Thursday, December 18, 2008

Subaru Forester - What the Auto Press Says

The 2009 Subaru Forester ranks 5 out of 27 Affordable Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of 25 published reviews and test drives of the Subaru Forester, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

With its first redesign since 2003, the third-generation Subaru Forester gets a complete makeover. Its interior and exterior refinements land it near the top of its class.

Overall, automotive experts like the Forester's smoother drive and more stylish look. "The actor playing the role of the 2009 Forester could be George Clooney instead of George Plimpton," says Motor Trend. "Trust me, you're going to give it a double take: It's bigger. It's better mannered. It's cloaked in an okay suit of sheetmetal. Thank heavens, it's still amusing and playful, but now it'll even catch the eye of the opposite sex in the room." Despite the praise, some reviewers still find that the quality of materials is inconsistent, and a few say the exterior has lost its distinctive look. However, with a base price even lower than its predecessor and standard all-wheel drive, the Forester is a bargain in its segment.

The new Forester was one of the fastest-selling SUVs in America in its first few months on the market. Buyers are drifting away from many SUVs in the current economy, but the Forester, in the top half of its class for fuel efficiency, doesn't seem to be feeling the bite of gas prices. For even better fuel economy, consider the Toyota RAV4 or Ford Escape Hybrid.

The Forester comes in several trims -- the base 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X L.L. Bean Edition, and the turbocharged 2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited. As is the case with all Subarus, all models come standard with all-wheel drive.

  • "For 2009, the Forester has undergone a redesign that has made it larger, more SUV-like, and, well, more normal. And although the new Forester looks a lot different from the previous model, it manages to retain many of its predecessors' strengths while expanding its appeal." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "In the end, you can make rational arguments for RAV4 and CR-V, but neither has the mix of appealing personality, sophisticated AWD, straightforward presentation and carlike manners that give the new Forester exceptional allure." -- USA Today
  • "Other than the sound system, we found nothing to dislike about the Forester, and would recommend one to any consumer who is joining the trend toward cross over vehicles. It's well made, the four-wheel drive will come in handy in wet and snowy weather, and the price is right." -- MarketWatch
  • "Subaru has spent 11 years building up customer good will for the Forester, and there's nothing about the new model that will threaten that. Nothing at all." -- Orlando Sentinel

Forester Performance - 8.5 (Very Good)

The 2009 Subaru Forester's performance is sportier and more refined than its predecessor's. "On the road, ride and handling are better than you'd expect, regardless of horsepower or trim level," says Orlando Sentinel. "Cornering is relatively flat, with little of the tipsiness found in older Foresters. Braking and steering are linear and properly sensitive." However, the praise doesn't carry through to the four-speed transmission. Continue with our full Forester Performance Review to learn why it's not quite up to par for most test drivers. continue

Forester Exterior - 8.0 (Very Good)

On the outside, new styling for 2009 makes the Forester look less like a wagon and more like an SUV. "As solid as the previous Forester was for toting Kayaks and hauling a cabin full of hikers, it wasn't exactly a looker," says Popular Mechanics. "Well, Subaru has fixed all that with the 2009 Forester. We'd go so far as to say this new Forester is the most handsome and stylish Subaru in years." Despite the good feedback, not everyone has praise for the SUV's styling. Continue with our full Forester Exterior Review to learn why some reviewers don't favor its new look. continue

Forester Interior - 8.0 (Very Good)

With more cargo room and a spacious back seat, the 2009 Forester's redesigned interior receives praise. "Inside, the Forester is noticeably roomier and upscale," comments Popular Mechanics. "For the first time, a navigation system is available. And, yes, they've added practicality behind the front seats, too." However, reviewers still have a few gripes. Continue with our full Forester Interior Review to learn why some are unimpressed with interior quality. continue

Forester Safety - 9.9 (Excellent)

The redesigned Subaru Forester does well in federal government crash tests and is an insurance industry "Top Safety Pick." It offers plenty of safety features, including new curtain side-impact air bags. Continue with our full Forester Safety Review to learn why its visibility compares favorably to its rivals. continue

Forester Reliability - 8.0 (Very Good)

The 2009 Subaru Forester reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power's automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Forester comes with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty. Continue with our full Forester Reliability Review to learn about its powertrain warranty. continue

MSRP: $19,995 - $29,995
Invoice: $18,913 - $28,034
MPG: 20 City / 26 Hwy

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