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Does Subaru Forester Have Heated Seats?

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The Subaru Forester is one of America's most popular compact crossover SUVs. Some of its strongest selling points include its all-wheel-drive (AWD) feature and passenger comfort. However, in terms of passenger comfort, does the Forester have heated seats? We compiled our research for your reading pleasure.

Except for the base variant, all 2022 Subaru Forester trims come equipped with heated seats. Also, the range-topping Forester Touring model has heated front and rear seats.

If you are interested to learn more about the 2022 Subaru Forester, then this is the right place for you. Keep reading as we will talk more about the Forester's heated seats along with other features and benefits.

Subaru Forester, Close up shot of car seat heating control panel - Does Subaru Forester Have Heated Seats

Which Subaru Forester Models Have Heated Seats?

Subaru Forester, Close-up on the seat heatting, tcs off, i-stop off and other control buttons, automatic adjust level dashboard.

For the 2022 Subaru Forester, Subaru of America (SOA) does not offer heated seats on the base model. However, SOA offers this comfort feature on the following trims:
  • Premium - heated front seats
  • Sport - heated front seats
  • Wilderness - heated front seats
  • Limited - heated front seats
  • Touring - heated front seats and rear seats

How To Use Heated Seats On A Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester's controls for its heated seats are easily within view and reach. For the heated front seats, the rocker switches are located on the center console between the driver and passenger seats.

To activate normal heating, press the bottom of the rocker switch, and an indicator light below the switch will turn on. Next, for rapid heating, press the top of the rocker switch and a similar indicator light will turn on. Finally, to turn off the seat heater, select the rocker button's center position.

For the rear seat heaters, the switches are located just below the rear airconditioning vents behind the center console. These push-button switches are cyclical. With each button press, the seat heaters will rotate to normal heating, rapid heating, then back to the "off" position.

 

How Do Heated Seats Work In Cars?

Seat heating buttons. Interior of car

From their development in the mid-1900s, heated car seats came as exclusive comfort features for high-end cars. However, in terms of technology, heated seats did not offer anything new at that time. Car seat heaters used the same principle as that of electric blankets.

Heated seats function through the use of a heating element installed between the inner and outer layers of the car seat upholstery. The heating element is usually made of electrically resistant alloy strips or coils.  

When the heater switch is on, electricity flows through the heating element. The heating element strips, in turn, resist the electrical flow. With this resistance, the electrical energy transforms into heat energy. Finally, this heat radiates through the upholstery to warm the seat occupant.  

Most modern car seat heaters have a thermostat to prevent the heating element from getting too hot. If the seat cushion reaches a certain temperature, then the thermostat will send a signal that will turn off the electricity flow through the heating element temporarily.

What Is The Purpose Of Heated Seats?

Seat heating controller buttons close up view. Car interior. Seat heater button, car interior. Heating mode is weak.

Aside from the obvious comfort that they bring, especially during frigid weather, heated seats also offer some safety and even therapeutic benefits.

Heated car seats are beneficial for drivers and passengers with chronic back pain. Heat can help to ease and relax muscle pain, and the well-distributed heat from the car seat can do this work quite well.  

Moreover, heated car seats can help alleviate physical and even mental stress, especially for people driving on long winter trips. With less stress, the driver can focus more on the road.

Finally, heated car seats reduce the need for winter clothes when driving. These thick clothes can hamper the driver's movement and reaction time. Overly thick winter clothes can also increase the slack on the seat belts, and this can be a potentially dangerous situation.

Can Heated Car Seats Cause Problems?

Though heated car seats bring comfort and safety to drivers, the feature can also cause some problems.  

First, heated car seats can malfunction, especially the thermostat or the automatic shut-off function. Heated car seats are designed to warm up to a temperature range of 86 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 45 degrees Celsius). 

With defective components, heated seats can reach over 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.5 degrees Celsius). Based on medical research, even 10 minutes of skin exposure to temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.8 degrees Celsius) can cause third-degree burns.

Second, defective seat heaters can cause fires. In 2018 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received over 70 cases of vehicular fire caused by malfunctioning heated car seats.

Third, prolonged and repeated use of heated car seats can cause toasted skin syndrome (TSS). This condition causes skin discoloration, itching, and burning sensations.

Finally, researchers discovered that over time, heated car seats can affect a man's virility. Over 90 minutes on a heated car seat can create a significant temperature increase in the male scrotum. On this note, heat stress on male testicles can impair sperm quality.

For these safety reasons, always be vigilant in getting your car seat heaters' condition checked. Moreover, avoid using them on a prolonged and regular basis. 

How Much Can I Fit In The Forester?

Subaru With Roof Top Tent

The 2022 Subaru Forester has a 5-passenger seating capacity and 111.6 cubic feet of total passenger volume. SOA says that this ample interior space is larger than the ones in many other popular crossover SUVs like the Ford Escape, the Toyota RAV4, and the Honda CR-V.

However, we would like to point out that only the base Forester model has this total passenger volume. All other Forester models have a slightly smaller total passenger volume, which is 107.6 cubic feet.

When the 60/40 split rear bench seats fold down, the base Forester trim has a maximum cargo volume of 74.2 cubic feet. Under the same conditions, all other trims have 69.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume.

When the rear seats are upright, the base Forester model has 28.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity. With the same seat configuration, all other trims also get a more modest cargo capacity of 26.9 cubic feet.

So what do we make of these different cargo capacity numbers?

In an actual luggage test, the Forester proved that it has functionally the same cargo space as those of its competitors that have larger stated cargo spaces. This means that the Forester has one of the roomiest cargo spaces among compact crossover SUVs on the market.

Moreover, the Forester can boast about the ease with which cargo can be loaded. Because its maximum rear gate opening width is 51.2 inches, the 2022 Forester can easily take in a 50-inch golf bag horizontally. This means you can load your golf bag easily even though all the clubs are inside. 

A Subaru Forester modified for offroad use on a snowy country lane

What Kind Of Engine Does A Subaru Forester Have?

 A 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine powers all the models of the American-spec 2022 Subaru Forester. This famed powerplant ekes out 182 hp at 5,800 rpm and produces 176 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Other Subaru models like the Crosstrek, Outback, and Legacy also use the same engine.

Subaru Forester 2014 Option Engine Room

Like other Subaru nameplates, the Forester also makes use of the brand's Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This transmission system delivers the horizontally-opposed engine's power to all four wheels, guided by Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system.

For towing, most Forester models can pull a 1,500-lb trailer that has an independent braking system. The Wilderness trim, on the other hand, has a 3,000-lb towing capacity due to modified gearing and off-road settings.  Without exception, all Forester variants have a 1,000-lb unbraked towing capacity.

Is The Subaru Forester Fuel-Efficient?

Based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fuel economy ratings, the 2022 Subaru Forester is one of the most fuel-efficient AWD crossover SUVs.

All non-Wilderness models achieved 33 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. These figures give a combined city/highway rating of 29 mpg.

On the other hand, the Wilderness trim recorded 28 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the city. This off-road inclined model has a combined fuel economy rating of 26 mpg.

Why Is The Subaru Forester Popular?

In terms of unit sales, the Subaru Forester continues to be one of the most popular compact crossover SUVs in the U.S. To illustrate, the Forester regularly placed 7th or 8th in its vehicle category for the greater part of the past decade.

This popularity goes beyond the U.S.  In the colder country of Canada, the Forester has been increasing in popularity steadily. Behind the U.S. and Japan, Canada is now Subaru's third-largest market in the world.

According to a well-regarded, consumer-based review, some of the 2022 Subaru Forester's best selling points include its good fuel economy, safety features, and comfortable interior space.

Furthermore, J.D. Power's review revealed that the 2022 Forester achieved "great" scores in its consumer review.  Overall, this high score was driven mainly by the Forester's quality, reliability, and good resale value.

Because of this reliability, 97% of the Foresters that were sold in the immediate past decade are still part of Subaru's units-in-operation (UIO) in America. Moreover, SOA claims that for the past seven years, their Foresters have retained their market value better than other vehicles in the same category.

How Much Is The Subaru Forester?

As of May 2022, the prices of the Subaru Forester's models are as follows.

  1. Forester (base trim)- $25,895
  2. Premium - $28,895
  3. Sport - $30,465
  4. Limited - $32,575
  5. Wilderness - $33,520
  6. Touring - $35,995

Wrapping Up

The 2022 Subaru Forester has heated front seats for all its models except for the base trim. If buyers choose the range-topping Touring variant, then they get heated front and rear seats.

Heated car seats are premium features that offer benefits and potential drawbacks. Because of potential accidents and injuries, we recommend moderation in this feature's usage.

Thank you very much for reading. We hope that we were able to help you understand more about the Subaru Forester's heated seats and other features.

If you want more interesting reads about the Forester and other automotive topics, then do check out these articles:

How Much Does a Subaru Forester Weigh?

Do Car Batteries Typically Come Charged?

How Wide Is A Subaru Outback? [Dimensions Explored]