Here's a vehicle that really lost its appeal with a redesign. The last-generation Forester was pretty funky, but it was unique and stood out in the crossover/tall wagon world. This Forester couldn't be more generic and the test car's silver paint makes that even worse. The non-turbo engine and automatic transmission (a manual transmission is available, but not with the turbo engine) is also the least appealing combination. The Forester does offer all-wheel drive and lots of utility, but an EPA rating of 22 mpg combined seems like a death sentence for a vehicle this underpowered.
Inside, the Forester is about on a par with a base Impreza, which is to say pretty basic. I didn't find the interior to be too cheap or uncomfortable, but it's just as uninspired as the exterior of the vehicle. This passes for basic transportation, but that's about it.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor