Best SUV under $45,000

Subaru Forester 2.5i

In 2000, the Subaru Forester won the Best Recreational Vehicle category in our Australia’s Best Cars awards and went on to take honours again in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006.

This fourth generation Forester was launched in early 2013 and designers looked to enhance and build on the model’s strong foundations of safety, everyday drivability, and on and off-road prowess. The result is equal class leading scores for practicality and environment and an above average score for space.

Our winner is powered by Subaru’s larger 2.5-litre boxer petrol engine matched to a CVT transmission, which delivers an ADR combined average fuel consumption of 8.1 litres/100km. Smaller 2.0-litre petrol and diesel versions are available for those seeking the absolute best in fuel economy.

Subaru’s CVT one of the better versions going around and the new Forester scores well for smoothness and quietness, normally the Achilles heel for this type of transmission.

On road, the Forester has always been a standout and its strengths lie in its car-like feel in ride and handling. That hasn’t compromised its off-road ability and, with 220mm of ground clearance, the Forester can tackle off-road scenarios that would stop many in their tracks.

View scoresheet

Australia's Best Cars Best SUV under $45,000 Subaru Forester 2.5i

Indicative Drive Away Price: $36,805

Criteria out of 10 – Subaru Forester 2.5i


Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  5C
Depreciation  5M
Running Costs  6H
Fuel Consumption  5C
Warranty and dealer access   4H
Insurance  7L
Standard Features  6M

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  7C
Environment  9C
Comfort  7H
Space  7M
Practicality  9H
Ergonomics  8H
Build and Finish  8H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  8M
Ride  8M
Handling  8H
Braking  8H
Smoothness and Quietness   8L
Off-road ability   9M

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.