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2014 Subaru Forester

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2014 Subaru Forester 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.

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

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
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

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

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2014 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 137 Ratings for the 2014 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    8.0/10

Comfy affordable small SUV for bad roads

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value, capable, comfy, easiest entry/exit"

Cons: "iPhone w/Google Maps app better than factory nav."

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

15 years apart but nothing has changed that would dissuade my faith in the Subaru ethos.

"I spend a lot of time on our extremely neglected south Louisiana roads for ministry and making visits to friends and family. I needed the cargo and the capability of an SUV but wanted something a bit smaller if it meant better mpg. First off, on the need for an SUV down south, I truly believe that automakers should be making cars that are more adapted to endure the poorly maintained asphalt roads that get worse with every rainfall. I became a Subaru lover when I decided that the sport-tuned suspension of a 2014 Ford Fusion was too delicate for our pothole-racked eroded roads and replaced it with a 1999 Subaru Forester S. That may sound like quite a regression but the build quality was far superior to the Fusion, despite the Forester being 15 years older. I simply could not see that Ford Fusion holding up as well after 15 years of driving on these roads. The first generation Forester felt like a tank from the very first test drive and I knew that thing could take the punishment of my schedule and routes. Fast forward, I handed over my beloved 99 Forester to a family member who needed wheels and it is still running very well only needing required maintenance and in my opinion looks just as handsome if not more so than the current generation Forester. I needed a vehicle to replace it and I went immediately to a local Subaru dealership for a newer/used 2015 Forester Premium with the 2.5 but found it too expensive at the time. So I wound up settling on a brand new 2015 Toyota R.A.V.4 nearby for thousands cheaper...but unfortunately so was the quality. The R.A.V.4 is not too bad in most respects, outstanding cargo capacity actually, but it is a crossover that is way more like a car than an SUV with all too low ground clearance at 6.3 inches. (To put that into perspective the 2015 Camry has 6.1 inches of ground clearance...! Inches make a difference in flood country) The R.A.V.4 does handle curves and speeds sufficiently, kinda like a car, but please don't make the mistake of thinking that it is built tough "because it's like an SUV". The absolute WORST part about the R.A.V.4 hands down is the ride, the rear suspension especially. In 2 months or less all of that new car tightness faded considerably and every bump I thought was being soaked up came through into the cabin with a vengeance. You can search for "rough", "harsh" and even "bone-jarring" regarding the 2013-15 R.A.V.4's ride and you will find consumers who agree. In January of 2016, after suffering 3 months with the brutal ride of the R.A.V.4, I was tired of being deceived by the crossover mentality that led Toyota to design such a poor suspension and brand it "compact SUV". So I decided to test drive my first love again and tried out a used 2015 Subaru Outback that again was a little out of my price range but is definitely the most comfortable all wheel drive wagon/SUV vehicle I have ever driven. The 2015 Outback has an unbelievable capacity to soak up bad roads and irregular pavements and expansion joints, and the big American-comfortable driver's seat with power lumbar is designed very very well. 18.5 gallon gas tank with great mpg with the continual variable transmission means you can reach a far off destination without stopping often for gas. The new Outback is so worth a test drive, but for my budget and the fact that it has a shorter interior cargo height (I like to haul my bike standing up inside) I decided to try the new Forester again. I found a used 2014 2.0 turbo touring edition with black leather and I can tell you that despite the short wheelbase and the fact that I can hear the bumps come into the cabin I feel NONE of them. The back and bum do not feel dragged across the pavement as they do with the R.A.V.4. The Forester's visibility, comfort (esp. w/leather), full time all wheel drive capability, fantastic ground clearance of 8.7 inches, a very decent average mixed city/hwy mileage of 28 mpg (even with the 250 HP turbo engine) all come together to make for a lot of value for the money. I hope to post an update after clocking some more miles. I highly recommend a used 2014+ turbo Forester if you're looking for a comfortable small SUV worthy of the class that is truly capable and that will give you the most for an investment in the $25,000 range. P.S. Please do your research on oil consumption issues with some new Outbacks and Foresters and you will find that the 2.0 Direct Injection Turbo engine in the Forester is not suffering with the oil consumption problem. Personally I would avoid the 2.5 engine and enjoy the extra power and decent mpg of the 2.0."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

15 years apart but nothing has changed that would dissuade my faith in the Subaru ethos.

Poor ride and infotainment system!

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Economy, visibility, room, performance."

Cons: "Extremely poor ride, poor infotainment system"

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

"My 2014 Forester has a number of great features. I love the great visibility, impressive economy, and responsiveness of the CVT. As usual for a Subaru, the traction in snow is excellent, a necessary feature in Denver where street plowing is marginal. The car is roomy for its exterior dimensions, and I find the seats quite comfortable. The car seems well made and was a good value for me. However, all this great stuff is ruined by the incredibly stiff ride of the car. This is a big problem in Denver where years of poor street maintenance present challenges to any vehicle. These challenges simply overwhelm the Forester. which pitches, lurches and thuds constantly. My poor wife has had two major back operations since we bought this car, and she is constantly in pain when she rides in it. Adjusting the tire inflation is no help, and no one at Subaru seems to know how to re-engineer the shocks/suspension to soften the ride. Another major annoyance is the primitive and often dysfunctional infotainment system, which does not communicate well with my iPhone6. Thus I cannot reliably receive or make phone calls using the system, and playing music from my iPhone often crashes it, requiring a cold-restart (i.e. turning off the car). This is our 7th Subaru, but my experience has been so disappointing that it may be our last..."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great AWD SUV

By on Thursday, January 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lots of room, Power and trim level"

Cons: "Locks do not auto lock when you put into drive mod"

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

"This SUV has everything I need and The limited Trim is a great value over the higher priced Trims. Leather Seats are comfortable and There is so much space. I get 26-28 Mpg with mixed driving. Best Part is I enjoy taking my Subie everywhere and noticing that there are not so many out there. Only issue is locks do not automatically lock when you put into drive."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

a disapointment in more ways than one

By on Friday, January 08, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,700

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "more roomy than a Nissan Juke"

Cons: "too numerous to list. See main writeup."

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

"Pros: roomy interior, good visibility, good brakes, adequate hwy acceleration, fuel economy meets epa estimates. CVT transmission works smoothly and quietly so far. Cons: Found out about the ongoing oil consumption problem when the salesman warned us after buying the car. With this information I was then able to specifically search for Subaru oil consumption issues...lots of people having problems. For some owners the oil consumption did not start until 20k-almost 40k miles. Not good. I'm watching the oil level closely. If a problem starts then this Forster will be down the road..deforested. The heater system is the coldest of any car we have ever owned. in summary my wife says it is a cold car, whereas her Toyota Highlander will cook you out of the car in a few miles. The dealership checked the heat system and said it is ok, but the temp and volume of airflow is truly lacking, thus takes a long engine warm up on cold days 10 degF or colder. Therefore so much for the partial zero emissions. The heater controls are very difficult to read, chrome knobs with a small square marker to identify what the setting is. The seats are stiff and take getting used to. The car has 70 series (wide) tires and skids easily on hardpack or icy roads. The Forester also gets stuck easily...6 inches of wind-drift in the driveway and have to resort to moving back and forth...whereas the Highlander (2002) works thru it with ease. Moving the Forster forward thru deeper snow, but not up to the belly of the car, the car starts to hop and shudder..the car barely keeps moving. The Highlander goes thru the same untracked snow with no problem. The car has a large windshield, no across the top window tint, and small sun visors that dont reach to the rear view mirror nor do they step up and over the mirror...thus on winter days with the sun at a low angle to the horizon, it shines in between the mirror and sun visor...no way to block it. When driving 800 miles to visit family at Christmas that became alot of sun in your eyes for hours on end. In summary, back in the 1960's the motto was owning a vehicle required putting up with a certain amount of hassle...I did not expect this with a 2016 vehicle. The on-going oil consumption problem, the poor heater, the poor winter traction all combine to reach a poor review."

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great crossover, should have bought the turbo.

By on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Space, Versatility, Off-road,"

Cons: "Non-turbo is slow, body durability and design"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This vehicle has already been put through several road-worthy tests, and passed most of them. I regret two things; not getting a turbo and not driving it at highway speeds with the sun roof open during the test drive. The pick up in the non-turbo version is good, but not as good as it could be. Do yourself the favor and spring for the turbo. The sunroof make a ton of noise at speeds over 45mph. More than any sunroof I've ever had combined. The pros: While many jeeps and larger vehicles with AWD were stuck in the sand on a beach the Subaru Forester passed every single one of them with ease. Swamp? No problem. Overgrown field? No problem. Haven't had a chance to drive it in the snow yet, I'm sure it will pass that test with flying colors too. Toddlers? Yep, passed that test too. Not a single thing that has been spilled in my car has stayed there with minimal clean up effort required. For a family of 3-4, this is a perfectly sized vehicle for road trips and has the highest safety rating in it's class. The only other issue that I have is the design of the rear bumper. It is one painted piece that wraps around, if it snags and the bottom clips break bending the bumper you have to replace the whole thing. $500. Rear ended? $500. Shopping cart accident? $500. In my opinion it's poor design to market a vehicle with off-road capability that is so fragile in regards to the body itself."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great car for small family

By on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,650

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value, fun to drive, comfortable, good mpg."

Cons: "Air conditioner at high speeds is noisy."

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

"The 2015 Subaru Forester is a quality car, inside and out. Great acceleration, handles well, wonderful safety features like Eyesight(r) technology, adaptive cruise control, most visibility of any car I've driven. It has a great backup camera, good navigation system and great hands free bluetooth /satellite radio. Heated seats are comfortable. MPG 32 Hwy / 23 City / 27.5 Average All in all, a solid "9..." it would be a "10" if the air conditioner were quieter at high speed and if the cargo area was a tad bit larger."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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