Driving Impressions

By May 8, 2013

The Forester 2.5i offers strong mid-range torque and we were pleased by its willing performance. This non-turbocharged engine is rated at 170 horsepower peaking at 5800 rpm. Its torque, that force that propels you away from intersections, peaks at 174 pound-feet from 2000 to 4000 rpm, a broad range. That makes the Forester 2.5i feel responsive when driving around town. Acceleration performance when drag racing from a standstill is slow, however, taking a very long 9.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph.

Fuel economy for the Forester 2.5i is an EPA-estimated 24/32 mpg City/Highway with CVT, 22/29 mpg with 6-speed manual transmission. Regular gasoline is recommended, so there's no need to buy more-expensive Premium. Over a week of mixed local driving, a Forester 2.5i we drove averaged 23.1 mpg, not great but acceptable for an all-wheel-drive compact utility vehicle.

We think the Forester 2.5i works best with the 6-speed-manual; the available CVT does sap some of this engine's energy. We liked the manual transmission's crisp shifter and smooth clutch.

Forester 2.0XT can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 6.2 seconds. Forester 2.0XT models feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine rated at 250 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 2000 and 4800 rpm. Indeed, we found the 2.0XT's willing turbo engine runs out of steam at a modest 6000 rpm. The 2.0XT engine uses a combination of direct fuel injection, high compression (10.6:1), Subaru's Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS) and intercooled turbocharging. Forester 2.0XT models come with the CVT.

Fuel economy for Forester 2.0XT models is an EPA-rated 23/28 mpg. Premium gasoline is recommended for these high-compression, turbocharged engines.

Not surprisingly, this compact utility vehicle is no fire-breathing track carver, but the Forester 2.0XT's sport suspension on more aggressive 18-inch tires and wheels is definitely sharper and more responsive than the standard set-up, and its larger ventilated-rotor brakes are stronger and more effective.

We witnessed a demonstration that showed Forester's all-wheel drive to be very capable up and over a steep, slicked-down ramp.

We appreciated Forester's tight turning circle (34.8 feet), useful in crowded parking lots. The new efficiency-enhancing Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) seemed surprisingly good on both road and track, and we made good use of the multitude of useful information provided by its top-center data screen.