2014 Subaru Forester Turbo XT – Autoweek – Ruge’s Subaru

14 May


2014 Subaru Forester drive review gallery

The turbocharged 2.0-liter H4 makes 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

By:  on 5/08/2013

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I’ve always liked Subaru vehicles. Had a yellow GL wagon in college and loved that car. I put a couple hundred thousand mostly trouble-free miles on it. I remember driving it to Seattle pulling a smallish boat trailer. Took it camping, back and forth to school, etc. I basically drove it until the body rusted off the poor thing.

This 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring is a terrific all-around car. It’s got plenty of power, a ton of room inside (Foresters are getting big!) and all-weather grip. For a winter beater so you can park the Porsche 911, it’s about perfect. The flexibility is off-the-charts high.

That said, I’d keep the heated seats but would absolutely ditch the active cruise control, and if possible the top-mounted center screen. Active cruise annoys me no end — I’m on record many times about that. And this center screen and its information and the various menus are so unneeded. I could probably whack that sticker price down a bit by eliminating a lot of that stuff. It looks like if one went for the Premium rather than the Touring you could hack it by about $5,000 and come away with a more pleasant car, or at least a less-complicated one. The interior materials are improved dramatically — the hard cheap plastics are gone.

Other than the active cruise and fiddly buttons, I enjoyed my time in the car a bunch. It rides rather softly and there’s some body roll, but recalling previous Forester drives, I expected that. No surprises in the ride/handling mix. There’s good power here — better than I thought there’d be — and the power is relatively even for a turbo. It feels best above 3,000 rpm. It even feels decently mated to the CVT. There are different modes you can dial up — normal, sport and what Subaru calls sport sharp. As one cycles through the throttle response quickens and sports sharp makes it even quicker. They were fun to mess with to see how the car’s character changes in each mode.

I’d go for the turbo for sure if I was shopping a Forester.

Overall, a nice, enjoyable wagon that’s practical in the extreme.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR SHERRICE GILSBACH: The Forester is a great flexible ride that offers interior space, powerful acceleration, AWD capability and rugged good looks. This Touring model was also loaded with technology that was effective, at least to the extent I used it, but a tad outdated-looking.

I like the exterior of this Forester, especially the front end. It seems more chiseled, which adds character to a car that is typically understated. Larger headlights also clean up the face of this car and contribute to an overall sturdy appearance.

Inside, the first thing I noticed was the leather seating. It looked well-made and comfy. I have long been a fan of Subaru save one feature: horribly uncomfortable seating. After driving around in this one all weekend, I have no complaints. And, if you want leather but not the premium price of the top trim level, you can get leather in the 2.5i Limited that starts out around $28,000.

Another interior perk is how bright the cabin is. Large windows provide the open and airy feel as well as good visibility all the way around the car.

Beyond seating and windows, nothing else appealed to me visually in the car. The technologies housed in the center stack included two small screens. One was used for the navigation and satellite radio and the other charted out your fuel economy and provided average fuel consumption. The screens provided were pretty small and looked outdated to me, but everything worked and the navi/radio portion worked with knobs or as a touchscreen that was effective.

Subaru’s eyesight technology can take you by surprise. I did not have the experience of the car stopping for me, but I did get the, “car ahead of you had moved,” message. I didn’t feel overly monitored by this particular nanny because it was helpful. When the car comes to a complete stop, either at a light or in rush-hour traffic, I take these pauses as opportunities to change the radio station, test out technology or read texts that have come through. The text alert accompanied by the audible chime was a good call to attention.

On grocery day, the cargo area of the Forester easily swallowed a week’s worth of grub. A plastic cargo-floor insert assured that any spills from groceries, backpacks or snow-covered kid gear would not ruin cloth or carpeting.

On the road the Forester offers strong acceleration even without moving into sport mode. The CVT never bothered me, although with it I would expect the Forester to get better fuel economy. Throughout the weekend of running errands about town, I averaged 18 mpg.

What competes with the Forester? Vehicles in this class with turbocharged engines and CVTs are rare, but AWD crossovers are not. There is a turbocharged Hyundai Santa Fe Sport that offers similar features with a softer interior and the latest Toyota RAV4 boasts more cargo and passenger volume than the Subaru, albeit with less horsepower, at lower price.

2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring

Base Price: $33,820

As-Tested Price: $36,220

Drivetrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged H4; AWD, continuously variable transmission

Output: 250 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,622 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway/Combined): 23/28/25 mpg

AW Observed Fuel Economy: 22.9 mpg

Options: Keyless access and start, EyeSight, HID headlights ($2,400)

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130508/carreviews/130509947#ixzz2THNyHeok
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