2014 Subaru Forester

2.5i AWD 5-Dr Sport Utility H4 man trans

2014 subaru forester Reviews and News

2014 Subaru Forester XT Front View 3
Six years is the standard life span for a new car design, but the current Subaru Forester, which went on sale in early 2008, is being ushered off stage one year early. This is despite the fact that the departing Forester has sold much better than its gawky, wagonlike predecessors and even in its last year accounted for nearly a quarter of the brand's volume. The new Forester, wisely, does little to threaten that success, instead largely building on the previous car's strengths, the better to face the fleet of big-name competitors in this ever-more-popular segment.
Current owners will instantly recognize this as a Forester. The largest dimensional change is in length, which grows by 1.4 inches. Better packaging helps make for an even roomier back seat, and Subaru engineers have made the car even more family friendly with easier ingress and egress and simpler child-seat installation.
The previous Forester offered excellent outward visibility, and -- defying widespread industry trends -- the new version is actually improved. On our drive outside of Tucson, we gazed at southern Arizona's rocky brown tableau through huge side windows. Slimmer A-pillars and a raised seat height make for a great forward view as well, and backing up is easier with a rearview camera (standard in all but the base model).
Our test route took us along miles of dirt roads, in an apparent effort by Subaru to emphasize the Forester's off-road readiness. The old Forester already had the best ground clearance in its class, but the engineers nonetheless felt compelled to enhance the car's off-road ability, although it's hard to imagine that owners were crying out for more. Higher-trim models have a new X-Mode that optimizes throttle and transmission mapping for low-speed off-road driving and (somewhat jarringly) engages the new hill-descent control on steep downslopes.
One area that was ripe for improvement was fuel economy. Subaru has finally junked the old Forester's mileage-sapping four-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, as in the Legacy, Outback, and Impreza, it was replaced with a CVT. A stick shift (now a six-speed) is still available with the standard 2.5-liter engine on base and Premium trim levels, but the vast majority of Foresters will be equipped with the automatic. Paired with the 2.5-liter -- a 170-hp unit that was introduced in the outgoing car last year -- it makes for droning acceleration. At least that acceleration is somewhat quicker, with the factory-measured 0-to-60-mph time down from 9.9 to 9.3 seconds. Moreover, fuel economy has jumped from 21/27 mpg city/highway to a top-of-the-class 24/32 mpg -- and that's with all-wheel drive, which is standard.
The turbocharged Forester XT, meanwhile, has a new 2.0-liter unit that puts out 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-liter is based on the BRZ engine and will appear next in the new Impreza WRX. The turbo comes only with the CVT, but with so much additional muscle available from only 2000 rpm, the engine spends very little time hanging at the top of the rev range, and the CVT becomes almost a nonissue.
However, if you're still bothered by the stepless gearbox, there is a fix. The XT comes with Subaru's SI-Drive, which provides three powertrain modes: i (Intelligent), s (Sport), and s# (Sport Sharp); in the last two, the transmission can convincingly imitate a six-speed or an eight-speed automatic, respectively. The addition of SI-Drive is part of Subaru's effort to make the turbo more of a comprehensive model rather than just an engine option. The XT loses its hood scoop but is now denoted by a restyled front end. It also gets unique suspension tuning and larger brakes. Even so, a couple of quick laps around a 2.2-mile road course showed that the XT is still very much a compact crossover rather than a tall-roofed WRX, as it displayed considerable body roll and understeer. The electric power steering, though, is well tuned and nicely weighted, if not quite as lively as that in a Mazda CX-5.
Electronics are elsewhere employed in a new navigation unit, which unfortunately incorporates the audio system and is a pain to use. Subaru's EyeSight system -- with adaptive cruise, precollision braking, and lane-departure warning -- is an option on Touring models only. That new top-spec model takes the Forester's price as high as $33,820, but buyers will be reassured to know that there's plenty of good value to be found toward the lower end of the spectrum, with the base 2.5i starting at $22,820. Value is an integral part of the Forester equation, along with practicality and usability. This early renewal enhances those strengths and should fortify the Forester against the buzz saw of competition.
The Specs
On sale:
Price: $22,820/$28,820 (base/XT)
Engines: 2.5L I-4, 170 hp, 174 lb-ft; 2.0L I-4 turbo, 250 hp, 258 lb-ft
Drive: 4-wheel
Fuel mileage: 24/32 mpg, 23/28 mpg (2.5, XT; est.)
2014 Subaru Forester Front Three Quarter 2
The Subaru Forester was among the leading wave of compact crossovers in the late 1990s, but it was hardly the definition of the segment. As the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V wrote the rules that would be followed by every major mainstream automaker for the coming decades, the Forester marched to its own wagon-like beat. Riding on the Impreza platform, the original Forester resembled a car more than an SUV.
Although the Forester still uses the Impreza's bones, even quirky Subaru isn't immune to outside influences, and over the years, Subaru's small wagon-y trucklet has made a slow but steady course correction toward true crossover status by injecting more SUV character. Having tasted the sweet nectar of double-digit sales gains with some of its latest products, Subaru isn't about to buck that trend. Just as the Outback steered toward the mainstream with the 2010 update, so does the fourth-generation Forester.

The longer, taller, wider Forester

It starts with a bigger body. The new Forester measures 1.3 inches taller, 1.4 inches longer, and 0.8 inch wider, while its hardy 8.7 inches of ground clearance remains unchanged. It's hardly beautiful, but the new Forester does look less bizarre and more in line with the family aesthetic. The more sculpted sheetmetal takes on a bolder, sturdier look. Interior measurements aren't significantly changed, which means that the Forester still offers generous amounts of rear-seat room and cargo space. By raising the hip point more than two inches, however, Subaru has given the driver a higher vantage point in traffic.
The normally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder carries over, with identical outputs of 170 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque. That's a bit more power and torque than Mazda's pokey CX-5, but at a claimed 9.3 seconds to 60 mph, the Subaru isn't likely to be any faster. We ran the new Forester up to 100 mph on Subaru's Japanese test track back-to-back with the old model and after we backed off the throttle and the engine note subsided, we noticed that the cabin is significantly quieter at speed.
We're happy to see the four-speed automatic go, although we're not ready to celebrate the fact that its replacement is a continuously variable transmission. Fortunately, those who can manage three pedals now have six forward gears instead of five. Those two new transmissions, along with aerodynamic improvements, help the Forester to achieve major fuel economy improvements. The automatic is expected to achieve EPA ratings of 24/32 mpg city/highway, compared to a dismal 19/24 mpg for the old model.

XT means more than turbocharged

While the turbocharged XT model isn't new, Subaru's philosophy about this particular model is. Whereas the outgoing XT was little more than a more powerful engine, in the new XT, engineers have also lavished additional attention on the chassis. The turbocharged model may have dropped its hood scoop, but it's more performance-oriented than ever before. Subaru bolted in a rear subframe brace and raised the damping rates for the XT, and it has also increased the rear spring rates and front anti-roll bar diameter relative to the outgoing car.
The engine is an all-new turbocharged version of the Subaru BRZ's FA20 engine. (Yes, Subaru does have the hardware to build a BRZ STI.) The 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed four-cylinder uses a Subaru-developed direct injection system (the BRZ uses a Toyota system that features both port and direct injection) and is good for 250 hp at 5600 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2400-4800 rpm on 93 octane fuel. On 91 octane fuel, power drops to 230 hp. Fuel economy is expected to be 23/28 mpg city/highway.
Unfortunately, the continuously variable transmission is the only choice here. Making the XT sportier and yet not offering the manual gearbox seems like a lost opportunity. It's a small consolation, but as in the 2.5i model, the XT does allow the driver to manually shift the CVT as if it has fixed gear ratios. The XT also includes a version of the SI Drive that's found on the WRX STI, only here it has nothing to do with differentials, instead altering throttle mapping and transmission behavior in its Intelligent, Sport, and Sport # (say "sport sharp") modes. In Sport #, the CVT fakes its way through eight gear ratios rather than six.
On a flat, relatively low-speed handling course, we found the Forester XT to be nearly as nimble and well controlled as the Mazda CX-5, with steering that's among the best in the class. While our proving ground drive route offered little insight into the ride quality of the new Forester, we suspect it will err toward the firm side rather than the soft.
For those who dare to take their Forester off-road, Subaru has fortified the XT's all-wheel-drive system with X-Mode, a software set that optimizes the powertrain and traction control systems. X-Mode holds lower gear ratios, activates hill descent control, deactivates the transmission's lock-up clutch, and puts traction control on high alert. Subaru allowed us to drive through a demonstration in which the car was stopped on an incline with the front and rear left wheels standing on rollers to mimic a surface with zero traction. As we pulled away, the brakes clamped on the slipping wheels with authority, quickly sending power to the wheels with traction and effortlessly pulling us out of this artificially slippery slope. A Toyota RAV4 and a Hyundai Tucson struggled and sometimes failed to accelerate out of this same situation. Although we don't put too much stock in manufactured tests like these, it does say something about the tuning of the traction control. While likely only useful to Subaru's customers who deal with the harshest winter conditions, the Forester might have an advantage on very slick pavement.

Electronics, good and bad

The Forester will be available with EyeSight, which uses two cameras mounted in front of the rearview mirror to perform lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. As both a safety and convenience feature, it is an excellent example of our 2013 Technology of the Year.
We're less excited about the navigation system, which debuted on the BRZ and now features Aha Radio app integration. Subaru, which arguably had one of the worst navigation systems in the business with its outgoing system, has come up with an even worse head unit. The resolution is poor, the information is difficult to read, and the buttons on the touchscreen are small and often unresponsive.

Don't miss the Forester for the trees

The 2014 Subaru Forester moves towards the mainstream without abandoning its best traits. It might come in a slightly larger package with more conventional looks, but the Forester still delivers standard all-wheel-drive, practical packaging, and -- if our prototype drive is any indication -- promising driving dynamics.
2014 Subaru Forester
On sale:
Mid 2013
Price: $23,000/$29,000 (2.5i/XT, est.)
Engines: 2.5L I-4, 170 hp, 174 lb-ft; 2.0L turbo I-4, 250 hp, 258 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual; continuously variable
Drive: 4-wheel
Fuel Mileage: 24/32 mpg, 23/28 mpg (2.5i, XT; est.)
2014 Subaru Forester Front Right Side View
2014 Subaru Forester

New For 2014

The 2014 Subaru Forester is all-new. Although it's all-new, you've probably seen dozens of them driving around because this model went on sale in January of 2013, and Subaru can hardly build enough of them to meet demand.

Vehicle Summary

Subaru's Forester is a bit of an unsung hero in the world of crossovers. Drivers looking for a basic vehicle with lots of safety equipment and space for the required gear of athletes or outdoor enthusiasts will be happy with a Forester. Subaru offers a variety of accessories to customize the Forester for tasks such as carrying dogs in the cargo area or attaching skis, bikes, or luggage to the roof rails. Everything inside is durable and easy on the eyes, and the controls for the radio and ventilation system are managed by buttons and knobs instead of the touchscreen interfaces that so many other utility vehicles rely on. Subaru completely upgraded the Forester for the 2014 model year with a new platform and transmission choices.


The base 2014 Subaru Forester makes use of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission and a frugal 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that debuted last year. If you like driving, be sure to check out the XT variant and the 250-hp turbocharged engine that comes with it -- it's just too bad that the XT model uses only a CVT for now. At least every Forester still comes standard with all-wheel drive, which can be an expensive option on other vehicles. We may not enjoy driving the CVT as much as we enjoy shifting for ourselves, but the fact that the turbocharged engine mated to a CVT uses less fuel than does the normally aspirated engine with a manual transmission provides a little comfort.

Our main gripe with the 2014 Subaru Forester is the fussy, optional touchscreen infotainment system. We much prefer physical buttons for changing radio stations while the vehicle is moving. Thankfully Subaru offers steering-wheel-mounted buttons to control the audio system on the Forester. Those buttons don't make the navigation system easier to use, though. We suggest skipping the high-tech unit and sticking with the basic stereo offered on the base 2014 Forester. Even the standard audio system includes Bluetooth phone connectivity for 2014.

The 2014 Subaru Forester is adept at hauling everything from luggage to Labradors in the spacious cargo area, and the standard all-wheel-drive system means you'll be able to take your precious cargo pretty much anywhere you can imagine. Foresters can tow up to 2400 pounds, so anything that won't fit inside can be pulled behind the car.

It may not be the flashiest vehicle on the market, but the 2014 Subaru Forester is a great choice for anyone who needs a dependable crossover.

You'll like:

  • Very versatile
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Lots of factory accessories

You won't like:

  • Navigation system isn't very good
  • CVT can be annoying
  • No stick shift with turbo

Key Competitors

  • Ford Escape
  • Honda CR-V
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Mazda CX-5
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid Green Rear Three Quarters Static
With winter still exerting its chilly wrath across much of the country, many car shoppers want one key feature in a new car: all-wheel drive (AWD). With power delivered to all four wheels, there’s a better chance of getting traction in ice, snow, and slush. While we'd advise that fitting any car with winter tires can improve your cold-weather driving experience, an all-wheel-drive car does improve the chances of avoiding a costly bill from a friendly tow-truck. Fortunately, buying a car with all-wheel drive doesn't have to break the budget, as we’ve proven here with a list of the ten most affordable cars with AWD. We’ve focused on user-friendly cars and crossovers with full-time AWD, so you won’t find any trucks with off-road-style, part-time four-wheel-drive systems.
2013 Jaguar XJL Portfolio AWD Front Left View
When new-car sales had a hiccup in September, we wondered if that was the start of a moderation indicating that pent-up demand was beginning to get sated. Instead, we saw in October that demand is still strong, and sales jumped by 10% versus a year ago. They might have been even better, but the first two weeks of the month were sluggish as the theatrics in Washington undermined consumer confidence. October's annualized sales rate of 15.2 million vehicles was not as good as we saw during the torrid summer months, but it's better than almost anyone was predicting at the beginning of the year. All three domestic automakers saw increases of greater than 10%, putting them ahead of the industry overall. Transaction prices set a new record but incentives are starting to creep up a bit. Analysts expect that the latter to increase as we get toward the year's end, giving car buyers some help dealing with steep sticker prices -- and also greasing the wheels of the marketplace to keep the surprisingly powerful auto-sales recovery rolling along.
Chrysler remained solidly in fourth place, with four of its five divisions posting increases. Best was Ram, as the big Ram pickup jumped 18% and actually overtook the Toyota Camry to become the third-bestselling nameplate, after the Ford and Chevy pickups.
Volkswagen division is dragging down the results for the group. In October, Subaru passed VW.
2014 Subaru Forester Front Right Side View
After a torrid summer of new-car sales, things simmered down a bit in September. Whether September actually broke the long string of year-over-year monthly sales increases depends on how you look at the data. In absolute numbers, sales were down 4% overall. However, there were fewer selling days this year than last. If one looks at the annualized sales pace, we find this September’s rate of 15.3 million units to be better than September 2012’s 14.8 million figure. No matter which way you look at the this-year-versus-last-year scenario, this does constitute a slowdown compared to the summer. Sales fell to their slowest pace since April. The rest of the fall should tell us whether September’s slowdown was mostly just a calendar anomaly abetted by model-year changeover inventory issues, or whether it signals the sating of the public’s pent-up demand for new cars.
A 1% increase isn’t great, but it allowed Chrysler to keep its streak of year-over-year monthly sales increases alive. It also pushed Chrysler past American Honda and into fourth place among all carmakers.
The VW Group’s upmarket brands all defied the downturn, but not so the mainstay Volkswagen division.
2014 Subaru Forester Front Right View 1
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.

2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring

2014 Subaru Forester XT Fording Water
In the lastest episode of Epic Drives, host Arthur St. Antoine gets behind the wheel of a 2014 Subaru Forester XT for an African safari. In addition to his search for wildlife, St. Antoine tests the Forester's mettle off-road over terrain usually reserved for larger, more purpose-built SUVs.

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2014 Subaru Forester Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.5L H4Engine
Fuel economy City:
22 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
29 MPG
170 hp @ 5800rpm
174 ft lb of torque @ 4100rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
Recall Date
Subaru is recalling certain model year 2014 Forester vehicles manufactured from January 2013 through March 2013. The backing for the carpeted floor mats was not manufactured to specification. As a result, the floor mats may curl when exposed to heat.
Curling of the driver side floor mat could distract the driver and/or interfere with proper operation of one or a combination of, the vehicle's clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals. Brake or accelerator pedal interference may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash.
Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace each of the vehicle's four (4) carpeted floor mats with new ones. These services will be performed free of charge. Subaru issued an interim notification during April 2013. Notification that the remedy is now available was mailed to owners on June 5, 2013. Owners may contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783. Subaru's recall campaign number is WQH-44.
Potential Units Affected
Subaru of America, Inc.

NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
IIHS Front Small Overlap

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