?Fourth Generation Subaru all new for 2014?
The first generation Subaru Forester appeared in Japan in 1997 and made its debut here in the U.S. in 1998. The second Gen bowed in 2003 and the third Generation was introduced in 2008. Forester has been and is still one of the best selling small SUVs in the marketplace. It is extremely popular in geographic regions of the country where inclement and extremely cold weather prevail. Visit, for instance, the Northwest and Northeast, and the Forester appears to be the poster SUV or Crossover – a category that it helped to pioneer.
The 2014 fourth generation Forester serves up more interior room than ever before along with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder, flat-opposed (boxer) engine with Direct Injection that makes its debut as an all new powerplant, delivering 25 more horsepower and 28 more pound feet of torque than its predecessor at 250 horses and 258 pound feet respectively, engineered by Toyota for Subaru?s? normally aspirated BRZ. Two engines will be available – the 2.0XT and a base model, 2.5i naturally aspirated four banger that makes 170 horses and 174 pound feet of torque, which is really the only carryover for the new vehicle. There are also two new transmissions: a new 6-speed manual (up from the former 5-speed) for 2.5i powered models and a new Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), with the 2.0XT versions featuring 6 gear steps in automatic mode and 8-speeds in manual shift mode. Every new Forester delivers power to all four corners via Subaru?s Symmetrical All-Wheel drive – a Continuous AWD system with viscous-coupling locking center differential for manual transmission vehicles, or an Active AWD with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch; featuring an enhanced AWD control system with X-Mode on high-line models (Limited and Touring). X-Mode delivers increased performance capability in low friction scenarios at the touch of a button. New for the XT lineup is Si drive – an adaptive CVT control with three settings – ?I? – intelligent; ?s? – sport; and ?s+? sport sharp. Hill Descent Control is also added.
2.5i models will come in four trim levels: a base 6 M/T model that starts at $21,995; a Premium model; a Limited model; and the top-of-the-line Touring model priced at $29,995. 2.0XT model Foresters are only available in Premium and Touring trim levels with Premium pricing set at $27,995 while the Touring model is priced starting at $32,995. Add an $895 Destination and Handling charge for all.
This latest iteration Forester retains its utilitarian properties, but in an even more useful and larger package. The wheelbase has been increased by 1-inch, the overall length by 1.4-inch, and the height also by 1.4-inch. Despite the larger exterior dimensions, the curb weight increases only 46 pounds. According to Forester engineers, the frame and body actually weigh no more than those of the current model, but torsional rigidity is improved by 150 percent for greater stability allowing for a meaningful increase in the damping force of the suspension. The doors and openings are now considerably larger, allowing for greater ease of entry and exit. Door window frames have been added for necessary structural integrity but I miss the frameless window advantage of earlier Foresters realized in tight parking situations.
In terms of its appearance, at first glance, the 2014 Forester is not dramatically different from its predecessors (why mess with a winning formula?), but the ?A? pillars are moved forward, with the front end and hood lower and flatter, displaying a taller grille that reflects the rest of the Subaru line?s DNA. The new
Forester now showcases a more SUV-like look, rather than the image of a wagon. Wheel wells are more pronounced creating a fender effect. Lower door edges extend below the inner sills, protecting one?s apparel or legs from accumulated road grime when exiting or entering the vehicle. The new Forester essentially blends evolutionary design themes with sharply defined new details in an all-new body.
Moving to the interior, front space and shoulder room has increased and the dash is deeper with a revised IP and graphic video displays. The rear seat accommodations have also grown. A 440-watt harman/kardon audio system with the Aha smartphone app, a height programmable, power liftgate and Subaru?s new, optically controlled EyeSight adaptive cruise control and guidance system are among the feature upgrades and enhancements.
My driving partner and I piloted only the 2.0XT model in Touring trim due to a navigational error somewhere along our prescribed route, which precluded the opportunity to get into the 2.5i version. Our turbocharged steed came with an Ice Silver metallic exterior finish and a Black interior. The base sticker read $21,950 while the final tally came to $33,820 after factoring in option packaging and Destination and Handling charges.
SUMMARY: The 2014 Subaru Forester is genuinely ?SUV Tough and Car Easy?, according to Michael McHale, Subaru?s Corporate Communications Director, and I would have to heartily concur. The off-road prowess of this latest Forester is indeed impressive, as is the on-road experience. Climbing and descending hills is child?s play and freeway stretches all showcase quiet, comfort and stability. Washboard ridden and rutted gravel surfaces with 35 mph designated speeds could be negotiated at 60 mph and above with total confidence and control, thanks to the four-wheel independent suspension componentry and low center of gravity.
Outward visibility is outstanding as is interior functionality and versatility. The 2.0-liter Turbo four-banger is quick to respond to right foot actions and the CVT performs with the effect of a conventional gearbox, simulating stepped gear changes – particularly in the manual mode with paddle shifters. The turning radius is remarkably tight, especially for an AWD vehicle.
The Touring models represent the top of the Forester lineup, in either engine variant. In addition to incorporating all of the Limited?s content, the Touring includes the 4.3-inch touch-screen navigation system as standard fare while adding the harman/kardon 8 speaker, 440-watt premium audio system with Aha? smartphone integration features, the electroluminescent instrument cluster with LCD display, a one-touch folding rear seatback and more. The Driver Assist Technology package featuring the EyeSight system, Keyless Access and Start and HID headlights is exclusively available for Forester Touring models.
Bottom-line, the 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring not only gets the job done as one would expect, but it gets it done fast and in comfort.
SPECIFICATIONS: Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring – ?14
|Price as Tested:||$33,820|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, normally aspirated, horizontally-opposed (Boxer) four-cylinder with sequential multi-port fuel injection|
|Horsepower (bhp):||170 @ 5,800 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||174 @ 4,100 rpm? 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, intercooled, turbocharged, horizontally-opposed four- cylinder with Direct fuel Injection|
|Horsepower (bhp):||250 @ 5,600 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||258 @ 2,000-4,800 rpm|
|Transmission:||Six-speed manual-standard/Continuously Variable Transmission (automatic) with 6 step ?gears? or 8 with Sport Sharp|
|Drive Train:||Forward flat mounted horizontally opposed / Subaru Symmetrical AWD – (Continuous AWD with viscous-coupling locking center differential for M/T – Active AWD with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch; features X-Mode enhanced control system on high- line models (Limited and Touring|
|Suspension:||4-wheel independent; sport-tuned on 2.0XT with higher-rate springs than 2.5i models (10% higher in front, 20% rear), plus special chassis reinforcementsFront – MacPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, ? coil springs and stabilizer bar.Rear – Double wishbone with subframe, coil springs and stabilizer bar|
|Brakes:||Power-assisted 4-wheel discs (vented front) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 4- channel / 4-sensor ABS and Brake Assist. Vehicle Dynamics Control with all-wheel, all-speed traction control|
|Tires:||Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400 M+S 225/55 R18 97H all-season mounted on 5-?Y?-spoke alloy wheels – machined and painted. 17-inch wheels standard on 2.5i models|
|Length Overall:||180.9 inches|
|Height:||68.2 inches with roof rail|
|Curb Weight:||3,622 lbs|
|Ground Clearance:||8.7 inches|
|Approach Angle:||23.0 degrees|
|Deaparture Angle:||25.0 degrees|
|Ramp Breakover Angle::||21.0 degrees|
|Tow Capacity:||1,500 pounds|
|Fuel Capacity:||15.9 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||23 mpg city / 28 mpg highway|
|Drag Coefficient:||33 an 11% improvement|
|0 – 60 mph:||6.2 seconds|