The test car I drove was basically the basest Forester Wilderness model you could get, with the only optional extra being a $220 engine under-guard. Total MSRP for that car came to $34,165.
Regular Foresters can count the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage among its competitors. But when you Wildernessify it, only the Cherokee Trailhawk really stands a chance, as the rest of the bunch probably wouldn’t be able to keep up as easily on the trails. With a starting price of $38,095, however, the Jeep is a tad more expensive than the Forester Wilderness—yet it uses a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter V6 that produces almost 100 more horsepower.
During my drive, though, I wasn’t wanting for more power in the Subaru. You don’t need to go more than 10 mph on the trails anyway. And off the trails, I happily took the comfortable seats and good driving position over additional power and speed. The car shines as a daily and impresses as a medium-rare off-roader.
The Forester Wilderness is the one that’ll take you and your muddy mountain bikes to the trailhead that’s five miles off the beaten path. It won’t climb the mountain for you, but it’ll get you close enough that you’ll be able to do it yourself. And it’ll be there to take you home when you get back, washable interior and all.
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