2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X

I completely agree with Floraday on this one. I was a fan of the last-generation Forester, especially in wicked-quick XT form, where a detuned version of the STI's turbo flat four lived under the hood. It was fast, it was weird, it looked like a shopping cart, and it heeled over in corners like a half-toppled moose. This one just seems anodyne, as if a product planner asked Joe Ordinary to sketch out his idea of what a small SUV looks like. Any semblance of the old Forester's personality has been lost, exchanged for the kind of mass-market blah you find in a box of generic Pop-Tarts.

Don't get me wrong; it's an entirely acceptable vehicle, but it's totally lacking in spark or verve or the kind of offbeat flair you traditionally find in a Subaru. Maybe a little more power and a manual transmission (which is standard with the base engine but no longer available with the turbo) would help, but ultimately, something is just missing.

Sam Smith, Associate Editor

New Car Research

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