New and Notable:
Subaru gave the 2014 Forester a complete wheels-up redesign that comes with many notable improvements. The real question however is how does the 2014 Forester stack up against the competition, including the redesigned 2014 Toyota RAV 4 which also debuted at the LA Auto Show this year.
From the outside, the Forester's look hasn't changed much; it's more of a sharpening than a new direction from a style standpoint. Sharp is actually the perfect word to describe the changes for 2014 — the new Forester looks sportier, with a few added creases and curves that make the entire package look more lithe and athletic than the outgoing generation. The XT trim, shown in these photos, also features a mesh front grille and a rear spoiler which add to that dynamic. All in all, we'd say this an attractive evolution for the Forester.
Under the hood, the base engine carries over from last year but adds a six-speed manual option that helps to improve fuel economy. What's exciting is a brand new, direct-injection turbocharged 2.0-liter BOXER four-cylinder that replaces the outgoing turbocharged 2.5-liter unit. The new engine improves power output to 250-hp and a robust 258 pounds-feet of torque, and is mated to a high-torque CVT that has 6-speed and 8-speed manual shift modes. All-wheel drive is, of course, standard and also features new X-Mode control for CVT equipped Foresters that enhances the Forester's capabilties in low-traction situations.
The new 2014 Forester also gets added fuel efficiency. Base engined models with the CVT now get 24/32 mpg city/highway, while the bigges strides are made by the new 2.0-liter which returns 23/28 mpg city/highway.
The Forester has also grown a little bit, adding 1.4-inches in length and 0.6-inches in width. But thanks to repackaging efforts, the Forester gained significant interior room; they were quick to point the 41.7-inches of rear legroom (beating the Mazda CX-5 by 2-inches and the Ford Escape by nearly 5-inches). We tested out the backseat and it really lives up to its billing — it's the most comfortable compact crossover backseat I've sat in, with a low center tunnel and supportive seats. Subaru has also added to the list of available features, now offering a powered rear liftgate with automatic close and the new EyeSight driver assist system, that uses a pair of cameras to integrate adaptive cruise control, pre-collision automatic braking, and vehicle lane departure warning in one package.
So how does the 2014 Forester stack up? Very favorably in our estimation. While it's not the flashiest compact crossover around, it has above average interior comfort and better styling. So for those in the market for a small SUV, especially one with good all-wheel drive capability, the 2014 Forester is definitely worth a look.