Every week, we'll recommend a great used car in a major segment that warrants your attention and your hard-earned dollars. After all, buying a well-made used car can help you not just get from point A to point B safely and reliably, it can help you keep your budget intact and worry less about debt and overspending. One such vehicle is the 2016 Subaru Forester. It's attractive, comfortable, truly practical, and more affordable than you'd think. 

2016 subaru forester bike rack
The Forester is equally good as an outdoor activity vehicle as it is an urban small hauler. 

The Forester has been a solid seller for the brand for years and for good reason. It's not too big and not too small, making it great for hauling gear and getting around town. It hits the right notes for many owners because of its utility, fuel-eifficiency, safety, and general ease of use. You could say it's a jack-of-all-trades. Here's why you should consider it as your next used vehicle. 

It Toes the Line Between City and Country

2016 subaru forester blue
You can get the XT trim for the more potent engine and better driving dynamics. 

The Forester is one of the few Subaru models that's pretty great to drive in any trim. There's minimal body roll, good steering, and a very good CVT (which we can't say for most Continuously Variable Transmissions). Combine it with the all-wheel drive system, and you've got the makings of a vehicle that can handle pavement and gravel with equal aplomb. Get the 2.0XT turbocharged version, and you get 250 horsepower (an upgrade from the stock 170 horses in the 2.5-liter engine) for a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds, as well as a fast-shifting SI-Drive feature that makes the CVT seem like a shiftable automatic. 

It's Ready for All Seasons 

2016 subaru forester snow
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive lets you do things other less capable cars won't even try. 

The AWD system in the Forester is one of the best. The elevated ride height (8.7 inches of ground clearance) also helps you take on mud, water, as well as deeper snow. It's off-road capabilities are actually better than most crossovers (the new Jeep Compass only has 8.5 inches of clearance). You can feel confident in places like Chicago when winters get ugly and plenty of rain falls during wetter months. See? You don't have to drive a truck to get around in the bad stuff. 

The Interior Boasts Comfort and Technology

2016 subaru forester interior
Subaru's interiors keep improving. The Forester is laid out well and easy to use.

The front and back rows are roomy enough for adults, and the seats provide plenty of cushion for longer trips. Visibility is excellent thanks to a tall greenhouse and big glass panels all around. For 2016, even the base model Subaru Forester 2.5i benefits from a new 6.2-inch Starlink touchscreen with satellite radio. Upgrade to Premium, Limited or Touring trims, and the screen gets upsized to a 7-inch touchscreen with multiple-gesture display and the Safety and Security package. 

2016 subaru forester interior 2
2016 subaru forester infotainment

Subaru doesn't try to do anything radical with its interior, just like the conservatively handsome exterior. The result is a cabin whose learning curve is easy, and you won't even require the owner's manual to figure out how things work. Large knobs for climate controls are easy to operate even with winter gloves on, and the infotainment system has physical buttons flanking the touchscreen and audio knobs instead of frustrating touchscreen audio operation.

It Nailed the Safety Tests

2016 subaru forester iihs
The 2014 Forester crash tested by the IIHS is the same as the 2016 model. (image: IIHS)

If it's a safe crossover you're looking for the 2016 Forester outperformed most of its competition, getting the highest scores with both the federal government (5 Stars from the NHTSA) and a private testing firm (Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS). Furthermore, for 2016, you can also opt for the excellent EyeSight system that provides pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, steering-responsive fog lights and adaptive cruise control in one total package that bolsters the Forester's already superb safety. 

All in all, the 2016 Forster is an excellent buy. With prices right now under $20,000, it's a very affordable used car that should provide years of reliable, comfortable use for the whole family. There's good reason why the Forester continues to be a hot seller for Subaru. It's just that good. 

Standard Features:

  • 2.5i: airconditioning, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, 6.2-inch Starlink touch-screen audio, variable wipers, 6-speed manual transmission, a rearview camera, and color multifunction display. 
  • 2.5i Premium:  adds a moonroof, power driver’s seat and enhanced 7.0-inch touch-screen audio.
  • 2.5i Limited: includes the CVT, leather, reclining rear seatbacks, automatic climate control, and a power liftgate.
  • Touring: adds electroluminescent gauges, HID headlights, keyless access/start, Harman Kardon premium audio, and dual-zone climate control.

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