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2014 Subaru Forester

By G.R. Whale

On Sale: Second Quarter 2013
Expected Pricing: $23,000-$33,500

Subaru introduced its next generation Forester at the 2012 LA Auto Show. An evolutionary design, it looks a lot like the outgoing model and immediately, obviously a Subaru.

The 2014 Subaru Forester is built on a new platform but as before will be offered in two models, the Forester 2.5i and turbocharged Forester 2.0XT.

An efficient wagon shape with lots of glass area, the 2014 Forester does not jump out but many owners prefer it that way. However, the XT does get greater visual delineation on front styling relative the standard model and a rear spoiler.

Not two inches longer nor an inch wider the Forester employs a slightly longer wheelbase to for extra room. Rear-seat legroom now rivals many full-size SUVs and four-door pickups, and cargo area is up to 34 cubic feet behind the back seat and 75 seat folded. Add a moonroof, deduct 9 percent cargo volume.

The Forster 2.5i is named for the 2.5-liter, 170-hp four-cylinder boxer engine low under the hood for stability. Some come with a 6-speed manual and upper trims use a CVT (continuously variable transmission) that's optional on all but 2.5i.

Every Forester has all-wheel drive transparent to the driver; the system varies by transmission choice. EPA City/Highway/Combined ratings range from 22/29/24 mpg to 24/32/27 mpg.

Forester 2.0XT gets a 2-liter direct-injection turbo of 250 hp (on 93 octane fuel) and a useful 258 pound-feet of torque from 2000-4800 rpm. It is CVT-only, with shift paddles for manual-mode operation. Forester XTs also get bigger brakes, 18-inch wheels (same tire width), stiffer springs and dampers, chassis reinforcements and SI-Drive.

Fully independent suspension offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance and ability to venture off the pavement, but it's as easy to get in as a car. New electric-assist power steering helps fuel economy. Brakes are all disc, and a full array of electronic aids are standard or available. Previous Foresters have earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick; we anticipate the 2014 will too.

Forester 2.5i comes with air conditioning, split-fold rear seat with three headrests, power accessories, Bluetooth phone/streaming, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and trip computer with outside temperature. From there the Premium adds features, including the option of a CVT that is required for some other extras. In pricing order, next up are the 2.0XT Premium, 2.5i Limited, and Touring models.

Touring spec brings navigation with smartphone and Aha integration, 440-watt harman/kardon sound system, dual-zone climate control and the Driver Assist/EyeSight option that employs a stereo camera (as opposed to radar) for adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and collision-mitigation braking.


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