2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Apr 12, 2023

User's: 5.0/5 Editor's: 3.8/5
A crossover that’s ruggedly athletic but a tad more affordable than the GT Edition.
2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Variants & Price
  9. Color Options
  10. Specs

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Review: Introduction

Crossovers are vehicles that offer flexibility when it comes to cargo loading. They also have high ground clearances, which allows drivers to drive through rough terrain with more confidence. Not to mention, they have a car-like ride comfort that translates to a smoother drive as compared to seven-seater midsize SUVs. 

2021 Subaru Forester Lineup Comparison | Philkotse Reviews

The Subaru Forester is one of the five-seater compact crossovers available in the Philippine market that goes up against the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, among others. That said, what makes the Forester stand out from its competition? To know the answer to that, Subaru Philippines lent us the keys to the 2021 Forester GT Lite. 


Subaru Forester 2023 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money

    Sticker price vs overall package

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Exterior Review: Rugged look with added flair

The Forester GT Lite is somehow similar to the GT Edition variant that we reviewed before. The two vehicles have the same design execution that aims to give an exterior that looks rugged and sporty. But, take note that the GT Edition is the top-of-the-line Forester variant. 

The front end of the Subaru Forester GT Lite has a bold and commanding demeanor. The large chrome grille is a design element that you can see across all Forester variants. The sweptback LED headlights, integrated with daytime running lights, are also a familiar sight to other Foresters available in the market today. Those headlamps are steering responsive, which means that it automatically adjusts the ray of light emitted from the headlights to go along with your steering input.  

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite front shot

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite

The thing that stands out the most in the Forester GT Lite’s fascia is its large bumper that’s clad in black trim. It gives the vehicle a muscular look, and it adds a bolder presence to the Forester’s front. While some people find that appealing, I’m not a fan of the Forester GT Lite’s front bumper since I find the black cladding a bit exaggerated. I do like the GT-specific front lip spoiler integrated into the bumper as it gives an added swag to the vehicle. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite side shot

The Forester GT Lite comes with 220mm ground clearance

Turning at the side, the thing I noticed first is the silver-colored skirts that are on the front- and rear-end parts of the vehicle. I also like that Subaru added a silver trim on the lower part of the doors, which complemented the whole side profile of the vehicle. The Forester GT Lite is also fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels that come with a snowflake-like design, which suits my taste better as compared to the 18-inch alloys of the GT Edition. In case you’re wondering, this Forester has a ground clearance of 220mm.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite rear shot

Rugged and sporty

The rugged look with added flair continues to be seen at the rear of the 2021 Forester GT Lite. It has large wraparound LED taillights, a sporty bumper, and a distinctive spoiler. The thing I like most about the Forester’s rear end is its taillights as they give a boomerang-like illusion. I also find the rear better when it comes to combing ruggedness and sportiness as compared to the over-aggressive fascia. 


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2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Interior Review: Familiar Subie layout

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite interior shot

It has a typical Subaru interior layout

When you step inside the Forester GT Lite, you’ll be greeted with the familiar Subaru (Subie) interior layout. The arrangement of buttons on the dashboard, as well as the design of the multifunction steering, the infotainment system, the center console, the leather seats, among others, are similar to other Subaru vehicles.

The interior comes with a dark theme along with silver and glossy black trims. The leather seats offer enough support and it keeps you comfortable for the rest of your drive. The driver’s and front passenger’s seats are power-adjustable, which allows you to find your most ideal position.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite rear seats

Enough space for up to three individuals

The rear seats can accommodate up to three individuals and it has more than enough leg- and head-room for passengers standing at 5’6”. The Forester has rear aircon vents that help cool down the cabin more efficiently. Unlike the GT Edition, the Forester GT Lite doesn’t come with a sunroof, which is not much of a problem if you ask me. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite cargo

You can load an assortment of items into the cargo area

Cargo space is one of the assets of crossover vehicles, and the Forester GT Lite doesn’t disappoint when it comes to this category. You can load an assortment of items into the Forester’s cargo area such as a month’s supply of groceries, four to five luggage, a wheelchair, among many others. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite: Tech & Safety Review

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite Apple CarPlay

Seamless phone integration

The Forester GT Lite comes with tech gizmos that would make your drives more pleasant. It has an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s integrated with Apple CarPlay compatibility, which to me is an essential feature in the smartphone era. Apple CarPlay allows you to connect your phone seamlessly into the Forester’s head unit, giving you easy access to apps such as Waze, and Spotify. I wasn’t able to check if the Forester GT Lite’s infotainment comes with Android Auto. But based on the brochure, Subaru PH states that it does have Android Auto. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite rear camera

Parking the Forester is made easy, and more convenient through the rear camera

The infotainment touchscreen also has an around-view monitor feature, giving you a complete view of the vehicle’s exterior surroundings. It also transforms into a rear camera when you put the gear in reverse. The feed from the rear camera is crisp and clear enough for you to safely view what’s behind the vehicle, a feature you’ll appreciate whenever you’re parking the Forester.   

The Forester GT Lite is also equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight technology, which is one of the stand-out features of the said Japanese automaker. EyeSight tech helps you have a safer drive by alerting you when the system picks up something unusual or hazards while you’re on the road. It’s like your co-pilot. It includes features such as adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure & lane sway warning, and lead vehicle start alert.

Adding to the list of notable tech and safety features of the Forester is Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive (SAWD). SAWD distributes power to all four wheels, which assures you that you’ll have traction even on slippery roads. It also compensates when a wheel loses grip, which helps the Forester to be planted on the road.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite X-Mode

X-Mode helps you drive through rough terrain

This Forester also has X-Mode, making it an off-road-ready vehicle. It also allows you to safely drive through rough terrain. In addition, this vehicle has seven airbags: it has airbags on the Front, Side, and Curtain. Plus, the driver gets a Knee airbag.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite: Engine & Performance Review

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite engine

The Forester's 2.0-liter gasoline engine delivers adequate power

The Forester GT Lite is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline Boxer engine that delivers 154 hp and 196 Nm of torque. The engine is connected to a Lineartronic CVT, and feature’s Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive (SAWD) layout. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite front shot

Look at that aggressive-looking bumper

One of the things you’ll appreciate from the Forester is its stable ride comfort, which gives you peace of mind when you’re out on the road. It can also absorb road impacts within reason, which made driving through the dilapidated roads of EDSA more pleasant. Being a crossover, the Forester has a smoother ride as compared to the larger seven-seater midsize SUVs. 

The Forester also has a light steering feel with enough feedback, which allows you to have better control of the vehicle. The steering wheel gets a bit firm when you start to gain speed, a characteristic I appreciate since this gives a more balanced and stable drive especially on the open highway. I also like the forward visibility of the Forester, and the front quarter glass lessens blind spots most especially when you need to drive through tight streets. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite rear shot

The GT kits add style points to the Forester

The 2.0-liter gasoline engine delivers adequate power whether you’re driving in the city or on the expressway. It also comes with paddle shifters and a Sport mode in case you want to have a more performance-oriented drive. The Sport mode allows the throttle to be more responsive that results in a more direct input as compared to the Intelligent or the Eco mode. However, part of me still hopes that the Forester will once again be available with a turbo engine.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite: Fuel Efficiency

In terms of fuel consumption, the Forester GT Lite registered 7 km/l while driving around the city at an average speed of 20 km/h. On the open highway, Subaru’s compact crossover posted 18 km/l while driven at an average speed of 90 km/h.

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite: Verdict

The Subaru Forester GT Lite is a well-capable five-seater compact crossover. The added GT-specific body kits give the vehicle extra swag points, and it aims to offer you a rugged exterior with a pinch of sporty appeal. 

Comparing it with the GT Edition, the Forester GT Lite is already a solid choice since it is already integrated with almost the same features as the top-spec variant for a lesser price tag. Speaking of which, the 2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite is priced at Php 1,980,000, which is Php 190,000 cheaper than the GT Edition. 

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite front

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite

But more importantly, the Forester GT Lite is equipped with the same tech and safety features found on the top-of-the-line GT Edition. The EyeSight tech, SAWD, X-Mode, among others are features that are hard to ignore especially when you’re on the market for a five-seater crossover that banks on overall safety.

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2021 Subaru Forester: Variants & Price


Subaru Forester Price & Variants in the Philippines

Subaru Forester 2.0i-L

Php 1,938,000

Subaru Forester GT Lite Edition

Php 1,980,000

Subaru Forester 2.0i-S

Php 2,068,000

Subaru Forester GT Edition

Php 2,170,000

2021 Subaru Forester: Color Options


2021 Subaru Forester Color Options

Subaru Forester 2.0i-L

Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl

Subaru Forester GT Lite Edition

Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl

Subaru Forester 2.0i-S

Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl

Subaru Forester GT Edition

Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl

2021 Subaru Forester GT Lite: Specs






Forester GT Lite

Body Type

Compact Crossover

Dimensions & Weight


4,625 mm


1,815 mm


1,730 mm


2,670 mm

Ground Clearance

220 mm

Engine & Transmission


2.0L Gasoline

Engine Displacement

1,995 cc

Max Power

154 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Max Torque

196 Nm @ 4,000 rpm


Lineartronic CVT

Fuel Tank Capacity

63 liters

Chassis & Suspension

Brakes (Front / Rear)

Ventillated Discs / Ventillated Discs

Suspension (Front / Rear)

MacPherson Struts / Double Wishbone

GT Edition Kit

GT Edition Roof Spoiler

GT Edition Front and Rear Bumper Lip Extensions

GT Edition Side Skirts

GT Edition Exhaust Tailpipe Cutter

Body & Wheels

Black Front and Rear Underguards

Shark Fin Antenna

Roof Rails

Black Side Claddings

GT Edition Emblems

Exterior Lighting

LED Headlamps with Auto-leveliser

LED Rear Combination Lamps

LED Rear Fog Lamp

Halogen Front Fog Lamps

Steering Responsive Headlights (SRH)

Mirror & Windows

Power-folding Door Mirrors

UV-protection Glass for Windshield and Front Side Windows

Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers (flat blade)

Automatic Rain-sensing Windshield Wipers

Intermittent Rear Window Wiper

Driver's Cockpit

Remote Control Key System

Keyless Access (touch-sensor) and Push-button Start System

One-touch Turn Signal

Leather-wrapped Steering Wheel and Gearshift Knob

Tilt-adjustable / Telescopic Steering Wheel

Paddle Shifters

Aluminium Pedals


Leather Seats

8-way Power-adjustable Driver’s Seat with Seat Memory Function linked to Door Mirrors

8-way Power-adjustable Front Passenger’s Seat

60/40-split Folding Rear Seats

Reclining Rear Seats with One-touch Folding Switch

Cabin Comfort

Power Windows (driver’s and front passenger’s auto up/down function with pinch protection)

Map Lights

Vanity Mirrors with Lids and Lamps (driver and front passenger)

Front Cup Holders (x2 in centre console)

Door Pockets with Bottle Holders (on all side doors)

12-volt Power Outlets in Centre Panel and Centre Console Box

Climate Control

Dual-zone Automatic Air-conditioning System with Anti-dust Filter

Rear Ventilation System

Electric Rear Window Defogger with Timer


8-inch Display Audio System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Bluetooth-compatible Hands-free System

Single USB Port, Auxiliary Input Jack and HDMI Input (in centre panel)

Dual USB Ports in Centre Console Box (power only)

Superview Around Recognition Three-sixty System

Safety and Security

Adaptive Cruise Control


Hill Descent Control

Auto Vehicle Hold

Active Torque Vectoring


Vehicle Dynamics Control System

Electronic Parking Brake

Front SRS Airbags

Front Side SRS Airbags (driver and front passenger)

Curtain SRS Airbags (front and rear, both sides)

Knee SRS Airbag (driver)

Height-adjustable Seatbelt Anchors (front seats)

Locking-tongue Front Seatbelts with Pretensioners and Load Limiters

Rear Seat Headrests for 3 Seating Positions

Rear 3-point Seatbelts for 3 Seating Positions

4-sensor/4-channel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution

Brake Assist System

Brake Override


Child-proof Rear Door Locks (both sides)

Engine Immobiliser

Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD)

EyeSight Driver Assist Technology

Martin Aguilar

Martin Aguilar


Martin is a BA Literature graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He started his writing career as an editorial assistant and writer for various magazines under ABS-CBN Publishing. Before being the Content Editor of Philkotse, Martin was a writer for Autoindustriya then shifted gears in 2017 to become the editor for AutoDeal.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martin.aguilar21

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-angelo-aguilar-27456775/

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