2014 Subaru Forester 2.0 XT Touring
Engine: 2.0L, 4-cylinder Boxer
Power: 250 hp
Torque: 258 lb.-ft.
0-60: 6.2 seconds
Fuel Economy: 23 city/ 28 highway
Price as Tested: $32,995
Subaru has been selling the Forester in the U.S. since 1998, and, save for the second generation, the vehicle has done well adapting to consumers' demands for bigger and more versatile crossovers. That thought process has regressed a bit, with the increasing demand for more efficient compacts, and Subaru has once again copped to its audiences' needs by increasing performance, mileage, and style. The result is the company's most enticing SUV yet.
I had the opportunity to drive the turbocharged 2014 Forester 2.0XT Touring through mountainous terrain of Tucson, AZ, and as one would expect from a Subaru, it performed well. What surprised was the speed and agility of the CUV. Save for the fancy 18-inch wheels, it takes on the shroud of an industry crossover, but anybody with knowledge of the company's signature platform knows it's more than capable to handle its own against any obstacles.
The latest Subie owes its speed to the boxer engine, which is similar to the one found in the sporty Subaru BRZ. Its 6.2-second 0-60 time is legit (the base Porsche Cayenne clocks in at 7.1 seconds). The handling is above average, partially because the engine sits very low. You can feel the benefits of the low center of gravity in every curve and sharp turn. Don't get us wrong, the Forester isn't slammed like an old-school Nissan truck, the ground clearance is still one of the best in class at 8.7 inches.
On the tech side, the Touring edition is loaded. The X-Mode system is a perk that most Subie owners will like. It works in conjunction with the AWD system to aid in handling in slippery environments by controlling the throttle input, transmission and VDC sensor. There is also a hill descent option, but isn't the fun of driving a Subie seeing what your capabilities are in tough areas?
The EyeSight system that we loved in the new Outback detects lane departure and sees objects that the driver is rapidly approaching. Non-safety tech includes a rear-view camera (available in all but base), color multi-function display, power rear gate with automatic close, and Keyless Access and Start. We haven't met anybody who buys a Subaru for its beats, but if that's your thing, the Touring models come standard with a navigation system and 440W Harman/Kardon audio system, which sounded good pumping out Killer Mike and El-P's R.A.P. Music.
As mentioned, the 2014 model concentrated far more on making a smarter vehicle, not just a bigger vehicle. Subaru used higher strength steel to make smaller pillars for wider openings giving you great sight lines to see the road from the captain's chair. The lack of a hood scoop on the Turbo doesn't hurt handling, as the air intake isn't affected (even though we kind of enjoy the sportiness a scoop adds).
The fourth-gen Forester is also roomier for front and backseat passengers. The legroom is pretty good for normal-sized Americans and the headroom is good as well. There is nine percent more cargo space, and judging from huge wagon wheel and pallet of yoga mats Subaru had set up to show off the cargo areas, we're betting you could fit about anything in that donk.
The refreshed Forester once again proved that Subaru does nothing but advance its vehicles in styling, efficiency. As their popularity continues to grow, we're sure theses all-wheel-drive vehicles will continue to climb their ways into more and more people's consideration.