By KBB.com Editors
When the SUV craze took off in the mid nineties, the company which built its reputation on the all-wheel-drive category found itself without an entry. Subaru didn't take long to remedy this problem, giving birth to its first SUV: The Forester. Based on the Impreza platform, the Forester is basically a very tall wagon with some added ground clearance. As such, it retains all of the safety and stability features found in Subaru cars, but offers headroom and cargo space exceeding the popular Legacy and Outback wagons. Chock-full of options and with a choice of a normally-aspirated or turbocharged engine, the Forester serves up a bit more spice than either the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and for not much more cash.
If performance is a prime selling point, Subaru claims that a manual-shift 2.5 XT Limited can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, which is rather swift for a compact SUV.
Because the Forester delivers a choppier ride than some rivals, it might not appeal to those who favor an always-gentle road experience. Refinement is roughly on par with the competitive Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, but it falls short of Honda's CR-V.
No major changes for 2007.
Driving Impressions Especially with the newly-tweaked turbocharged engine, Foresters are eager and frisky performers with just a touch of satisfying crudeness. Acceleration is especially snappy with the manual gearbox, which instills a...more youthful nature. Considerably snugger inside than Subaru's new B9 Tribeca, the Forester yields ample headroom in both front and rear.
Manual-shift models are equipped with a Hill Hold feature that helps keep the Forester from rolling backward when starting on an upgrade.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
That's what Subaru calls it but, in fact, two distinct systems are offered. Manual-shift Foresters get Continuous All-Wheel Drive with a 50/50 front/rear torque split, while those with an automatic transmission are equipped with Active All-Wheel Drive, which incorporates a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch and direct power to the wheels that need traction most, in response to changing conditions.
Stepping inside, which is easy to do, the Forester's interior appearance is familiar, but modifications have increased its utility and comfort. A multi-functional center console features a sliding armrest, while, in the cargo area, floor bars are accompanied by four utility hooks. A passenger seatback net storage pocket has been installed in the 2.5 X, which also offers front and rear cup holders and a rear-seat folding armrest. Nearly two inches of thigh support have been added to the rear-seat cushion and the standard retractable cargo cover is high enough to accommodate tall items.Exterior
Fresh from a makeover in 2006, the Forester's appearance has changed a bit to bring it a "more unified, sophisticated, and more modern form," according to Subaru. Smooth side cladding and more curvaceous rear glass produce a clean look. Last year's makeover included increasing the ground clearance to eight inches. The Forester sports a familiar front fascia, grille, four-lamp headlight cluster, bumper and fenders, and outside mirrors are bigger with integrated turn signals available. The heavy-duty four-wheel independent suspension has been retuned for enhanced performance.
All Foresters with the naturally-aspirated engine are called 2.5 X, and include head/chest side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, an AM/FM/Weather-band stereo with CD player and remote keyless entry. In the 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition the durable finish on the floor and seatback is extended to the cargo area side walls, and also included are desert beige leather-trimmed upholstery with perforated Alcantara bolsters, a security system with shock sensor and a Momo wood/leather steering wheel. The 2.5 XT Limited, the sole turbocharged model, includes a premium package with leather-trimmed upholstery and sporty electroluminescent gauge pointers.
Subaru's premium package, available on the 2.5 X only, adds rear disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, eight-spoke alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, panoramic glass moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a six-CD changer.
Subaru's 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed (boxer configuration) four-cylinder engine is in naturally-aspirated form for 2.5 X models and turbocharged for the 2.5 XT Limited. Manual-transmission models have Continuous All-Wheel Drive, while those with a four-speed automatic transmission have Active All-Wheel Drive, which includes a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch.
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 23/28 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 21/26 (automatic)
By Ryan on Thursday, October 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, sporty and fun to drive"
Cons: "little leg room in the back"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is by far the best multiple use car available on the market! Durable yet comfortable for the whole family to go on a road trip. The famous AWD on my Subie has saved me many times with the snow in our area."
By Avid Hiker on Sunday, September 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles well, looks good in the parking lot."
Cons: "Very Expensive to maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have driven many types of cars over the years and this is by far the most expensive to maintain. The recommended routine maintenance for the 60K milestone is more than I've spent on my Camry in years (it has 130K on it)."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Betzie on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable; cost efficient"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have had car 9 years this October. Have always done required routine maintenance, had oil changed and tires rotated regularly. Never any major work required... just what one would expect ... replaced battery once. Bought new tires due to a nail in a tire. It's been a really good vehicle."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Maggie on Monday, August 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Spacious and comfy!"
Cons: "Not the fastest pick-up but good for a 4-cylinder."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"So I'm a mom of two and this car works great for us. Strollers, bikes, luggage all fits. Spacious enough that I'm not worried about anyone being crammed anywhere. I like a little bit faster pick-up in a car but it's probably better this way ;) Overall I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a moderate, low-profile car."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By steve on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great to drive"
Cons: "don't like the security system to sensitive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is our first subie and it is the best car we have ever owned. It drives smooth and handles well.Plenty of space for the family and cargo.Can't wait to drive in snow. Rock on Forester"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By My mountain goat on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Never says never. Great in snow, sure footed in rain and bad weather. Always looks small to me when I see other Foresters of same vintage on the road but has amazing carrying capacity. Like a clown car! Great engineering. The car has never let me down. Wish it were zippier...than again...wish I were driving a Porche SUV."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful