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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

#27

out of 31

Fuel Economy

#16

out of 32

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 115 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Things they do not tell you

By on Wednesday, September 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "handles well, comfortable"

Cons: "Oil usage problems, gas mileage around town poor"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I have the 6 speed manual transmission. This car has used oil since it was an "infant". I had the low oil light come on at 3000 miles. and many times since then. I now have 29,000 miles on it. I have to check the oil and add a quart every 2500 miles or so. (Between changes) The Hwy mileage is excellent. I get better than the 29 they claim. I was up to 36MPG at one point on the open road. The around town is not the 22MPG they claim. More like 18 or 19. The more you drive in lower gears the more gas is used. A plus - it uses regular gas. A negative - it uses 0-20W synthetic oil. Not cheap. The manual says change oil every 7K miles. Then the dealer tells you change it every 5K. Subaru Head Office says their engineers state that using a qt of oil every 1200 miles is acceptable. Read the Consumer Reports article. This is not acceptable. There are 2 class action suits against Subaru because of this problem. This is the ONLY problem I have with this car. It handles beautifully. It rides comfortably. It is roomy. If you do not mind having a POSSIBLE oil problem then by all means buy it. My niece has an automatic and does not have an oil problem but others with an automatic have reported this problem. If Subaru corrected this problem I would buy another in a heartbeat because I like everything else about the car."

Great compromise vehicle for various uses

By on Monday, August 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "acceleration (turbo), visibility, cargo room"

Cons: "factory tires could be beefier"

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

"We bought a 2015 Forester XT last Thanksgiving. We recently retired and the plan is for this to be our only vehicle when the lease for my 4Runner expires next year. The Subie has been terrific so far. Acceleration is surprisingly good for this class vehicle getting to 60 in just over 6 seconds. Visibility is excellent. Driving comfort is very good. The vehicle is quiet when cruising and even with the CVT which I usually hate there is enough horsepower on tap to keep the annoying drone tolerable. In sport sharp mode the 8 presets for "gears" actually work decently both on up and down grades. Exterior looks have gotten a lot of compliments. The XT has nice looking wheels and a little nicer front end appearance. We also added optional fog lights. This vehicle is an excellent choice for those like us who will drive mostly around town but occasionally load bikes and take rougher roads for camping or biking. The stock tires don't appear to be well designed for winter or rough road driving so we'll upgrade those eventually to something beefier. We are getting about 26mpg and around town we use 87 octane which works just fine."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Worst new car I ever bought, vibrating idle..

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: awful idle

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
3/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Cornering, hugs the road, acceleration for 4 cyc"

Cons: "vibrations at idle, bluetooth unfriendly"

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

"Worst new car I ever bought. Evident vibrations at idle. Brought to service 4 times including a different location. All said it was normal. In the old days they would have adjusted the idle, cleaned the carburator and or fuel pump. Couldn't wait to trade in after 1 year. When I was at speed it was fine, but at idle very uncomforting to feel and I mean FEEL the vibrations, especially when the A/C was on.."

4 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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