I think it's unfair to completely discount the Forester, as my persnickety colleagues seem to have done. I agree with Amy: I'd be willing to bet that many (most?) previous-gen Forester owners love their ride not because it drives like a tall WRX but because it is useful, spacious, 4WD, and a Subaru. The new Forester still maintains all of those desirable characteristics in a quieter and more modern-looking package.
That's not to say that I personally don't prefer the quirkier and more nimbly compact previous Forester. The spec on this particular vehicle (base, base, base with an automatic gearbox) doesn't help polish the nouveau Forester experience, either. I was especially unhappy with the flat, tipped-forward seat cushions, which I found quite uncomfortable. I do like the seats' design, though: black with blue pinstripes. That blue is nicely carried over to the IP gauges, too. Overall, I think Subaru's interior design themes work better here than in the larger Tribeca. Exterior styling - well, I'm not so keen on Subaru's generic new approach. And this Forester is no exception.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor