2021 Subaru Forester Interior, Cargo Space & Seating | U.S. News & World Report

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2021 Subaru Forester Interior

#3 out of 16 in Compact SUVs

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2021 Subaru Forester Interior Review


Interior: 7.9/10

The 2021 Subaru Forester has one of the roomiest cabins in the compact SUV class, and it's well-built with quality materials. Both rows of seats can accommodate taller adults, and few competitors offer more cargo space. Plenty of features come standard, including an easy-to-use infotainment system.

  • "The quality of materials is more than acceptable." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Settle into an easy highway cruise, and everything's right. It's quiet, comfortable, and loaded with tech, especially at the higher-end of the range." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
  • "Interior materials get a little bit nicer for 2019, with higher-quality plastics on the dash and doors, and softer leather on higher-end Limited and Touring variants." -- CNET (2019)


The base Forester gives you 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 76.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. In all other models, those totals drop to 28.9 cubic feet and 70.9 cubic feet, respectively. Regardless, the Forester has more cargo room than most other compact SUVs, and its wide rear opening makes it easy to load large items. A one-touch rear-seat folding feature and a power liftgate are optional.

  • "Anyone hauling stuff in the back will appreciate the widest rear hatch opening of the class, which outdoes some rivals by more than eight inches. It opens to 35.4 cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seats. Once they're folded down, maximum cargo volume is 76.1 cubic feet." -- Autotrader
  • ”If you're frequently carrying cargo (or dogs -- it's a Subaru, after all), know that you'll fit more of your possessions in a Forester than you will in a Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue or Volkswagen Tiguan." -- CNET (2019)
  • "The Forester's trunk is generous. … And, as mentioned before, the Forester's cargo opening is absolutely massive -- it's wide enough to load a golf bag sideways." -- Left Lane News (2019)


The Forester seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, reclining rear seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Drivers will appreciate the good visibility, and everyone can appreciate the Forester's spacious, quiet cabin. Both rows of seats are comfortable and have plenty of head- and legroom. In fact, 6-footers can sit in the back even if there are 6-footers up front as well.

For installing child safety seats, there are two full sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat has a tether anchor and one lower anchor, with the ability to borrow a lower anchor from the adjacent seat to make a complete set. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this setup the highest rating of Good+, which indicates that it's among the easiest and most versatile to use.

  • "Some SUV rivals are wider, but the 2021 Forester still manages to incorporate plenty of front-seat shoulder room. Legroom is also generous – a 6-foot-tall passenger can sit comfortably behind a 6-foot driver." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The interior of the Forester continues to be a roomy, comfortable space with upgraded front seats and more legroom in back thanks to a longer wheelbase. The back doors open wider for easier access." -- Boston Globe (2019)
  • "Wider and equipped with lots of extra rear seat space, the 2019 Forester easily accommodates a family of four. You could also make this work for a family of five. … Getting into and out of a Forester is easy. All seats offer tall hip points, which means you slide laterally into and out of this SUV. Plus, the door openings are massive, especially in back where the rear doors swing out to a near 90-degree angle. If you suffer from joint or back pain, or you simply have squirmy kids or big pets to load and unload, these are small but meaningful considerations." -- New York Daily News (2019)

Interior Features

Standard features in the Forester include automatic climate control and the Starlink infotainment system with a 6.5-inch touch screen, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and four speakers.

It's easy to master the infotainment system thanks to an intuitive interface. The touch screen responds well to inputs, and the on-screen buttons are easy to see. However, there is a secondary screen at the top of the dashboard, and it displays different information than the touch screen, which may confuse some users at first. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it easy to sync your smartphone to the vehicle.

Available features include a panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, two additional USB ports, and navigation.

Standard driver assistance features include a rear-seat reminder, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lead vehicle start alert, and lane keep assist. Some of these features are part of the EyeSight suite of safety technology.

Available active safety features include driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic emergency braking.

See 2021 Subaru Forester specs »

  • "Still, the standard and optional infotainment systems do their job well, and are easy to use. Apple CarPlay boots quickly and operates bug free." -- Autoweek (2019)
  • "Starlink works well enough, with a menu structure that's relatively easy to navigate and large, colorful icons for its various functions. Hard buttons on the center console provide shortcuts to the home screen and other menus. Overall, the system doesn't try to dazzle you in any way, and I appreciate its simple, straightforward nature." -- CNET (2019)
  • "Controls are laid out in a familiar manner, the 2019 Forester receiving new switchgear and the latest in Starlink infotainment systems. Large knobs and big well-marked buttons are the rule for the center control panel, but secondary functions remain a bit confusing. The steering wheel, for example, is a mess of buttons, including two different sets for the car's two different information displays. Want to shut off the irritating beeps from the lane departure warning system? That button is inexplicably located on the roof." -- New York Daily News (2019) 
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2021 Subaru Forester

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