2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring

Patrick M Hoey

It's funny, when I break down the Forester's attributes and compare the parts to the competition, the Subaru is mediocre; however, when I look at the whole package I quite like it. The Forester is a great size -- neither too small nor too big -- with a low H-point, but a higher vantage point than a car or wagon. The 2.0-liter turbo is peppy and when put into S# (Sport Sharp) mode, the CVT acts almost like a smooth eight-speed automatic. The problems begin to mount once I stack the Forester up against its competition. The Mazda CX-5 is much more involving to drive and the Ford Escape offers more technology. And with a price tag north of $36,000, the Subaru is hardly a good value.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor


Mrs. Floraday happily drives a 2009 Subaru Forester. We use it to haul around our three dogs that range in size from 12 pounds to 100 pounds. They all fit in the hatch area, safely kept there by the Subaru dog guard divider. This ingenious device bolts into the LATCH tether points in the roof, so I actually believe it will restrain all 160 pounds of dog in the event of an accident.

Aside from the dog guard, we appreciate the car's AWD system, durable interior, and reliability. We have about 63,000 miles on the 2009 and we'll probably keep it for another 200k. The car does nothing exceptionally well, but there's nothing it's bad at, either. It's just reliable transportation that's a little more interesting than a Toyota. It strikes a nice balance between cargo capacity and a tidy footprint.

I was interested in the 2014 Forester XT because I frequently wish my wife had sprung for a turbo when she bought her car. I don't particularly care for the CVT, although it allows the turbo to get better fuel economy than our normally aspirated Forester does with a four-speed automatic. The rest of the car felt very familiar. If you're looking for a utility vehicle that can haul dogs, sporting goods, and a family, the Subaru Forester is a solid choice. The driving dynamics are nothing to write home about, but they remain consistent no matter the weather or how much stuff you've packed inside.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor


Subaru seems to have become the crossover maker for drivers who wouldn't be caught dead in a crossover. There's the Outback for those of us who would rather drive a wagon and the clumsily named XV Crosstrek for those of us who want to carry mountain bikes and dogs with a large hatchback. Oh yeah, and there's the Tribeca, for those who don't want to see themselves coming and going. I've always liked the Forester, although this new one seems larger, certainly on the inside, but also in the way it drives. Subaru has replaced its anachronistic four-speed automatic with a CVT ... no great tradeoff in my mind. Perhaps it's the seamless feel of this type of transmission that sapped any excitement from the turbo engine. I had to check the specs to make sure that big air scoop on the hood wasn't just for show; this CUV just doesn't feel very quick. There's nothing about the suspension or steering that made me want to find any limits on highway on/offramps or through roundabouts, and the ride quality and NVH seem only middling for this segment. And $36,000 seems like a lot for a crossover I've always seen as competition for the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 (although the Ford Escape is nearly as expensive). I'd skip the turbo and go with the standard engine and a manual. The interior is fine for Subarist loyalists, but does nothing to advance the cause. It's another reason why $36k seems unreasonable for this Subie. On the plus side, we were able to respond to a Craigslist ad for free, conventional-sized pallets in nearby Royal Oak. We had to make two trips for six pallets, but three per visit fit just fine.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor


The turbo engine is great, the CVT less so, but I'm not gonna argue with 250 hp. What I will argue with, though, is a sticker price of $36K for a Forester. Wow! Somehow, the Forester occupies the spot on my mental automotive spreadsheet that's marked "$22,000-$30,000." But, hey, if you're a Subaru fan and you've got the dough, you can never go wrong with a Forester.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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Jack Krubbs
Todd LassaExecutive Editor - You are a lying, disingenuous reporter if ever there was one. You have never even laid eyes on the XT, let alone driven one or "checked the specs (sic)". The most glaring part of this XT is that it HAS NO hood scoop. The fact that you followed your lie with another lie about checking the specs to MAKE SURE shows that you are unfit for any sort of "Editing", you should be fired. It follows that your comments about the CVT, NVH, and how quick it is most definitely is another fabrication. 
BoostWagon
What in the heck is this reviewer talking about?? Big Air Scoop? Doesn't feel quick?? Skip the Turbo? I can see they let anyone do reviews these days. Todd Lassa do us a favor and read this review and go look at the vehicle you just drove and tell me about that big air scoop again.
DC Rants
Todd Lassa says "I had to check the specs to make sure that big air scoop on the hood wasn't just for show; this CUV just doesn't feel very quick."  One problem...there is no hood scoop on the Forester, let alone a "big" one.  Whatever car the reviewer Todd Lassa drove (if he drove anything at all), it wasn't the 2014 Forester.  
SCOOP247
I did some research on the CVT transmission that Subaru now uses.  I was shocked to find that they do not make the CVT it is actually made by a comany named Jatco?  A quick search of Jatco gave me the impression that the CVT's are being made in China...not my favorite place to buy parts for my car.  I also noticed that the CVT's that have been giving Nissan problems are also made by none other than Jatco.  Nissan recently extended warranties on cars with the Jatco transmissions.  Good luck selling that as a used car as the info is now popping up all over the net.  The other disturbing fact with the CVT is when they break you pretty much just throw the whole thing out.   I might consider a manual transmission from Subaru as they still make them.  I just need to convince my wife to buy a car with a stick shift. 
mark2012
There go my thoughts of buying a new Forester!  The front end is ugly - as ugly as the front end of the new Lexus'
ed124c
I doubt this Forester has 225/35 tires.  I have driven a base model Forester with the CVT.  My verdict is that they should have kept the 4 speed automatic.  I thought rubber-banding of CVTs had been cured.  Nope.  The CVT was noisy, but not nearly as noisy as a 2013 CVT Outback I drove.  When the revs drop the whining noise is unbearable.  And yet, and yet, Subaru is selling more cars than it can build, and should sell 400,000 cars in the US this year.  Go figure.
Jack Krubbs
@BoostWagon  He's lying, it's as simple as that. And to make up all that crap about a car he's never even seen is a testament to the poor quality of journalism these days.
Jack Krubbs
@SCOOP247  Lineartronic is NOT made by Jatco. It is made by Subaru's parent company Fuji Heavy Industries. The metal belt is made by German engineering company Luk. Fuji Heavy cooperates with Luk closely.
Whatnow
@SCOOP247 The new Forester XT is a blast to drive, but I agree with you. I can't consider a CVT , especially one mass produced in China. In regards to Nissan, I can't contemplation why they don't source there 7 spd trans used in their Infiniti line which is produced in house and manufactured in Tennessee, and put that in the Altima and Maxima sedan's. If Subaru outsourced the trans mission with ZF and put their 8 spd in their lineup, I would buy a Legacy in a second.
RichardJoash
@mark2012 AND YOU ARE  DUMB POOP EATING BUMPKIN BECAUSE I AM BIASED WITH SUBARU!!!!!!!!!
RichardJoash
@ed124cAND YOU ARE  DUMB POOP EATING BUMPKIN BECAUSE I AM BIASED WITH SUBARU!!!!!!!!!

Jack Krubbs
@SCOOP247  Correction. Metal Chain, not Belt.
ed124c
@RichardJoash @ed124c  I HAVE OWNED MY '05 OUTBACK FOR NINE YEARS.  IT IS THE BEST AND MOST RELIABLE CAR I HAVE EVER HAD-- AND I HAVE OWNED MANY CARS OVER THE LAST 50 SOME YEARS.  THE FORESTER JUST DOESN'T MAKE IT FOR ME.  OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE A YOUNG MAN AND YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T USE WORDS LIKE THE ABOVE.  TRY TO BE MORE OF AN ADULT.

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