We have been looking at getting a new car. We originally were looking at three models: Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and the Subaru Forester. We decided on the Forester and picked ours up last week.
During the search I did not drive one or even ride in the front seat as it was a replacement car for my wife and I wanted her to get what she wanted. Once she selected it I've had the opportunity to drive it several hundred miles.
First impression--the fit and finish of this car is really well done. The doors shut solidly yet quietly. We were previously driving a Ford Escape (2012) and the Forester seems much roomier--we are no long cramped in the footwells or against a console. The console in the Forester is low, as is the shifter, but not too low that it is a reach. Many reviews commented on the noise due to the CVT--I was surprised how quiet this car is even under heavy acceleration compared to the V6 Escape it replaced. The Escape would routinely rev to 4,000 RPM and was quite annoying. The only evidence of a CVT in the Forester is watching the tach unwind while the speedometer winds up.
Indiana weather allowed us to evaluate the AWD system and it works very good. While driving under an overpass where the roadway was icy there was a slight wiggle while the stablity system handled the issues. Not everyone managed to stay on the road but the Forester seems quite sure footed. Staying at a hotel with 12 inches of unplowed show in the parking lot wasn't a problem either.
The backup camera is in a smaller display at the top center of the dash and my wife wishes it were bigger (in the nav slot). I primarilary use the mirrors while backing and find the camera provides adequate visibility.
Most impressive is the fuel economy--over 30 MPG! Much nicer than the Ford's 23-ish average.
We are quite satisfied with this car!
The Forester has the best visibility out of all small SUVs bar none! There are no extraneous bends or lumps--just a simply and utilitarian design which maximizes interior volume.
All seams and joints are very uniform. The paint and finish is well executed and without a flaw.
Door openings are generous and this car is much easier to access both front and rear than the Escape it is replacing. What we appreciate most is the lack of a high and wide sill above the floor. My wife would often step on the sill of the Escape just to get out which then caused it to get dirty and rub off on your clothes when you got in or out.
The beltline is quite low and this provides a feeling of openness and spaciousness while in the car. The relative level dash (with the exception of top center video display) provides you with excellent sightlines.
Subaru provides gas struts for the hood compared to a prop rod for the Ford. Having a prop rod on a $30,000+ vehicle just begs to be called cheap. The hood on the Forester raises easily with the gas struts and shuts solidly. The Escape is closer to its relative the Model T.
This car is well executed, well designed, and a plesant change from our previous car.
One thing I really didn't think I would like was the EyeSight system and the intelligent cruise control. After using it I really like it. Even though we drove in some incliment weather I didn't experience any difficulities with the EyeSight system not providing accurate information.
If you carelessly change lanes without signalling you will get an indication. If anything, this may make you a better driver by reminding you to signal before changing lanes.
My only fear is that I will be driving my car (Camry) and get careless in assuming I have EyeSight to keep me out of trouble. I plan to resolve that by getting another Subaru when my lease expires!
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