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2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Subaru, SUV, Test Drives


The all-new 2014 Subaru Forester receives a complete redesign yet stays steady on the beating path where its long-touted symmetrical all-wheel-drive system can take it. Retaining its off-roading, rally-inspired prowess, the new 2014 Forester still aims to provide a comfortable and versatile crossover platform for pavement-going transportation.

Subaru’s aim at seeking the adventurous remains well intact in the new 2014 Forester retaining much of its unique character. As a pavement-going machine, the new Forester brings its car-like driving temperament to the plate for a solid fun-to-drive fundamental. For the top-end XT trim the 2.0-liter Turbocharged engine aims to add a dash of thrill to the crossover equation. Carrying over from previous years, as found in my new Forester test vehicle, is the horizontally opposed boxer 2.5-liter 4-cylinder producing 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 174 ft-lbs. of torque at 4,100 rpm. The XT 2.0 trim touts 250 horsepower placing the light-weight Forester among the running line with many midsized crossovers with V6 engines.


Subaru’s approach for the new 2014 Forester remains to be somewhat subdued by its basic principles and simplistic design inside and out for some. As far as the exterior design, the Forester stands tall with ample ground clearance for those willing to take the alternative non-paved route, the only place where its conservative design may actually stand out. Much of the exterior design aspects, departing from the previous-generation hood scoop and wide-mouth grill, all come off as vanilla slightly resembling other Japanese manufacturers’ previous generation compact crossovers. At the end of the day, the new 2014 Subaru Forester remains to be quite functional for navigating many terrains with its restrained looks that a minority of people conversely find agreeable to their taste.


The proven 2.5-liter flat-4-cylinder engine proves to be a solid choice and never really feels completely inadequate to tote Subaru’s smaller CUV and its 3,444 pounds around. Acceleration, though only reaching 60 mph in just over 9 seconds, still manages to be predictable and well managed on the highway. Mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) unit, transferring the power to all 4 wheels comes down to the mercy of its control unit where the rpms hang at the engine’s power spot while infinitely adjusting the CVT’s pulley to propel the Forester onward. The whole act is uninspiring to put it lightly. Although, there is a bit of audible drama from the unenthusiastic transition of the CVT at times combined with the slight buzz of the flat-4-cylinder engine. Initial acceleration proves to be a painstaking task for the impatient but not to the point of being dangerously slow.  Subaru’s choice to provide a turbo 2.0-liter flat-4-cylinder in the XT trim is expected to make things really come to life having 250 horsepower and 258 lbs-ft. of torque to play with.


Surprisingly, road handling in the new 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited is reassuring and mostly predictable. The ride is firm and perfectly damped for a nice balance of comfort on paved roads as well as rugged dirt paths. The rally inspiration shines through the new Forester’s solid chassis never balking at demanding roads or trails ahead due to improved rigidity, up by an astonishing 150 percent from the outgoing model.

In the area of efficiency the new 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited, with its Partial Zero Emissions (Pzev) classification, returns consistent mpg figures. The EPA city mpg is at 24 mpg while highway consumption lands as 32 mpg. I was able to get a combined average of 27.4 mpg where my best figure was 31.2 on the highway. Around town I managed to never drop below the estimated 24 mpg getting 25 mpg on a consistent basis.


The interior of the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited, although improved over previous generations, retains some of its cheap characteristics. Much of the interior, consisting of plastics attempting to simulate other materials, is mostly uninspiring. The new high-mounted color LCD information screen makes way to display the backup camera and most vehicle details including MPG readings, X-Mode, clock and temperature. The screen, although on the small side, is placed high enough as to not distract much attention of the driver focused on the road. The audio and navigation system, all contained within a stand-alone dash unit with a color LCD touch screen, is utilized throughout many Subaru vehicles. The unit, used on the outgoing model, retains some qualms, such as have small on-screen buttons and confusing menu-sets. After using the system on a long trip it becomes somewhat familiar but not appetizing due to its antiquated-looking graphical interface.


Much of the interior is basic but all comes together well for its over-all fit with other plastic panels. Having a hodgepodge of plastic finishes never helps the quality perception of the interior, though the large glass panel sunroof, supportive leather seats a vast amount of interior room in the new Forester make it a worthwhile utility vehicle. Leg room is surprisingly plentiful as is headroom throughout. The rear cargo compartment, with a decent 31.5 cubic feet with the rear split seat backs up and 68.5 cubic feet folded down, does not skimp on space. The rear hatch is accessible by a power lift gate with a height memory function, something highly desired in the crossover utility segment no matter the size.


At the forefront of safety, the new 2014 Subaru Forester with its proven all-wheel-drive system, is a reassuring proactive and passive safety blanket in the unfortunate event of a crash. Driver’s side knee airbags, brake override system, front seat pelvis/torso airbags, side curtain airbags and vehicle dynamic control are all part of the standard set of safety features.

The new 2014 Subaru Forester remains to be an all-round off-road-capable crossover package versatile enough to get it all dirty on the offbeat trails while at the same time provide a well-handling car-like ride on paved roads. Having only one package option being the Navigation System in my test vehicle, the as-tested price lands at a respectable $29,920 including an $825 destination and delivery charge.

Copyright: 2013


  • Price: Base Forester 2.5i manual $22,820 / As-Tested Forester 2.5i Limited $29,920
  • Engine: 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer (horizontally opposed) 170 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm / 174 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,100 rpm
  • Total length: 180.9in.
  • Total width: 70.7in.
  • Total height: 68.2in.
  • Turning circle: 34.8ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,444lbs.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.0/41.7in.
  • Headroom: f/r-40.0/37.5in.
  • EPA cargo: 68.5cu.ft.
  • EPA interior volume: 147.5 cu.ft
  • Fuel tank: 15.9 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 9.1 seconds
  • EPA fuel mileage: 24 mpg city / 32 mpg highway

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