Subaru Forester atop small SUV class: Consumer Reports

2014 Forester Premium 2.5

2014 Forester Premium 2.5                                                                                  Gerry Miles  photo

Consumer Reports cites superb practicality, fuel-efficiency as hard to beat


Well you knew an entire state couldn’t be wrong, right?

If there’s one state in New England that has a true love affair with Subaru, it’s Vermont. And perhaps in a close second place race is Maine.

Folks just like the ability of their cars to laugh at the cold weather, drive through the snow, sleet and rain with the greatest of ease while maintaining the surefootedness of a mountain goat with hiking boots.

The all-new redesigned Forester now boasts greatly increased leg room, head room, and cargo room along with a variety of engines in addition to its symmetrical all-wheel-drive. (why they’ve moved away from the tag line of ‘transferring power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip – succinctly summarizing how the AWD works – escapes me.)

That reworking led to Consumer Reports to award the 2014 at the top of its class over the recent redesigns including the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

CR liked Subaru’s keeping its basic Forester shape that doesn’t cramp window room with sloped styling that scrubs visibility out the back. At a Subaru presentation, a rep noted that when Forester was first offered for sale in the US marketing wags in Japan proffered naming it the Turtle Top … which would not have translated very well.

“Overall, if you’re looking for a small SUV that’s very functional and fuel-efficient, the Forester is hard to beat,” said Jake Fisher, director, Consumer Reports Auto Test Center.

Also new is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Forester now delivers better acceleration in addition to a class-leading 26 mpg overall and 35 on the highway in Consumer Reports tests. While some folks whine that the CVT is a drain on power and performance it’s hard to notice it holding the Forester back under acceleration whereby the engine doth not protest too much

CR dinged the Forester’s ride changing from “calm and cushy, but now is rather firm and jittery.” CR’s engineers also declared that the Forester isn’t as agile as the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, or Toyota RAV4. And, they deemed Subaru’s in-car infotainment “is behind the curve.”

Consumer Reports bought and tested a Forester 2.5i Premium for $26,814, which included heated front seats, a big sunroof, a backup camera, and a power driver’s seat.  Because above-average reliability is anticipated, it is CR Recommended.

Complete tests and ratings of the Forester appear on today, and in the July issue of Consumer Reports.


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