Well, that was easy.
The all-new 2019 Subaru Forester arrived dressed in its top-of-the-line Touring trim, pretty much eliminating the need to spend any time dithering over the options list. I mean, unless you simply can't live without Jasper Green Metallic body side moldings or a Footwell Illumination Kit, you can simply write a check for $35,270 and drive away in a Forester Touring, confident that everything you really want already is in there.
Really, the only factory option of any significance on Touring is the $947 Popular Pkg. #3, which brings along auto-dimming mirrors, rear bumper cover, all-weather floor liners, cargo net and an LED dome-light upgrade or -- hey, lookie there -- Jasper Green Metallic body side moldings.
Our Touring tester didn't have Pop Pack #3, and somehow we survived.
What it did have, no extra charge, was all-wheel drive, Subaru's EyeSight suite of safety nannies, dual-zone climate, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, navigation, 576-watt Harman Kardon audio, power seats, keyless entry and start, leather, power liftgate . . .
There's more, but you get the idea.
This guy, on day one, starts making life easier. And that's what Forester really is all about. It's not a party pal. It's a team player.
This tall, five-passenger wagon is like an appliance. It ignites no spark of passion. Instead, without fanfare, it simply goes about its business as a family hauler and daily driver, doing everything it was designed to do and doing it all well. Its mission is to make life easy, not exciting.
Boasting plenty of room for people and stuff, along with a smooth ride, good fuel economy, loads of safety tech and a civil cabin, the new Forester Touring is as sensible as comfortable shoes.
In addition to Touring, other trim levels -- which do, indeed, ask you to at least glance over the options list -- include Base, Premium, Sport and Limited.
Regardless, one drivetrain is offered: a naturally aspirated, 182-hp, horizontally opposed four that sends power, such as it is, to all four wheels via a continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission.
On the road, our Touring, behind that 2.5-liter flat four, felt slower than a school-zone speed limit, its selectable "Sport" driving mode notwithstanding.
On the other hand, Forester is consistently solid, confident and reassuring, filling the lane ahead with its wide stance even as it delivered to us an impressive 27 mpg in 160 miles of mixed city/hwy driving -- exactly the same figure we experienced last year driving a Limited model.
And, yeah, we appreciated this guy's obsession with our well-being. Not only is Subaru's EyeSight suite of active safety nannies standard -- adaptive cruise, pre-collision braking and throttle management, lane departure and sway warning, lane keep assist and more -- but our Touring also included X-Mode, a driver-selectable menu of chassis settings that provides modes of Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud.
This guy worried about us constantly. Hey, Forester, thanks for your concern.
And thanks, too, for your interior room, which is spectacular throughout the cabin.
Throw in more than 76 cubic-feet of seats-folded cargo room, and this guy is ready to haul stuff, too -- provided your stuff doesn't include much of a trailer. Forester's tow rating is a mere 1,500 pounds.
The infotainment equipment in our Touring included the upgraded Subaru StarLink system -- yeah, it's another Touring standard -- that utilized three screens: a reconfigurable job in the gauge pod, a multi-display atop the dash, and a touch screen in the center stack. Once you get the hang of it, mixing and matching desired info among screens is easy.
As a brand, Subaru does, indeed, offer some fun rides -- the BRZ coupe, the WRX pocket rocket, the cladded and lifted Outback crossover wagon -- but Forester isn't cast in that mold. It's simply sensible, and never more so than in its Touring trim.