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