Crossovers are the next big thing in the automotive world. One of the vehicles that started that trend is the Subaru Forester – a compact crossover SUV equipped with a symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and all weather capability, spacious and practical interior and sporty styling.
It’s no coincidence then that a lot of people love the Forester – it’s the right size for a small family and the right vehicle for driving on the road thanks to its car-like manners, and driving off-road thanks to its advanced all wheel-drive system that’s standard across the range.
That said, to be able to utilize the most out of the Subaru Forester, you need a good set of tires. The best tires for Subaru Forester will improve on the driving dynamics in dry and wet conditions, make the ride more comfortable, give even better off-road ability and last a long time before losing their ability.
To help with choosing the best tires for Subaru Forester, we’ve compiled a list of Top 5 premium and Top 5 budget tires for this vehicle. In the list, you can find the best summer tires, best all weather tires, best winter tires, best off-road tires etc.
But first, let’s clarify some things about the types of tires out there and why some of them may suit you, and some of them won’t.
Here are my top ten picks for the best tires for Subaru Forester of 2019:
What to look for when choosing a set of tires for the Subaru Forester?
Vehicle manufacturers nowadays tend to put really high-quality tires in their cars, but they don’t always suit the area you live in or maybe your driving style. For example, most of the drivers of crossover vehicles drive their cars exclusively on the road, but some of them still venture off-road. If you belong to the former group, you’ll need a good set of off-road or all terrain tires, both of which are rarely installed on new crossovers right from the dealer.
And if you thought that the standard all-wheel-drive system on the Forester can take you out of every slippery situation by its own, think again. While Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive is really advanced and can cope with slippery roads and off-road driving, it can do nothing without a good set of tires. So suffice to say, to get the most out of your Forester, you must have the best tires for the job.
With so many types of tires to choose from, you’re surely asking yourself where to start and hopefully, we have the solution. There are several different types of tires to choose for your Forester – summer tires, all terrain tires, snow tires, all season tires, all weather tires, off-road tires etc. Before choosing the right tire for you, let’s clarify what all those types mean and what type is the best for you.
Summer tires are pretty self-explanatory – they work great in a warm climate. The best summer tires for Subaru Forester will have great traction on hot and dry roads, and very good traction on wet and warm roads. However, they will not work very good in colder climates, be it on dry or wet roads, nor do they work off-road. Summer tires usually last very long, which is very important for a vehicle with all-wheel drive.
All season and all weather tires are different as well, even though their names suggest that they do the same thing. We find all weather tires to be an all round solution for people who live in areas with hot summers and cold winters. The best all weather tires for Subaru Forester will have good traction on dry roads, wet roads, in warm and cold climates, and they can even be good in the snow.
All season tires, on the other hand, are at their best in warm climates, but not as good in cold climates. That said, the best all season tires for Subaru Forester will be better than summer tires in cold weather, and a good set from reputable manufacturers can be a great solution for a lot of people.
Winter tires work best in cold weather. They are made from softer rubber that keeps its elasticity in the cold winter months and thanks to a more aggressive tread pattern. On the other hand, they become very soft in the summer and in hot climates and can deteriorate quickly. The best winter tire for Subaru Forester will work great on cold pavement, dry or wet, and work on the snow as well.
There are some specialized snow tires out there, but they only work in the snow. On dry or wet pavement, they are not very comfortable and are very noisy, so we recommend buying a set of specialized snow tires only if you live in an area with constant snow. If that’s not the case, a good winter tire will suffice in cold areas.
Off-road tires are pretty self-explanatory – they work best out of the road. Most owners of the Subaru Forester never venture off-road, but the popular Japanese crossover can venture in more demanding terrain with the right set of tires. That said, while off-road tires are great at tackling heavy terrains, they aren’t very comfortable on the road and can be very loud. Thanks to their aggressive tread pattern, they work better on snow compared to summer and all weather tires, but they still can’t replace a good set of winter or snow tire.
In the end, a lot of things can depend on your driving style. If you are an aggressive driver and want a sporty experience, then sporty summer tires should be your choice. A good set of sports summer tire can make a lot of difference on dry and warm roads, especially with the help of the symmetrical all-wheel drive in the Forester.
Top 10 Best Tires for Subaru Forester
A. Premium Tires
1. Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady
Best all weather tires for Subaru Forester
Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is pretty expensive tires, especially for a car like the Forester. However, they also offer great performance and can improve on the safety of the vehicle dramatically, and that’s an area where saving a few bucks is not an option. That’s especially true if you drive your family around in the Forester.
Despite the high price, these amazing Goodyear tires are in the first place because of several important factors. First, they are very good in the summer and in a warm climate, offering excellent traction and stability. Then, they offer great drivability in wet conditions, both in cold and warm weather.
The best thing about the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady is that they offer very good winter performance as well, and they can even work well in snow (they’re Severe Snow Certified). Hell, they can even tackle some light off-road driving. The Assurance WeatherReady are really prepared for any weather you throw at them.
And they will be for a long time, thanks to the Weather Reactive Technology, that widens the traction grooves as the tire wears down. This means that the tire will keep its performance even after thousands of miles driven, in every type of weather. Goodyear offers a long 60,000-mile thread warranty for a piece of mind.
2. Michelin Primacy MXM4
Best all season tires for Subaru Forester
Suffice to say, Michelin tires are almost always at the top of the game, thanks to innovative tread design and advanced materials. The Primacy MXM4 is no exception here – it offers great performance in many different situations and in different weather. As with the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady, this tire can also be expensive, but we think it’s still a great bang for the buck thanks to all of the other qualities.
The Michelin Primacy MXM4 is at its best in warmer climates. It offers great handling, stability, and comfort on dry roads, and it also has very short stopping distances. If you’re into spirited driving, this is one of the best tires for Subaru Forester available on the market today. With this Michelin, you shouldn’t worry about water either – it’s one of the best tires on the market in wet conditions. That said, it’s not the best in winter months, especially when it’s snowing, but it’s serviceable nonetheless.
Thanks to the MaxTouch technology, the Primacy MXM4 can last a long time and still offer great performance even after thousands of miles driven. The manufacturer gives 45,000 to 55,000-mile tread warranty, which may be lower than other tires on this list, but you shouldn’t worry much – this is a tire that you’ll surely drive several seasons.
3. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Best winter tires for Subaru Forester
Most people may not need specialized winter tires for their Subaru Forester, but if you live in colder areas, a good pair of winter tires can make a lot of difference in the winter. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Studless Ice & Snow are the best winter tires for Subaru Forester, thanks to technologies such as the NanoPro-Tech Multicell compound with a hydrophilic coating and microscopic bite particles that help the rubber keep its elasticity in colder climates and improve the traction in wet and snowy conditions
And the technology really works. We find the Blizzak WS80 to be great in cold conditions on dry pavement, with great handling, stability, and short braking distances. It’s also pretty comfortable and quiet, which is not something you can say for a lot of winter tires. The Blizzak WS80 is great when things get wet and especially good in the snow. This is a tire that doesn’t have a real competitor when it comes to traction in snow – it’s a real game changer. And with the help of the symmetrical all-wheel drive in the Forester, they can even be fun to drive in the snow.
4. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06
Best summer tires for Subaru Forester
Specialized summer tires these days tend to also be great performance tires. The best summer tire for Subaru Forester is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06, especially if you’re into spirited driving down a mountain road.
Combined with the agility of the all-wheel-drive Forester, this high-performance tire can offer serious traction and precision in warm and dry weather, thanks to strong sidewalls and X-Sipe technology around the treads. With these tires installed on the Forester, the driver will experience exhilarating and precise handling – the vehicle will be glued to the road. This will inspire confidence in the driver and ultimately, make the vehicle safer.
The Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 are very good on wet roads as well, but only in warmer climates. Summer rains pose no problem for these tires, as they’ll keep grabbing the road underneath and provide the driver with precise handling and high-speed stability.
On the other hand, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 lose their abilities in colder climates and don’t offer great traction on snow. If you plan on having a blast of a drive in the summer with these tires, you should plan for a good pair of winter tires when things get cold.
5. Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus
Best touring tires for Subaru Forester
If you want a great tire for long driving, you need a touring tire. The Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is one of the best touring tires around, offering a mix of capabilities that raise it above the rest.
The Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is a very comfortable and quiet tire that can transform your Subaru Forester into a “premium” vehicle. Seriously, you can feel a lot of difference compared to other tires, especially when driving on the highway.
This tire also offers great traction, braking, and handling on dry and warm roads, and excellent wet traction. It also offers long tread life – the manufacturer gives a 70,000-mile warranty. The Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus has another trick up its sleeve – it can improve the fuel efficiency of your Subaru Forester thanks to low rolling resistance.
With all of that said, there is one area where the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is not very good at – snow driving. Mind you, it’s perfectly capable in cold weather, but it loses traction in snow, which is especially felt in braking. If you live in an area with snowy winters, we suggest a proper winter tire.
B. Budget Tires
6. Toyo Open Country Q/T
Best budget touring tires for Subaru Forester
Toyo’s Open Country Q/T tire is a great fit for the Subaru Forester if you do a lot of highway miles and generally make long trips with your vehicle. A great touring tire will provide long tread life, comfortable and quiet ride and good performance in any condition. We think the Toyo Open Country Q/T combines all those threats and offers great bang for the buck.
The biggest advantage of the Toyo Open Country Q/T is its quietness. Sure, the Subaru Forester is a quiet crossover, but wait until you try it with a set of these Toyo’s. They are one of the quietest tires you can buy right now and that can be seen in their name as well – Q/T stands for quiet. They are also very comfortable and can improve on the ride quality of the Forester. A real game changer when it comes to comfort and refinement.
Other than being quiet, the Toyo Open Country Q/T offers very good traction in warm and dry weather, good traction on wet pavement, and can also tackle some snow. It will also last you a very long time – the manufacturer gives 65,000-mile tread warranty. This is very important for a tire that will mostly do high-speed driving on the highway.
7. Cooper Evolution Winter Studdable
Best budget touring tires for Subaru Forester
If you live in an area with very cold and snowy winters, a proper winter tire is a must. That said, winter tires can cost a fortune and keeping two sets of tires in your possession can be very expensive. That is unless you opt for the Cooper Evolution Winter Studable – a specialized winter tire that costs half the money you’ll pay for premium winter tires. By choosing this tire, you can have an inexpensive solution for the summer and winter.
Despite being very cheap, the Cooper Evolution Winter Studable is equipped with a soft tread compound that stays being pliable in very cold winter months. The Snow-Groove technology helps with traction in snow, giving the all-wheel-drive Forester a great support in harsh weather conditions. The Cooper Evolution Winter Studable is also very quiet and comfortable for a winter tire.
With all that said, don’t expect great handling and traction from the Cooper Evolution Winter Studable in warm climates. It can also deteriorate very quickly if driven in the summer and lose its properties. This tire is best to be driven only in cold climates and in the winter.
8. Sumitomo HTR A/S P02
Best budget high performance tires for Subaru Forester
High-performance tires can be very expensive and are often out of reach for most people. However, in the last few years, we started seeing high-performance tires from budget manufacturers, such as the Sumitomo HTC A/S P02. This tire offers great value for money thanks to its combination of great traction in warm climates, dry or wet.
The Sumitomo HTC A/S P02 is reinforced with nylon bands and it has a high-tensile polyester casing, which helps it achieve high cornering speeds on hot pavement and very respectable performance on wet pavement. They are very good in heavy rains as well – a real all-rounder if you live in an area with mild winter weather.
Why did we say mild? Despite being equipped with 3D sipes in the tread that should improve traction in snow and ice, the Sumitomo HTC A/S P02 is not at its best in this conditions. Sure, it can tackle light snow, but drivers who live in an area with very cold and snowy winters should opt for a real winter tire.
On the other hand, the Sumitomo HTC A/S P02 offers a very comfortable and quiet ride for a high-performance tire.
9. Laufenn G FIT A/S
Best budget all weather tires for Subaru Forester
Installing good all weather tires on your Subaru Forester shouldn’t always be an expensive proposition. The Laufenn G FIT AS is a great example of that, as it offers respectable performance in almost any weather while being pocket-friendly.
The Laufenn G FIT AS is especially good in wet weather, where its wide straight grooves help with better water drainage and keep the tire glued to the road while eliminating aquaplaning as well. This tire holds itself very well on dry roads as well, achieving respectable cornering speeds and agile handling, thanks to the stiffness of the tread and strong side walls.
Casual drivers will be satisfied with the performance in winter driving as well, but don’t expect great snow, ice or slush performance. This tire is made of a pretty hard compound and can be stiff in cold weather, which limits traction.
Even though the Laufenn G FIT AS is on the cheap side, tread life should be long, up there with the premium tires. Add to that a comfortable and quiet ride, and you have a real winner in the Laufenn G FIT AS.
10. Sumic GT-A All-Season Radial Tire
Very cheap all season tires alternative
Paying less for a tire often means that you’ll not get the performance of a more expensive tire. While that may be the case with the Sumic GT-A All-Season Radial Tire, we find it to be perfectly capable for casual drivers who don’t exploit all the performance capabilities of their Forester’s.
The Sumic GT-A All Season is really a jack of all trades tire. It doesn’t shine in any particular area, but it isn’t bad either. It offers good grip and stability in warm climates, good traction in wet and slippery surfaces, and it even works in the winter. Sure, it’s far from the best when it’s snowing, but you shouldn’t expect so much from a tire that’s third of the price of the premium tires.
Despite being very cheap, the Sumic GT-A All Season has a long tread life and it has a tread life indicator built in. This is a tire that’s cheap to buy and cheap to own – no need for a change every year.
On the other hand, the Sumic GT-A All Season is really not at its best in off-road driving and can lose traction very fast, so that kind of driving is best to be avoided with this tire.
After keeping an eye on the tires on our list, the style of driving, and the weather in your area, choosing the right tire for your Subaru Forester should be a straightforward task. Just don’t forget to rotate the tires every 5,000-7,500-miles and you should be ready to tackle every road you will encounter in the years to come!