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2014 Subaru Forester Review

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2014 Subaru Forester Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

Fully redesigned, the 2014 Subaru Forester enters its 4th generation the beneficiary of a comprehensive improvement program that makes this mainstay of the automaker's lineup an even more attractive choice in one of today's hottest segments. Available in several naturally aspirated (2.5i) and turbocharged (2.0XT ) trim grades, each with standard all-wheel drive (AWD), this compact 5-passenger SUV complements a new sense of style and refinement with numerous structural and chassis enhancements, more fuel-efficient powertrains, greater passenger/cargo space and significant new tech touches. Collectively, they help bolster the 2014 Forester's performance, safety and overall desirability in ways that should serve it well against key rivals like the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4. That's why we named the Subaru Forester one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.

You'll Like This Car If...

Building on its well-established reputation for capability, reliability, practicality and longevity, the new Forester now delivers even more comfort and convenience while offering the added benefit of standard fuel-efficient all-wheel drive – and does it at an outstanding price point.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Buyers desiring a vehicle with more expressive styling, a pillow-soft ride, the flashiest telematics/infotainment system – or anyone needing a larger 3-row SUV with greater towing capacity – will still have to look beyond the new Forester to find their ideal travel mate.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.5
  • 7.5
  • 7.0
  • 7.5
  • 8.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#24

out of 28

Fuel Economy

#16

out of 30

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.0 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Subaru Forester Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

Redesigned from the ground up, the 2014 Forester raises its practical and personable character to an even higher level, gaining a new sense of style, more space, additional refinement, better performance and improved fuel economy.

Driving the Forester
2014 Subaru Forester Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions Boasting a stronger, more rigid central structure, wider track dimensions, longer wheelbase and a retuned suspension to complement Subaru's signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the 2014 Forester deports itself most impressively...

... and predictably on or off road. New, more efficient electrically-boosted power steering provides more positive feedback while the revamped chassis does an admirable job of keeping body roll in check under hard cornering. Tauter underpinnings on 2.0XT models add extra sportiness with minimal impact on ride compliance while the tri-mode SI-Drive feature on the turbo-spec CVT allows one to better exploit the 80-horsepower advantage this engine has over the one in its naturally aspirated 2.5i sibling – an edge that helps trim the 2.0XT's 0-60 mph times from 9.3 to 6.3 seconds. The X-Mode feature on upline Forester variants provides its own kind of multi-terrain confidence boost on slick paved roads or in the dirt at speeds up to 25 mph.

LINEARTRONIC CVT TRANSMISSION
Optional on 2.5i/2.5i Premium models and standard on all other Foresters, Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable automatic (CVT) comes in two forms. While both contribute to significant fuel economy gains, the 2.0XT's uprated unit includes paddle shifters and Subaru's multi-mode (Intelligent/Sport/Sport Sharp) SI-Drive that can emulate both a 6-speed and 8-speed automatic.

X-MODE WITH HILL DESCENT CONTROL
Standard on 2.5i Limited and all higher-level Forester models, Subaru's new driver-selectable X-Mode integrates and optimizes operation of the throttle, transmission, AWD, Vehicle Dynamic Control, and Hill Descent Control systems to enhance the Forester's low-speed operational capabilities on inclines and when negotiating various low-friction surfaces.

2014 Subaru Forester Details
2014 Subaru Forester Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Impressively expanded, well-finished and well-appointed, the Forester's restyled passenger cabin is quieter and more comfortable than ever with lots more soft-touch surfaces as well as redesigned seats that offer improved support and have been repositioned to afford better sightlines. Larger, wider-opening doors ease access/egress for people and legroom in the 60/40 rear bench has been increased by a huge 3.1 inches. When cargo takes precedence, the backs now fold even flatter to stretch stow space from 34.4 to 74.7 cubic feet – a 9-percent overall increase. The larger liftgate, which is power-activated on Limited/Touring models, simplifies the loading and unloading process.

Exterior
2014 Subaru Forester photo

Still unmistakably Subaru, the Gen IV remake endows the 2014 Forester with more contemporary character. The visual recasting is most evident in 2.0XT models that feature a bolder front fascia treatment and subtle rear roof spoiler, and wrap 225/55 all-season tires around 18-inch alloy wheels where the 2.5i contingent is shod with 225/60 rubber on either 17-inch styled-steel or alloy rims. Slightly longer, wider and taller than the 2013 Forester, this latest iteration also has a more planted appearance thanks to wider track dimensions and nearly an inch more wheelbase. All models also provide an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Progressing through its model hierarchy richens the Forester's equipment mix, but even the 2.5i features a full array of power assists, air conditioning, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth, and variable wipers. The 2.5i Premium gains a rear-vision camera, an enhanced audio system and the All-Weather Package (manual only) or panoramic power moonroof (CVT only). Key gains on the 2.5i Limited model include the Lineartronic CVT, leather upholstery, reclining rear seatbacks, automatic climate control, and a power liftgate. Moving up to Touring brings electroluminescent gauges, a touch-screen navigation system, a 440-watt harman/kardon premium audio with SiriusXM Satellite Radio/Nav Traffic, dual-zone climate control, and more.

Optional Equipment

Modestly scaled, the roster of Forester extras is based on model/trim levels. The Lineartronic CVT is available on the 2.5i/2.5i Premium, while the 2.5i Premium with CVT also can be had with the All-Weather Package (standard on Foresters with the 6-speed manual transmission). Both the 2.5i Premium and Limited offer a touch-screen navigation system with 6.1-inch display, HD radio, Satellite Radio, NavTraffic, and more. Touring-level 2.5i/2.0XT models can be fitted with the Driver Assist Technology Package that adds the EyeSight System (Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking, and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning), plus Keyless Access/Start and high-intensity-discharge headlights.

Under the Hood
2014 Subaru Forester Engine photo

The 2014 Forester offers two 4-cylinder "boxer" engines. Naturally aspirated, the carryover, PZEV-clean 170-horsepower/2.5-liter can be backed by a new 6-speed manual transmission that replaces the current 5-speed or a new efficiency-boosting Lineartronic CVT automatic from the Impreza. Forester 2.0XT models get a new turbocharged, direct-injected engine derived from the flat-4 used in the Subaru BRZ. Here, it develops 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, way up from the 225/226 output figures in the 2.5-liter turbo used in the 2013 Forester. The sole transmission for the turbocharged engine is a new High-Torque Lineartronic CVT with multi-mode SI-Drive that can emulate six or eight virtual gear ratios. All versions of the 2014 Forester boast significant fuel-economy gains over 2013 models and have a 1,500-pound tow rating.

2.5-liter horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter horizontally-opposed turbocharged 4-cylinder
250 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg

On sale in March, the 2014 Subaru Forester has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $23,000 for an entry-level 2.5i variant with a top-line naturally-aspirated 2.5i Touring model opening just over $30,800. The turbocharged side of the family sees the Forester 2.0XT Premium starting around $28,900 and the range-topping 2.0XT Touring commencing closer to $33,900. Adding the EyeSight + Keyless Access & Start Package to either Forester Touring variant raises its sticker by $2,400. All of those figures reflect significant advantages compared to most of the Forester's primary segment competitors – in some cases, undercutting even comparably equipped front-drive versions of those rivals. While Kelley Blue Book has not yet issued residual value ratings for the 2014 Forester, this Subaru SUV has historically ranked at or near the top of its category and there's no reason to expect the new and improved version won't continue to carry on that tradition.

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2014 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 112 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Great car but uses oil -a lot of oil DON"T BUY!

By on Monday, July 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Good quality and great gas mileage."

Cons: "Bad engine."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This is my second Subaru and I did not hesitate to buy another, now I regret it. After two oil changes in 5,000 miles it started using oil at a rate of MORE than a quart every 1,000 miles. Currently having a oil consumption test but noted the dealer over filled the car by a 1/4 quart when I got home."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Unbalanced dimensions

By on Friday, July 17, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: poor handling

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "AWD, giant sunroof, good mileage for it's size"

Cons: "Turns, stiff suspension"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I purchased this car because an AWD and something that could haul my junk. I don't have kids, so the Forester seemed the right size for me. I liked the interior, and overall it's a reliable car. However, the AWD causes a stiff suspension. I felt every bump in the road, to the point that at time it felt like I was bobbing up and down in my seat. Additionally, the car is either too tall, too narrow, or both. Going around moderate turns, even merging on to the highway, this car had a very noticeable tilt even at moderate speeds. It really limited how fun the car was to drive I decided I didn't need the extra space (though I sort of regret that now) and switched to an Impreza sedan. Sort of regret that now as well, and on the whole I'm a little disappointed with the Subaru brand. Other than the standard AWD, I don't think their line up really competes with Honda or Toyota on features and fun to drive."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Nearly Perfect, checks off nearly all the boxez

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Visiabily, Eye Sight, Fit, Finish, Comfort, Stereo"

Cons: "Bluetooth connectivity"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Now We are a Subaru Family

"Owned my 2014 Forester Limited 2.5 since April 2013. Had a Volkswagon Tiguan with a turbo charger. Thought I would miss the turbo charger, but the Subaru has plenty of power, without having to use premium gas all the time. Geting 26-28 mpg running around town - 30-31 mpg on the highway. Love the sunroof, like a convertable. Only thing that is lacking is the bluetooth capability. Not easy to connect, connection quality is poor - especially on highway. The other thing is my wife's 2013 Outback Limited's garage remote works all the time, without the key. The Forester has to be running or in auxilary mode to work."

16 people out of 30 found this review helpful

Now We are a Subaru Family

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