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Subaru Forester Pros and Cons: Why (Not) This Car?

Subaru Forester pros and cons, according to Michael Karesh: the best reasons for buying (or not buying) the Forester.

Subaru Forester Reviews

Date   Review Description
07/15/13

0
  2014 Subaru Forester XT Review
Compared to Ford Escape

Best Reason to Buy: Driving position & visibility
Many manufacturers, in making their compact crossovers sleeker and swoopier, seem to have forgotten why many buyers buy crossovers in the first place. Not Subaru. The new Forester's windshield isn't laid way back. Its roof is high, but its beltline (base of the windows) isn't, and doesn't sweep dramatically upward until its last few inches. The pillars separating the new Forester's unfashionably large windows, even those at the back, are thin by current standards. Add it all up, and visibility is outstanding in all directions. This said, as in any crossover the base of the rear window is high enough that low objects (such as small children and bicycles) aren't visible through it. A rearview camera is standard on all but the least expensive Forester model.

In the more stylish Ford Escape, the view forward is dominated by a deep instrument panel and the view rearward is constrained by a raked beltline and thick triangular D-pillars.

Best Reason Not to Buy: Handling
The redesigned Subaru Forester doesn't handle badly. Far from it. It steers easily, and handles safely and predictably. Driving the new Forester could hardly be more pleasant. But, even with the XT's sport suspension it doesn't feel sporty or especially fun. For that the Escape is a better choice. If power isn't a consideration, the Mazda and Toyota also feel more taut and responsive.

Other Reasons to Buy: Price or payments, Rear seat room & comfort, Ride smoothness, Powertrain performance

Other Reasons Not to Buy: Audio & nav systems, Exterior styling, Interior styling

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02/26/14

0
  2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Review
Compared to Honda CR-V

Best Reason to Buy: Driving position & visibility
A week with the Forester only led me to further appreciate its driving position and large, upright windows. If you've been seeking a car you can easily see out of, few can match the Forester.

Many manufacturers, in making their compact crossovers sleeker and swoopier, seem to have forgotten why many people buy crossovers in the first place. Not Subaru. The new Forester's windshield isn't laid way back. Its roof is high, but its belt line (base of the windows) isn't, and doesn't sweep dramatically upward until its last few inches. The pillars separating the new Forester's unfashionably large windows, even those at the back, are thin by current standards. Add it all up, and visibility is outstanding in all directions. This said, as in any crossover the base of the rear window is high enough off the ground that low objects (such as small children and bicycles) aren't visible through it. A rearview camera is standard on all but the least expensive Forester model.

Though you also sit well above the instrument panel in the Honda CR-V, said instrument panel is much deeper than the one in the Forester. The view forward has a minivan flavor. To the rear, the Honda's pillars are much thicker than the Subaru's.

Best Reason Not to Buy: Discounts & incentives
The sticker price might be relatively low, but you'll likely be paying close to it. Since 2014 Foresters are in short supply, dealers tend to discount them very little. Some might even be trying to charge over sticker.

Discounts available on the Honda should drop its price below, even well below, the Subaru's.

Other Reasons to Buy: Price or payments, Ride smoothness, Fuel economy, Rear seat room & comfort

Other Reasons Not to Buy: Quietness, Audio & nav systems, Interior styling

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