Choosing the best tires for Subaru Forester can be a bit tricky. This small SUV has higher-than-average ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive and a 2.5L engine that offers plenty of power. Simultaneously, the Forrester boasts a comfy interior and impressive fuel economy.
The former set of features makes the Forester capable in off-road situations and inclement weather. The latter, together with this crossover’s seating capacity of up to five passengers, allow you to turn it into a family SUV, especially for those long trips to the countryside.
That means you have a decision to make: install a set of tires that will improve this small SUV’s already excellent handling in light off-road conditions. Or opt for tires that will take its on-road performance to the next level, improving ride quality and fuel efficiency.
There’s also a third option: performance or high-performance tires for anyone who drives a Forester with a turbocharged Boxer motor. These tires’ improved acceleration and excellent stability at high speeds will help you make the most of the added power on offer.
As if the abundance of options wasn’t enough to send your mind into a tizzy, here’s one more: dedicated winter tires for those who regularly drive in inclement weather conditions. Read on to check out our recommendations for each of the five categories.
#1. Continental TrueContact Tour – Best Overall
The Continental TrueContact Tour enhances everything that is good about the Subaru Forester. From its already excellent fuel efficiency (up to 29 mpg) to a comfortable overall drive, there aren’t many strong traits of this crossover that this tire doesn’t reinforce.
The TrueContact is made up of a +Silane additive included tread compound, known for its low weight and rolling resistance. This means that the tire won’t need much power from your Forrester’s engine to keep going, an unmistakable sign of good fuel economy.
You won’t only save money on fuel with this tire. Continental’s decision to equip the TrueContact with EcoPlus Technology, which helps this model wear evenly, means you won’t be spending money on a replacement anytime soon, either.
Data released by Continental confirms this. Internal tests conducted by the tire manufacturer show that the TrueContact Tour has a 27% longer tread life than its predecessor. So, unless you are really hard on this tire, it will outlast its 80,000 miles warranty.
Its availability in 15- to 19-inch sizes mean this tire can be installed on all Forester models. Whether you own the base, limited, touring, sport, wilderness or even premium version of this small SUV, there is a TrueContact Tour out there that can fit your SUV.
- Comes with QuickView maintenance indicators
- Short braking distances for a tire in this category
- 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on some models
- Braking distances aren’t short on icy roads
#2. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady – Best Touring
According to a recent study, Subaru Forester is among the longest-kept SUVs by their owners. An estimated 9.8 percent of Forester owners keep their vehicle for 15 years or more, while the SUV average is 5.9 percent. This indicates that the Forrester appeals to practical consumers.
Which is precisely what the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady does. As suggested by its competitive asking price, excellent treadwear warranty for an all-weather tire and supreme dry and wet performance, this tire isn’t anything if not practical.
The Assurance WeatherReady belongs to a tiny minority of touring tires that come with the three peak mountain snowflake, or 3PMSF emblem. An indication that, even though it is an all-season tire, the WeatherReady can hold its own in harsh wintry conditions too.
Traction is another area where this tire really shines. A close inspection of the tread area will reveal specially designed grooves. If you keep an eye on them, you’d notice that these grooves expand as the tires wears, ensuring reliable traction even when the tread depth has decreased.
The only issue some Forrester owners may have with this tire is noise. Or, to put it more bluntly, the excess of noise. The Assurance WeatherReady isn’t as quiet as some of its main rivals. So, if you are the sort of person who prefers a quiet ride, be prepared to close the windows.
- Excellent treadwear warranty for an all-weather tire
- Great winter traction
- Supreme wet performance
- Makes a fair bit of noise
#3. Michelin CrossClimate 2 – Best Premium
What is the main reason behind the Forester’s popularity? It comes with a standard AWD system. But as good as the AWD system is, it still needs a bit of help from tires to go through mud and along trails. And help is what it gets from the Michelin CrossClimate 2.
Lateral grip, or the ability of a tire to maintain its course, is where the CrossClimate 2 shines. This tire stays glued to the road regardless of the reading on the speedometer. No amount of sudden acceleration, braking, or cornering can break its contact with the road.
Traction in slippery conditions is equally fantastic. While the CrossClimate+, this model’s predecessor, struggled a bit in the rain. This tire’s rain handling is solid. Braking distances are among the shortest in the class, inspiring confidence in its ability to keep you safe.
Another amazing thing about the CrossClimate 2 is how it handles snow. Though not as short as in wet conditions, this tire’s braking distances in snow are still commendable. Hence the reason why most drivers claim that this tire feels balanced on light snow.
Unfortunately, there are two areas we’d have liked this model to do a bit better. The first is its 60,000 mile treadwear warranty which puts it in the category of tires costing half as much. Furthermore, its premium rivals are much more composed rolling over bumps.
- Outstanding lateral grip
- Braking distances are among the shortest in the category
- Reliable on light snow
- Not as comfortable as its premium rivals
#4. Vredestein Quatrac Pro – Best Value
Who says that you have to blow your budget for quality tires? The Vredestein Quatrac Pro is proof that you can get decent performance and high warranty at a reasonable price.
Along with the Assurance WeatherReady, the Quatrac Pro is one of two tires in this review that come with the 3PMSF emblem. This means you can count on this tire to perform reliably in light snow, a rarity for models in this price range.
Multiple 3D sipes on the tread area will help this tire keep your Forester stable on the snow. The sipes, or biting edges, also enable this tire to stop and accelerate on the snow better than most of its rivals. Still, you can’t expect them to keep the Quatrac Pro useful in deep snow.
Most other tires would have used the sipes as an excuse to be loud in the summer (the coming together of the sipes with dry tarmac produces friction which normally leads to noise). Credit to Vredestein, then, to ensure the Quatrac Pro stays relatively quiet in the summer.
This tire suffers from the same flaw that plagues the CrossClimate 2. Its 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, though good for the price, is nowhere near enough when you compare it with the warranty you’re getting from the leading tires in this category.
- Comes with the three peak mountain/snowflake symbol
- Very comfortable and quiet on the highway
- Excellent overall performance in light snow
- Smaller treadwear warranty than the competition
#5. Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS – Best Performance
Lackluster acceleration is a major issue with the Subaru Forester. This small SUV’s outdated CVT transmission means that it will have a tough time crossing its main rivals in a race. The problem is so stubborn that even the powerful 2.5L engine cannot do anything about it.
The Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS won’t make this issue go away. But this tire would still reduce the distance between your Forrester and other small SUVs you might be racing with. It would thus give you a fighting chance of crossing the finishing line in the first few numbers.
An all-season tread compound, molded into an asymmetric tread pattern, has made the Potenza an absolute beast in the corners. Traction and grip are top notch, almost on the level of extreme performance summer tires, while responsiveness is also excellent.
Wet traction is another area where this tire performs better than its rivals. Its hydroplaning resistance is also above-average, thanks to the circumferential grooves. The grooves do a fine job of eliminating water from beneath its footprint, ensuring the road contact stays intact.
Unlike most high-performance tires, the Potenza RE960AS is relatively quiet, making it usable on the highway. This is great news for Forester owners as the small SUV is nothing if not a capable highway ride.
- Extremely short braking distances
- Has top-notch responsiveness and dry handling
- Less noisy than high-performance tires
- Wears quickly
#6. Michelin Primacy MXM4
For more than a century, Michelin has been one of the world’s top tire manufacturers. Cutting-edge technologies, long-lasting tread lives and market-high warranties. These are what users expect when they hear the name of the US tire brand. And that is what the MXM4 offers.
Start with the technologies. This tire has a fair few of them, including the Sunflower Oil Helio technology. This technology makes use of a special tread compound called Helio, enriched with sunflower oil, to enhance the MXM4’s traction around the year.
The ‘Filament At Zero Degrees’ technology helps this tire retain its original shape for long. It does that by placing the nylon filaments inside this tire’s casing at a zero degree angle. This intricate arrangement ensures even distribution of pressure, safeguarding the tire from deformation.
Next comes the ‘3D Variable Thickness Sipe Technology’. It takes care of the tire’s performance in harsh wintry conditions. The technology does that by dotting the MXM4’s exterior with multiple sipes, helping the tire dig through snow and ice and find solid ground underneath.
However, there is one area where the MXM4 breaks from tradition. While most Michelin tires offer market high-warranties, this model is only backed for 55,000-miles. An inexplicable decision on the part of Michelin once you consider that this tire is super-expensive.
- Green-X certification for fuel efficiency
- Sunflower Oil Helio Technology for added grip on wet surfaces
- Comfortable and noise-free driving experience
- Astronomically expensive for a touring all-season tire
#7. Continental CrossContact LX25
The Continental CrossContact LX25 is the replacement of the LX20, its manufacturer’s flagship tire for SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. In theory, that means that if you are switching to the LX25 from the LX20, you’d feel a visible improvement in performance.
That is true in practice. The LX25 is much more dependable than its predecessor on dry roads. Its traction and grip are top notch, with steering responsiveness and handling also above-average. This tire’s cornering stability also puts that of the LX20 to shame.
Its superiority over its predecessor isn’t the only reason that makes the CrossContact LX25 a must-have for Forrester owners.
The CrossContactLX25 offers a plush and quiet ride regardless of the vehicle you’re running it on. That was one of the reasons why it was our top pick for Audi Q5. Plus, its low rolling resistance will translate to more fuel savings, resulting in fewer trips to the refilling station.
Wet performance is another area where this tire shines. Deep grooves in its tread area perform a commendable job of evacuating water particles. Plus, thanks to the large sidewall and shoulder blocks, you won’t have to worry about hydroplaning with this tire.
- Great overall handling
- Plush ride quality
- Incredibly quiet on the highway
- Excellent fuel economy
- Treadwear warranty could have been better
#8.Yokohama Avid Ascend – Best Mid-Range
At a time when the prices of all-season tires have gone through the roof, the Yokohama Avid Ascend offers reliable performance in a budget. In fact, were it not for its flaws (discussed later), this tire would have been the best all-season tire for Subaru Forester.
Yokohama claims that this tire’s tread block bridges play an important role in creating even tread patterns and, in turn, reducing noise. The tread block bridges are helped in their mission by the external adaptive shoulders, which even out treadwear for a long tread life.
Sure, premium all-season tires offer much better features. However, compared with mid-range models, and the Avid Ascend’s performance is pretty much above average.
While majority of budget tires opt for extended treadlife over cornering grip, the Avid Ascend has both. That is because of the triBLEND compound technology. This technology blends high-silica content with Tg-polymer to ensure the tire’s competitiveness on wet and dry roads.
Unfortunately, like tires from mid-range brands, the Avid Ascend’s wet traction leaves you wanting for more. Also, if you have a habit of driving aggressively around corners, be prepared for a short treadlife from the Avid Ascend.
- Brilliant steering response
- Top-notch dry traction
- Excellent tread life and ride quality
- Lackluster wet traction
#9. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter
Subaru Forrester has all the attributes to be a capable ride in harsh wintry conditions. The only thing it needs from you is a set of dedicated winter tires. Enter Bridgestone Blizzak WS90, one of the most capable winter tires on the market right now.
Unlike most winter tires, this tire doesn’t require you to insert metal studs in its tread area for it to plough through inches of snow. Instead, thanks to its super-flexible tread compound and biting edges, the WS90 can safely carry you from point A to point B in harsh wintry conditions.
The tread compound and the biting edges aren’t solely responsible for the WS90’s amazing winter performance, though. Multicell technology also plays a part
This technology works by evacuating water from the WS90’s tread area. This results in the snow and ice accumulated on the tread area coming into contact with the snow and ice on the road. The resulting friction, in turn, leads to enhanced traction on snow.
Bridgestone has also equipped this tire with its standard TWIs (tread wear indicators). These are narrow rubber slits on the tire’s tread area. They will get flush with the tire’s surface as its tread depth reaches 2/32-inch, which is the final point in a tread’s life.
- 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating
- Offer excellent traction on snow and ice
- Comes with tread wear indicators and winter wear bars
- Doesn’t come with a treadwear warranty
#10. Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter – Best Budget Winter
The Bridgestone WS90 is by far the best winter tire on the market right now. Let there be no doubt about it. Having said that, there are many people for whom the WS90 might be too expensive. For such budget-minded users, the Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter is an excellent alternative.
A directional tread pattern and numerous biting edges are main reasons we’re so bullish about this tire’s prospects in harsh wintry conditions. The tread pattern helps the Ultra Grip maintain consistent traction at all times, while the biting edges do what the biting edges are supposed to.
Braking distances are also on the shorter side. The credit for this goes to the joint partnership of the tread design and the durable tread compound. Both of them work together to boost this model’s braking power, guaranteeing a safer driving experience in harsh wintry conditions.
Risk of hydroplaning is minimized by the wider tread grooves. These are channels in the tread area, offering a route for accumulated water particles to evacuate. By pushing away any excess water or slush, the tread grooves ensure your driving performance remains unaffected.
If you still have any doubts about this tire’s snow performance, the 3PMSF emblem should erase them. As stated above, this emblem is only awarded to tires that meet the rater’s strict guidelines. That the Ultra Grip has this emblem means it won’t deceive you in deep snow and ice.
- Competitively priced for a dedicated winter tire
- 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating
- Minimal risk of hydroplaning
- Needs you to insert studs
#11. General Altimax RT43
Three standout features make the General Altimax RT43 one of the best all-season tires for your Subaru Forrester. These include the twin cushion silica tread compound, Sound Wave Suppression Technology, and multiple tire indicator monitors.
Start with the tread compound featuring two layers. The high-density upper layer ensures year round traction and helps the tire retain its original shape for long. The lower-layer, meanwhile, is slightly flexible to absorb road vibrations, guaranteeing a comfortable ride.
Next comes the Sound Wave Suppression Technology. Together with the tread compound and the independent tread blocks, this technology deflects road noise, not letting it reach the cabin and disturb the proceedings going on there.
Multiple tire indicators are also on offer. The first, ‘Replacement Tire Monitor (RTM)’, gives you the status of the tire. As long as the inscription shows three times on the tire’s circumferential rib, that would mean that the RT43 is new can be continue to be used.
The Visual Alignment Indicator, or VAI for short, lets you check wheel alignment. It consists of two sipes on opposite shoulder blocks. As long as the sipes are wearing the same, it means that your wheels are perfectly aligned.
- Comes with two highly useful tire indicators
- Has Sound Wave Suppression technology
- Twin cushion silica tread compound absorbs road vibrations
- Poor performance on snow and ice
Factors to Consider When Buying Tires for Subaru Forrester
Type of the Tire
Not sure what type of tires to select for your Forrester? Then you have two choices. Either go with the wind and choose the tires most Forrester owners install on this small SUV. Or go back to the drawing board and check out what Subaru uses as an OEM tire.
Here are the most popular tire choices for Subaru Forrester:
All-season/touring tires are the first choice of most Forrester owners. These tires offer a comfortable driving experience, backed with generous warranties and stay quiet on the highway. However, the fact that they lack sturdy sidewalls means you can’t use them to haul heavy cargo.
Touring tires are also famous for keeping quiet at high speeds. Throw into the mix their extensive treadwear warranties, and it gets easier to see why owners with kids prefer these tires. As they not only enhance driving comfort but also save money in the long run.
These tires are worth a shot if all you care about is high-performance driving. These tires guarantee excellent steering responsiveness, grip the road incredibly well at high speeds, and their high-speed stability is also second to none.
That isn’t to say that these tires don’t have any flaws. These tires have relatively short tread lives, meaning you’d have to replace them more frequently. Also, their treadwear warranties are on the shorter side, especially when compared with those of all-season tires.
Since it comes with standard AWD system and has a rugged exterior, some people will inevitably want to do light off-roading with the Forrester. For them, all-terrain tires are definitely an option, especially on days when they feel like driving through the mud and along trails.
Subaru Forester performs much better on snow than most of its rivals. A standard all-wheel-drive system makes sure of that. However, even with the AWD system, this SUV needs a set of tires that can plough through snow and ice and keep propelling it.
That is where winter tires enter the picture. Available in two types – studdable and studless – winter tires are a must-have if you live in an area which receives more than its fair share of snow. Without them, your safety might be in danger in harsh wintry conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tires are standard on Subaru Forrester?
Here is a list of standard tire sizes for each Forrester model:
- Base: 225/60/17
- Limited: 225/55/18
- Premium: 225/60/17
- Sport: 225/55/18
- Touring: 225/55/18
- Wilderness 225/60/17
What brand of tires does Subaru use?
The Subaru Wilderness (4dr SUV AWD) uses the Yokohama Geolandar A/T. All the other models of the Forrester use all-season/touring tires.
Do you have to replace all 4 tires on a Subaru Forrester?
Subaru recommends replacing all 4 tires even when only one is damaged. However, if the other three tires are in pristine conditions, replace the damaged with one the same brand, size, and type as its other three counterparts.
What are the quietest tires for a Subaru Forrester?
The Continental CrossContact LX25 is one of the quietest tires for a Subaru Forrester. This tire makes perfect use of cutting edge technologies and a highly innovative tread compound to prevent road noise from going into the cabin.
The Subaru Forester is an extremely practical SUV. Its higher-than-average ground clearance, standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) system and outdoorsy looking exterior help it rival small SUVs. At the same time, this crossover’s lush interior and generous cargo capacity makes it a safe bet for a family vehicle.
Regardless of whether you exploit the outdoor side of this SUV or use it for everyday driving, one thing is non-negotiable: the right set of tires can take its performance to the next level. So it’s imperative that you select the best tires for your Subaru Forrester.