With a fresh design for the new model year, the 2014 Subaru Forester hopes to strike a balance between keeping repeat customers happy while attracting new compact crossover buyers to the fold.
When Subaru last revamped the Forester, for the 2008 model year, the changes were substantial. The crossover grew in size and scope, as Subaru “ruggedized” the Forester to broaden its appeal.
This time around, the changes are more evolutionary, and the Forester grows by just an inch in height and an inch in wheelbase. Subaru took steps to improve the Forester’s fuel economy and drivability, but was careful not to impede the crossover’s functionality. Like all Subaru models except the BRZ sport coupe, it benefits from all-wheel drive, too.
Subaru will offer the 2014 Forester in a total of six trims, beginning with the base 2.5i, priced from $22,820 including a destination charge of $825, an increase of just $700 over last year’s base model. Stepping up to the 2.5i Premium gets you amenities like a panoramic moonroof, a power drivers seat and roof rails, for a list price of $25,820.
Next in the lineup is the 2.5i Limited, which boasts Subaru’s X Mode electronic differential management system for optimized traction, along with a power rear liftgate and a rear spoiler for a sticker price of $28,820.
Atop the 2.5i range is the 2.5i Touring, which adds features like HID lighting and automatic climate control and sells for $30,820.
All 2.5i models come with a 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine, rated at 170 horsepower and mated to the buyer’s choice of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
If more power is your thing, you’ll want to step up to the Forester 2.0XT models, which get a turbocharged 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine rated at 250 horsepower. No manual transmission option is available with this engine, meaning that buyers get a CVT, like it or not.
Pricing for 2.0XT models starts at $28,820 for the XT Premium version (equipped similarly to the 2.5i Premium), while the range-topping 2.0XT Touring sells for $33,820.
Generally speaking, the Forester is priced comparably to front-drive models from the competition, making its all-wheel drive layout a solid value-add. Look for the 2014 Forester to hit Subaru dealers in March.
(c) 2013, High Gear Media.