- Completely redesigned for 2014
- Standard all-wheel drive; choice of manual or CVT
- Great backseat room for a compact crossover
The 2014 Subaru Forester gets a complete redesign for the new model year, adding interior volume and upgraded materials, as well as a new turbocharged engine for greater performance.
Compact crossovers represent one of the most hotly contested segments for automakers and the 2014 Forester competes directly with heavy hitters like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Ford Escape. Thankfully, the Forester has enough up its sleeve to compete and few unique features that give it a leg up on the competition.
Sharp new LED daytime running lights give the Forester a modern appearance up front. The rest of the crossover is pretty understated as far as styling goes, with the exception of the XT (turbo) trim which adds larger 18-inch wheels and a mesh grille. One design feature that the Forester has going for it is its low beltline and large windows, which grant excellent visibility. Many other crossovers are opting for aggressive looking, tapered windows (especially in the rear) which often make it difficult to check blind spots and maneuver in tight spaces, but the 2014 Forester is easy to see out of in all directions.
Under the hood, the Forester offers a pair of horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder engines. The base engine is a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter H-4 that makes 174 pounds-feet of torque and is mated to a six-speed manual or a CVT. XT trims get a more powerful 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter H-4 that makes a robust 258 pounds-feet of torque, a large improvement over the outgoing engine. The XT only offers the CVT. Being a Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard as expected and the Forester has an above average 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
Fuel economy estimates are very good for an AWD crossover, especially with the base engine, which comes in at 24/32 mpg city/highway with the CVT (22/29 mpg with the manual). The XT falls slightly behind those marks, 23/28 mpg city/highway.
Subaru interiors have traditionally been lacking when it comes to amenities and finish, but the 2014 Forester bucks this trend. The fit and finish has been improved and materials are softer and more pleasing. We were also very impressed with the Forester’s headroom and rear legroom; you could road-trip the Forester with more than two passengers without having to worry about the backseat occupants. Standard features include automatic headlights, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. Leather upholstery, a panoramic moonroof, heated front seats, and a navigation system are optional.
Safety has long been an area of excellence for Subaru and the new Forester has earned a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. Besides the federally mandated safety features, the 2014 Forester adds anti-whiplash front seats and a driver’s knee airbag. A backup camera, precollision braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control are also available.