Since its debut some eighteen months ago, the redesigned Forester has been the little engine that could, powering Subaru sales to new heights despite the general collapse in auto sales, caused first by the $4-a-gallon gas panic and then Wall Street's wrecking of the economy.
The new Forester possesses essentially the same virtues as its predecessors: compact overall size, good fuel economy, a useful cargo hold, and all-weather capability with standard all-wheel drive.
The styling is really the biggest change, as the Forest has shed its unique if somewhat dorky proportions in favor of a blandly handsome new suit of sheetmetal. Apparently, bland handsomeness is something lots of people are OK with-as a glance at a TV newcast would confirm.
The new body also opened up rear-seat room, which probably doesn't hurt either. We do miss the ultra-low cowl of the old car, but outward visibility is still far better than the norm-sit in a Honda CR-V or a Nissan Rogue and you'll see what we mean.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor