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Sharing the Love; 2014 Subaru Forester Drive and Review by Larry Nutson

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2014 Subaru Forester
Sharing the Love

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, New York Bureau
The Auto Channel

"If you ask a Subaru owner what they think of their car, more times than not they'll tell you they love it," so says Subaru.

At first blush it appears everyone loves Subaru. Now that might be a bit of an over statement, but consider the U.S. sales growth of the Subaru brand. In spite of a weak economy, Subaru has had five years of increased sales. Last year they sold about 425,000 vehicles in the U.S., its most important market. For 2014 they expect sales to grow to around 460,000.

Not too long ago we spent about three years living in central Connecticut. I often was amazed as I drove along a road or was stopped at a traffic light at the number of Subaru’s. Quite often I was completely surrounded by Subaru’s.

The New England states are a big market for Subaru. I can imagine now what it must be like considering that Subaru has been on a sales roll. Last month, March 2014, sales were up 21% over the March 2013 sales. The company has now set consecutive monthly sales increases for the past 28 months.

Over 60% of Subaru customers in 2013 were new to the brand and were attracted by the brand’s reputation for all-wheel drive, fuel economy, safety, reliability and cost of ownership.

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The Forester is the biggest seller of all Subaru models, having been bought by about 124,000 folks last year. The Outback just slightly trails in its sales volume. Forester is a small SUV and credited with having invented the crossover segment. I think of the Forester also as a small station wagon with higher ground clearance (8.7inches) but still with a comfortable step-in height.

For 2014, the Subaru Forester was redesigned with new styling, slightly larger interior dimensions but with about the same exterior footprint. Some of the powertrain and technology features are new too. Subaru’s trademark all-wheel drive remains standard, and the CVTs and other powertrain changes improved fuel economy.

I spent a week going about my business driving a 2014 Forester 2.0XT Premium with an MSRP of $27,995. Power comes from a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four driving the Symmetrical All-wheel drive through a Lineartronic CVT. EPA test rating is 25mpg combined or 4 gallons per 100 miles. EPA city test rating is 23mpg and the highway test rating is 28mpg.

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The new Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a high-torque version for 2.0XT models and has 6-speed and 8-speed manual shift modes with steering wheel paddle shifters. On the 2.0XT models you get a SI-DRIVE performance control system, which offers “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” driving modes. I liked selecting the Sport mode for around town driving due to the increased engine braking effect. In the “Sport Sharp” mode zero to 60mph comes along in about 6.5 seconds. That’s quite quick for a crossover SUV.

All but the base 2.5i model now have a standard rear vision camera and color multi-function display. A power rear liftgate with automatic close and Keyless Access and Start and the EyeSight driver assist system are available. Subaru EyeSight integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. The available navigation system features smartphone integration with Aha smartphone integration features. The top-line Touring models come standard with a navigation system and 440-watt harman/kardon audio system.

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Overall, the Forester’s interior design is very straightforward and I liked the functional approach and control layout. The interior materials are of high quality.
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Seat comfort and support was very good and I liked the adjustable forward-back tilt head restraints as well as the very large sunroof opening. The high roofline makes for a roomy feeling cabin with plenty of headroom and good visibility. There’s seating for five and when you fold the rear seat there is a huge 75 cubic feet of space for lots of whatever. There was an absence of aero-acoustic noise coming from side mirrors, over the windshield, and wipers.

Subaru has announced pricing on the 2015 Subaru Forester and the new model year vehicles started arriving at dealers in April. The Forester 2.5i model will be available in base, Premium, Limited and top-line Touring versions. Pricing begins at $22,195 for the base model 2.5i with six-speed manual transmission. The turbocharged 2.0XT will be offered in the Premium and Touring versions, with the Premium starting at $28,495. The 2.0XT Premium now features a standard All Weather Package. All prices are MSRP and do not include $850 destination charge.

For 2015, the base model 2.5i gets rear vision camera and color multi-function display as standard equipment. Previously unavailable, the 2.5i Premium manual transmission model is now equipped with a moonroof standard. New for 2015, the 2.5i Touring models will receive standard high luster 18” alloy wheels. All Touring models feature Keyless Access & Start, HID lights and chrome rocker trim. Navigation is now optional on Touring models.

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If you are interested comparing the 2014 Subaru Forester to the 2015 or every other small or crossover SUV you can do that right here on For more information and detailed specifications on the 2014 Subaru Forester go to

If you like, download the free TheAutoChannel smartphone app. The “My Test Drives” app for both the iPad and iPhone is available for free on The Auto Channel app found in the Apple App Store. The Auto Channel's free "My Test Drives" app gives serious car shoppers the help they need to make test drive evaluations accurate, effective and meaningful

Noteworthy is that the Subaru Forester was named Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year for 2014. The 2009 Forester also won this award. Also, the 2014 Forester was the first compact SUV to receive the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Try some love from Subaru.

Larry Nutson