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#12

in Used Compact SUVs $20K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $20,390 - $28,324
Original MSRP: $21,995 - $32,995
MPG: 24 City / 32 Hwy
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2014 Subaru Forester Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Play 2014 Subaru Forester Performance Review Video Video: Forester Performance 2014 Subaru Forester Performance Video Review

Test drivers say that the redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester offers a composed ride, impressive all-wheel drive grip and an available turbocharged engine that provides plenty of power.

  • "On pavement, the ride of 2.5i models is comfortable, with harshness noticeable over only larger road imperfections. Rutted off-road trails can set the Forester to rocking, though." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The Forester has always had a reputation for being fun to drive, and the new model, especially in XT form, carries forth the tradition. But the fact remains it's a tallish SUV with a high ground clearance. As long as you're not expecting STI levels of at-the-limit handling, you'll probably find the performance plenty rewarding, but the Forester definitely is not a sports car." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Boasting a stronger, more rigid central structure, wider track dimensions, longer wheelbase and a retuned suspension to complement Subaru's signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the 2014 Forester deports itself most impressively and predictably on or off road." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Bottom line, the on-road performance and off-road durability of the 2.0XT provide an intoxicating drive, and its kick-in-the-pants acceleration seems to belie its commuter-friendly fuel efficiency." -- MSN 

Acceleration and Power

The base Forester 2.5i is powered by a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. Upgrade to the 2.0XT model, and you’ll get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and a standard CVT. The EPA reports that the base Forester earns 24/32 mpg city/highway with the CVT, which is quite good for the class, but still slightly behind the fuel economy of a comparably-equipped Mazda CX-5.

Reviewers say that the XT model offers plenty of power, and that its turbocharged engine is well-matched to the CVT. While one test driver says that the base Forester is far from quick, another notes that it accelerates just as well as the CX-5 and Honda CR-V.

  • "The 2.0-liter turbo and CVT combo works great; the Forester is deceptively quick. Certainly quicker than the CX-5, though it takes a hit in fuel economy with an estimated 25 mpg combined." -- AutoWeek 
  • "Subaru didn't make a six-speed manual Forester available to drive, but we can say that the 2.5-liter boxer four with CVT vehicle had no trouble keeping up with a Honda CR-V or out-drag-racing a Mazda CX-5 brought along for competitive purposes." -- Car and Driver 
  • "With a little extra weight than before, the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester isn't going to set any speed records with the 170 hp that comes from its standard four-cylinder engine." -- Edmunds 
  • "The 2.5i with CVT delivers 24 mpg city, an impressive 32 mpg highway and a combined 27 mpg from its 2.5-liter 170-horsepower boxer engine. Among all-wheel-drive nonhybrids in the Forester's segment, only the Mazda CX-5 compares." -- MSN 

Handling and Braking

One test driver says that the 2014 Forester has a soft ride, and other reviewers appreciate its precise steering and composed handling. The Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, and one critic notes that the available X-Mode traction assist system makes it more capable off-road than many affordable compact SUVs.

  • "It rides rather softly and there's some body roll, but recalling previous Forester drives, I expected that. No surprises in the ride/handling mix." -- AutoWeek 
  • "The electric-boosted steering, while not hugely communicative, nevertheless was reasonably weighted, quick enough for Pier 1 runs, and linear in its response." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The new Forester continues its predecessors' car-like characteristics, with responsive and well-weighted steering and acceptable control of lean in cornering." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "In normal day-to-day use, the Forester provides stable and composed handling. But its trump card remains its extra dollop of off-road capability, which comes via its higher-than-normal ground clearance and new ‘X Mode’ that adjusts the Forester's stability control, gearing and throttle response to maximize traction in the dirt." -- Edmunds 

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