I haven't spent much time in the new Forester, having driven it just once - straight home from work and then right back the next morning. Perhaps the most memorable thing about the Forester is that it didn't really create much of an impression. Which is to say, it is a perfectly nice crossover/SUV - comfortable and smooth, with a reasonable amount of cargo space and good lines of sight from the relatively high seating position. The dash layout is clean and well-executed, and the exterior design is pleasant if not eye-catching. It's true, as others have said, that the Forester doesn't spark your enthusiasm. But I don't really see that as a problem for Subaru (the WRX and the STI cater to those customers who are looking for a little driving excitement). Forester loyalists drive this vehicle for its all-weather, all-terrain capability, its cargo-carrying capacity, and its reliability. I have some neighbors who love their two previous-generation Foresters, and it's not because the vehicles are "fun to drive." My neighbors love their Foresters because they're avid gardeners, and they can go to the nursery and carry home a full load of perennials and bags of dirt. They don't have to worry about getting stuck when the snow falls, because they know they can depend on the Forester's four-wheel-drive system to navigate unplowed streets. The new Forester may not appeal to enthusiasts, but it has one enduring trait that Subarus have had for several decades: it is practical. So, we can criticize Subaru for not making the Forester "enthusiast-friendly," or we can applaud them for catering to those customers who buy their vehicles because they're practical and predictable.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor