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Subaru Forester Gas Mileage? (Best MPG by Year)

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage? (Best MPG by Year)

The Subaru Forester is a reliable and dependable SUV with excellent off-road capabilities and safety features. As used car prices increase, the car’s fuel economy has also improved over the years. But how has this SUV’s gas mileage changed?

Subaru Forester’s gas mileage has consistently improved, from an average of 21.8 MPG (9 KML) in 2010 to a remarkable 29 MPG (12.3 KML) in 2023. This enhancement in fuel efficiency can be attributed to the introduction of a larger 2.5-liter engine and advancements in CVT transmissions in 2019. 

As engine and transmission technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, it is expected that the 2023 Forester will boast even more efficient fuel consumption. The rest of this post will examine the gas mileage trend of the Subaru Forester over the past 12 years, offering a comprehensive evaluation of the figures and a plausible explanation for any observed patterns.

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage

The question of whether the Subaru Forester offers good gas mileage is a common one. Fortunately, Forester has consistently received high ratings in this regard, with owners giving it a satisfaction score of 4 out of 5 for the past decade. 

While it may not boast the best fuel efficiency in its class, its exceptional gas mileage is a testament to its heavier build and the performance of its legendary Symmetrical ALL-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. 

This innovative system leverages computer technology to optimize power distribution between the front and rear wheels, providing superior traction and performance in various road conditions. 

The Symmetrical ALL-Wheel Drive system contributes to Forester’s exceptional fuel efficiency and enhances its handling and response. 

Over the past 12 years, the average combined city/highway gas mileage for the Forester has been estimated to be around 24 miles per gallon (10 kilometers per liter), a noteworthy figure considering its capabilities. 

It is worth mentioning that its closest competitors have similar combined city/highway fuel efficiency within this range 

These competitors include: 

  • Mazda CX-5.
  • Honda CR-V.
  • Nissan X-Trail.
subaru forester at gas station and close up of subaru logo

Which Gets Better Gas Mileage: The Forester or the Outback?

Comparing fuel efficiency between the Forester and the Outback can be challenging, given their high ratings in their respective categories. Both vehicles offer comparable gas mileage, with the Outback slightly less efficient due to its larger weight

The primary difference between these two vehicles lies in their style and design. The Forester is characterized by its refinement, while the Outback is known for its rugged and conservative wagon design. 

However, it’s important to note that the engines and drivetrains in both models are similar, making the comparison even more challenging.

The 2023 base trim levels of the Outback and Forester boast a 2.5-liter (0.66 gallons) naturally aspirated engine that produces a maximum of 182 horsepower at 5800 RPM. 

Both vehicles have a standard ALL-Wheel Drive and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). 

The gas mileage between the two vehicles is relatively similar, with the Forester achieving 26/33/29 MPG (11/14/12 KML) and the Outback delivering 26/32/28 MPG (11/14/12 KML). 

This minor discrepancy in fuel efficiency can be attributed to the Outback’s slightly greater weight than the Forester. 

Here is a tabular format of this comparison:

VehicleCity MPGHighway MPGCombined MPG

Subaru Forester Gas Tank Size

Fueling may not be the most exciting aspect of car ownership, but it’s crucial. 

Each Forester owner needs to know their vehicle’s fuel tank size. The tank size may vary based on the model year, but you can expect it to hold between 15.9-16.9 gallons (60-64 liters). 

Please refer to the table below for a breakdown of tank sizes for different model years.

Model Year ClusterTank Size
1998-200815.9 gallons (60 liters)
2009-201316.9 gallons (64 liters)
2014-2018 15.9 gallons (60 liters)
2019-202216.6 gallons (63 liters)

This fuel capacity provides a considerable range, approximately 570 miles (917 km) on the highway and 430 miles (692 km) in city driving conditions. A remarkable feat.

different gas tank sizes for subaru forester

Which Subaru Forester Gets the Best Gas Mileage?

Forester models ranging from 2019-2023 boast exceptional fuel efficiency with an average combined consumption of over 29 MPG (12 KML). 

These models are equipped with the following:

  • 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine
  • CVT transmission that delivers a power output of 182 HP

It’s worth noting that Subaru discontinued the Turbocharged engine series in 2018.

The 2014-2018 models have better gas mileage, with an average combined consumption of 23.5 MPG (10 KML) due to their 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer engines and CVT. 

These engines have a maximum power output of 170hp. You might wonder how a smaller engine has lower gas mileage. 

This is due to factors such as:

  • Weight-to-power ratio
  • Improved drive trains

Before 2014, Foresters had poor gas mileage, with an average combined mileage of less than 23 MPG (10 KML). Models from 2009 to 2013 had larger naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer engines that produced up to 170 hp. 

These engines were paired with conventional automatic transmissions, which are less fuel efficient than modern Foresters’ CVT transmissions.

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage by Year

Let’s now examine the fuel efficiency of Subaru Forester models since 2010.

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage 2010-2013

Owners of the 2010 Subaru Forester with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter engine report an average gas mileage of 20 city/27 highway MPG (9/11 KML) with a combined average of 23 MPG (10 KML), which equals 4.5 gallons per 100 miles (17 liters per 160 km).  

The turbo versions had lower gas mileage at 19 MPG (8 KML) combined, equivalent to 6.5 gallons per 100 miles (25 liters per 160 km)

It’s worth noting that these model years are heavier than later models, and their conventional automatic or manual transmissions affect fuel efficiency. 

Manual transmission models had a lower combined average gas mileage of 21 MPG (8.9 KML). That was a significant improvement from the pre-2009 models, which had a combined average of 20 MPG (8.5 KML).

Gas Mileage Comparison of 2010-2013 Subaru Forester

Engine TypeCity MPGHighway MPGCombined MPGGallons per 100 Miles
Naturally Aspirated 2.5 Liter2027234.5
Manual TransmissionN/AN/A21N/A

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage 2015-2018

In 2014, Subaru updated its transmission to a CVT capable of all-wheel drive while retaining its 2.5-liter naturally aspirated and 2.0-liter turbo engines with similar power output. However, fuel efficiency saw a noticeable improvement.

The 2015 Subaru Forester with a 2.5-liter engine had a gas mileage of 24 city/31 highway MPG (10/13 KML) with a combined average of 27 MPG (11 KML), which equals 3.7 gallons per 100 miles (14 liters per 160 km).

The gas mileage for the 2.0-liter turbo engine was 23 city/27 highway MPG (9.8/11.5 KML) with a combined average of 25 MPG (10.6 KML), equivalent to 4.0 gallons per 100 miles (15 liters per 160 km).

The manual transmission 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine had a gas mileage of 28 highway/22 city MPG (11.9/9.4 KML). The combined average was 25 MPG (10.6 KML), equivalent to 4.0 gallons per 100 miles (15 liters per 160 km).

The improved gas mileage is credited to a lighter body and advanced transmission.

Here’s a table showing the gas mileage of 2015-2018 Subaru Forester:

Engine TypeCity MPGHighway MPGCombined MPGGallons per 100 miles
2.5-liter (NA)2431273.7
2.0-liter (Turbo)2327254.0
2.5-liter (Manual)2228254.0

Note: NA – Naturally Aspirated; Turbo – Turbocharged.

Subaru Forester Gas Mileage 2021-2023

The Subaru Forester’s fuel efficiency has significantly improved in the 2021-2023 models.

The 2021 Forester was equipped with a 2.5L naturally aspirated engine. Thanks to a lighter body and a refined CVT, it boasts an average fuel consumption of 26 city MPG (11 KML), 33 highway MPG (14 KML), and 29 combined MPG (12.3 KML), which translates to 3.4 gallons per 100 miles (12.9 liters per 160 km)

Note that this model year only offers the 2.5L engine and no turbo options. When considering a Forester, it’s wise to opt for a newer model year, especially if fuel efficiency is a major concern.

Subaru Forester Hybrid MPG

Hybrid technology is currently leading, with electric technology following closely behind. 

In 2019, Subaru introduced the highly anticipated e-Boxer engine that blends pure-electric, engine-only, and motor-assist modes. 

The engine is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine, and the battery is a compact one mounted in the trunk. This small battery can provide up to 1 mile (1.6 km) of pure-electric driving without support from the engine. 

The Subaru Forester e-Boxer has achieved a fuel efficiency range of 32.1 to 41.9 MPG (13.6-17.8 KML). Despite the added weight of the battery, this fuel efficiency is impressive for an SUV the size of a Forester. 

With the launch of the Subaru Forester Hybrid L planned for 2023, Subaru aims to compete with rivals such as Honda and Toyota in the hybrid car market with a Forester that boasts fuel efficiency of close to 50 MPG (21 KML).

No hybrid model is yet available in the USA.


The Forester is a versatile vehicle suitable for commuting and off-roading. Although it may not be the most fuel-efficient in its class, its gas mileage has improved significantly over the years. 

The 2023 naturally aspirated Forester is expected to offer around 30 MPG (12.8 KML), an impressive feat compared to the 22 MPG (9.4 KML) from a decade ago. The future looks promising with Subaru’s entry into the hybrid and electric vehicle market, with hybrid Foresters potentially offering gas mileage close to 50 MPG (21 KML)

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