Updated: April 18, 2013 at 12:00 am
Completely Redesigned and Noticeably Improved
Subaru’s balance of utility, comfort and all-weather capabilities in the Forester have created a sought-after choice for families and individuals looking for an affordable and reliable crossover.
For 2014, Subaru’s fourth generation Forester has been further improved with a tip-to-tail redesign. The 2014 make-over enhances fuel economy and body styling, as well as power train, safety and tech systems.
Much of the Forester’s popularity comes from delivering features that today’s drivers consider essential – full time all-wheel drive, above-average ground clearance and the convenience of a hatchback -- without the appalling fuel consumption and magnitude of a full-size SUV.
All-new sheet metal combined with a blockier, more-SUV-like front end (meeting pedestrian protection requirements) and a swept-back windshield with arching roofline add some new strength to its look. While the Forester is still more like a car, Subaru takes the off-road ability seriously by offering a bit more ground clearance than other crossovers.
Two all-new transmissions tackle the mediocre fuel economy of past versions while a six-speed manual replaces last year's five-speed manual, leading to better acceleration along with better fuel economy.
Additionally a more efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) is now used rather than the four-speed automatic.
The base engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, remains but now there's an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder bringing more power than the previous 2.5-liter turbo.
A new more modern-day cabin is set with higher-quality materials along with a considerable 3.7 inches of rear legroom which is helped out by the stadium-type placement of the rear seats. By dropping the rear seats, a considerable amount of space can manage anything from a day of shopping, to bikes, tents kayaks and more stuff that Colorado outdoor folks need to transport.
The 2014 Subaru Forester comes in six trim levels. Standard equipment includes 17-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. Satellite radio is optional.
Upgrades include 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, a multifunction display, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a fold-down rear armrest, HD radio capability and six speakers for the sound system.
Further options can include an All-Weather package (heated side mirrors and heated front seats) and a touch-screen navigation system with 6.1-inch display that incorporates voice controls, automatic headlights, a power rear lift-gate, chrome exterior trim, automatic climate control, an LCD display in the instrument cluster, leather upholstery, reclining rear seatbacks and a cargo area tray. The navigation system is again optional.
Moving up to higher-end models makes the navigation system standard and also adds upgraded gauges, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker sound system, a one-touch control to fold the rear seatback and auto-close and memory functions for the power lift-gate.
Every 2014 Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive. Some trim packages feature a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (or "boxer") four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for the 2.5i and Premium, while a CVT is available.
Drivers will get more performance from the 2.0-liter turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder, delivering 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
Although the 2.5-liter engine is unchanged, the new transmissions create distinctly better fuel economy. A manual-transmission with the 2.5-liter is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. Likewise, the new CVT delivers a serious fuel economy upgrade, now allowing a 24/32/27 rating.
Every 2014 Forester includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag. A rearview camera is standard for all but the base 2.5i.
The end result for the 2014 Forester is a poised vehicle that offers more comfort, versatility and ruggedness than before and rises above its competitors.