Review: 2006 Subaru Forester


Subaru sets an example we'd welcome as an industry trend: powertrain performance increases for 2006 coupled with favorable fuel economy. The normally aspirated Forester is EPA-rated at 22 mpg in the city, 29 in the highway--not bad for a vehicle with permanent all-wheel drive. The turbocharged model consumes 19 mpg in town and 25 mpg on the Interstate, incrementally better than the previous year. When factoring the ownership costs, it's important to note that premium fuel is recommended for the turbo engine. The Forester is protected with a traditional three-year/36,000-mile warranty, supplemented by a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

More carlike than other small sport/utilities but every bit as commodious and capable, the freshened Subaru Forester remains a jewel in a competitive segment.

What's Hot

  • Powerful, fuel-efficient engines
  • Standard all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes
  • Carlike manners; SUV-like utility, capability

    What's Not

  • Stability control not available
  • Thirsty turbo drinks premium fuel
  • Sportier base engine sound not for everyone

    In addition to significant modifications to the standard 2.5-liter normally aspirated engine and optional turbocharged version, yielding better drivability and improved power, the Forester sports restyled front and rear ends; revised suspension tuning and slightly augmented ground clearance; a standard theft-deterrent system; and a host of interior enhancements, including a new multifunction center console, cargo-compartment utility bars and hooks, a rear-seat armrest, and a longer bottom cushion on the rear seat for improved thigh support.

    Aside from a multitude of dealer accessories, including racks for all manner of outdoor gear, the Forester offers few la carte options. The 2.5X Premium Package adds such goodies as the large moonroof to the base model, the L.L. Bean Edition ups the ante with such equipment as a self-leveling rear suspension, and the 2.5XT Limited adds that most desirable of options: horsepower.

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