Our region’s recent blast of snow measures the true depth of a car’s traction capability in winter.
Vehicles with all-wheel drive (AWD) have an advantage with twice the grip as their front- or rear-drive counterparts.
Japanese automaker Subaru leads the initiative by building AWD into its vehicles as standard equipment. The sole exception is the Subaru BRZ sports coupe with rear-drive only.
Tracking true to the brand’s full-time AWD doctrine is the 2014 Subaru Forester compact crossover with ground clearance gauged at 8.7 inches.
The 2014 Subaru Forester lineup comes powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower for Forester XT Premium and Touring models or a 2.5L four-cylinder that builds 170 hp in the base Forester 2.5i, Limited and Touring trim levels.
Fuel economy for the 2.5L engine yields 24 miles per gallon/city and 32 mpg/highway. The 2.0L checks in with 23/28 mpg, respectively.
Both engines are available with a continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission. Only the base Forester 2.5i comes with a six-speed manual gearbox.
“Over the years, the 2.5-liter has proven itself to be the tried and true engine for Subaru. It’s a ‘bullet-proof’ motor that just runs and lasts forever,” says Mark Sattler, Internet sales manager for Nielsen Subaru in Portage.
According to Sattler, Forester’s buyer demographic has expanded over the years with a broader mass of owners covering the age spectrum from young families to retirees. “Buyer demand is exceeding the supply. Customers are purchasing the 2014 Subaru Forester sight unseen.”
I tested the 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring and drove away impressed with its capability and cabin improvements made over last year’s model.
Forester’s dashboard design is simple and uncluttered with less plastic trim and noticeably more soft touch surfaces than its predecessor. Instrument switch gear is large and easy to manipulate while wearing gloves. Gauges are straight forward and easy to read.
A new digital screen and standard backup camera aids the field of vision when in reverse.
Cloth seats clad the base 2.5i model. Leather upholstery with heated front seats is standard on Forester 2.5i Touring.
Though belted for three passengers, Forester’s rear seat comfortably suits two adult riders with plentiful legroom.
Folding the rear seat-back down generates 74.7 cubic feet of cargo space on a semi-flat load floor.
However, Forester Touring’s standard panoramic moonroof hinders that capacity by housing nearly three cubic-feet of upper space across the headliner.
Ride quality is very comfortable with nimble steering that adjusts well to any speed with little driver input. Forester’s tracking at highway speed is excellent for long distance travel.
The 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i with manual transmission starts at $22,820 including freight. Add $1,000 for CVT. Limited and Touring models are priced at $28,820 and $30,820, respectively.
Subaru Forester XT Premium costs $28,820 followed by XT Touring for $33,820.