 6.3 inches (compared to the 6.5-inch screen in prior trims). There’s also the included All-Weather package that helps the vehicle grip across multiple road conditions. This, in combination with the increased number of driving modes, helps you keep control of the car no matter the terrain.

Overall, the Sport is a far superior trim to the base or Premium trims. This trim offers far more security on the road (though the base model is already confident in handling and driving), and the vehicle’s overall design is far sleeker. The larger wheels and more powerful lighting and the new driving modes pair nicely to make the car a more powerful, sporty option than has ever been seen before in the Forester line.

Compare the Forester Sport vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

The Limited trim is the first trim level for the Forester that truly offers luxury features. Here, the seats are trimmed with leather - offering more comfort than you may expect. The headlights are all LED in this trim, and their direction is responsive to steering wheel input. This means that curvy roads in the dark are far less of a problem than ever before, as the lights will illuminate the rest of a curve instead of just shining in a straight line. The liftgate is powered in this trim, meaning that you don’t have to use all of your strength to push it up or town each time you use it. If you enjoy the infotainment systems used in Subaru vehicles, then this is the luxury upgrade you’ve been waiting for - the infotainment screen’s size is upgraded to a massive 8 inches.

The exterior of the Forester Limited also receives some luxury upgrades. The grille features a nice accent with chrome that makes the SUV slightly flashier on the road, though not flashy enough to become gaudy. The exhaust pipe also receives a tip to make it flow better with the rest of the Forester’s exterior.

Safety technology is also added in this trim. While the base, Premium, and Sport all come with the EyeSight system and the Sport comes with an upgradeable blind spot monitor, the Limited includes the blind spot monitor outright. It also includes a system to assist you with changing lanes and a cross-traffic alert system to enhance your blind spot awareness.

While the Forester Limited trim certainly does offer many upgrades, these upgrades are primarily luxury-oriented. If you want these luxury features, then this is absolutely the trim choice for you. However, if you prefer a more utilitarian model that won’t break the bank, you may not want to spring for this upgrade.

Compare the Forester Limited vs Touring Trims. What is the difference?

The swankiest trim available for the 2019 Subaru Forester is the Forester Touring. This trim is designed to give you maximum comfort and efficiency on the road with a plethora of options. Thought the Sport trim comes with 18-inch wheels, the Touring trim comes with 18-inch wheels made out a tough alloy only used in this trim. The front grille is not the only exterior part to be accented with chrome; the mirror caps and door handles also boast this feature.

Inside of the vehicle is a suite of comfort features that are not found in previous trims. The audio system gets a full revamp to an audio-rich Harman Kardon system. All seats are heated, including the rear seats, and the steering wheel is heated as well. While prior trims from the Premium to the Limited include a power-adjustable driver’s seat, the Touring also includes a power-adjustable front passenger seat.

There are some new safety features present in the Touring that are not found in lower-tier trims. There’s a driver monitoring system that’s quite useful on longer drives, as it keeps a watch on driver habits to warn the driver if he or she begins to get distracted or fall asleep. There’s also an upgraded navigation system that integrates with the SiriusXM Traffic system - though base navigation from smartphone apps still outperforms this the majority of the time.

Though the Touring trim features far more premium options, the price increase is quite steep. If you’re looking for ultimate luxury then you may be inclined to purchase this trim, but if you’re looking for base luxury and some enhanced safety features the Limited trim may be the better option.

Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals,   Edmunds,   CarsDirect,   NADAguides  &  Motortrend. These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim Level to Choose?

If you’re looking for a reliable, utilitarian mid-size SUV that can provide power both on and off the road, then the 2019 Subaru Forester Sport is the recommended trim. Its perfect blend of exterior aesthetic and interior features give it an edge over the other available trims. While you may not find many luxury features in this trim, there are still many features that are comfortable and useful.

The more luxurious trims of the Subaru Forester are not as luxurious as they could be, and the jumps in price are hard to justify with the included features. The Sport offers just enough customizability and comfort to be useful in many different situations. If you don’t necessarily need the extra driving modes or the blind spot monitoring system, then the base Subaru Forester model is also a solid choice to consider.

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Previous Subaru Forester Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2018 Subaru Forester Trim Levels
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