By Cars.com EditorsMarch 19, 2013
About the video
In terms of power, fuel economy, comfort and practicality, the completely redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester can compete with the best in its class.
(upbeat rock music) Hi, I'm Dave Thomas with cars.com. This is a 2014 Subaru Forester. It's been completely redesigned this year, and it's near the top of its class in terms of power, fuel economy, standard features, and price.
But what sets it apart is it does all that with standard all-wheel drive. The styling's all new, inside and out, and so are the engines under the hood. Now, the one we have here is called an XT, so it has a more powerful engine. A turbocharged, four-cylinder, good for 250 horsepower, 258 pounds feet of torque and it is a blast to drive. I took it over dozens of miles of unpaved roads, and I felt like a rally driver. But about one in 10 Subaru Forester buyers are gonna opt for this engine. The rest of you get something much different. Sorry, the rest of you are gonna get a much more sedate, non-turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, good for 170 horsepower, which is right behind the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. But it does have 174 pounds feet of torque, which beats the other two in terms of power. On the road, that base engine has plenty of passing power, but it's no rally fighter. And when you hammer down the gas, the CVT transmission is really loud. Otherwise, though, the Forester is surprisingly quiet. Subarus have a tradition of being well, really loud. And I know, I've owned two of them. But Subaru says this is the quietest vehicle they've ever made. Mileage is rated at 24 MPG in the city, 32 MPG on the highway, and 27 MPG combined for this base engine. Might not sound impressive, but the combined rating actually tops the CR-V and RAV4, Ford's Escape, and the Chevy Equinox. And that's the front-wheel drive models of those cars. The Forester, remember, comes standard with all-wheel drive. Interior is laid out pretty simply. I'd say the materials themselves are a step behind the competition these days, but it is utilitarian. There are tons of cubbies and cup holders everywhere. The front seats sit you in a pretty upright manner, like you're driving a truck or a bus, and that's different versus the Subaru Outback's more car-like seating position. But it's still comfortable to drive over long distances. Backseat room has only grown by a fraction, but Subaru redesigned the placement of all the seats so it'd feel more spacious. As you can see, I have plenty of room here with the driver's seat exactly where I'd have it if I was driving. So adults can fit with plenty of room and kids in car seats, too. Cargo room is rated at 34.4 cubic feet, which is a step behind the CR-V and RAV4, but obviously, plenty of room for a trip to Costco or the grocery store. Fold the rear seats down and you get 73.4 cubic feet, which beats the CR-V, the RAV4, and the rest of the class. While all the changes keep the Forester competitive in the class, it's the price will be really attractive to shoppers. At just under $24,000, you get the base engine, CVT transmission, and standard all-wheel drive. That's nearly an identical price to the CR-V and RAV4 with standard front-wheel drive. To combine that price with impressive mileage, and Subaru's really taking the sting out of getting an all-wheel drive vehicle. (upbeat music) (engine revving)