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2014 Subaru Forester Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: AWESOME small/mid-size SUV choice - the BEST! by LMCRM

LMCRM

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Introduction

This is my 2nd Subaru and I'm looking to a long connection with this Forester. My last Subaru was a 1986 Subaru "DL" 4WD wagon that I had purchased used, at an auction, for $700... it had 250,000 miles on the clock. When I finally had a problem, it was a head gasket failure at over 320,000 miles! No other major fixes needed during those 70+ miles...! It's a rare car in some markets, and finding one with your right price, color and equipment can be difficult, but you won't go wrong...! I love my Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited!

Forester Reviews: Palm Springs, California

2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited Waiting for my purchase at Palm Springs Subaru

Forester Reviews:

Interior "Platinum" leather seating (Limited & Touring models)

Reviewed: 2014 Subaru Forester

4dr SUV 170-horsepower 2.5L H4 CVT AWD

Why the 2014 Subaru Forester?

Powertrain performance

I've got the "base" 2.5 litre 4-cylinder "boxer" motor with standard AWD and the Continuously Variable Transmission. The powertrain IS powerful - even with just 170 HP on tap, I've got no issues with acceleration. The engine pulls smoothly (although sometimes noisily at higher RPM) and it's easy to get up to speed. The CVT is great... It takes a moment to get used to the "non-shifting" feel - not feeling the shift between gears. But, again, smooth and easy. Subaru has programmed some shift "feel" into the unit, so it's not like a solid ROAR of engine noise all the time. It "feels" like there is a shift between first and .. 2nd? and then onto "third"... Have yet to achieve the "promised" MPG levels, but I've got a bit of a heavy foot and have been using the A/C almost non-stop since day one - I live in the desert area of Southern California. Have not had any slippage or loss of traction - but I've played on some loose dirt roads and never lost any control.

Exterior styling

The styling says "SUV" from every angle. There's no getting away from the traditional "2 box" wagon-like body. But it's well done, with enough body creases, curves and shapes to keep it from being boring boxy. It's well designed with good ratios of the body to the glass to the over-all size. The design of the front headlight housing seems a bit ... busy. But otherwise, very happy with the exterior style. I wish that the body-side had some protection on the side - to protect from door dings... Paint seems a bit easy to chip, so be careful with the door edges. Invest in some of those clear door edge guards. The standard sunroof (on Premium trim and above) adds a look of utility and just that - utility. While I've yet to carry anything on the roof, knowing that I've got the capacity is great. If you get the chance, spring for the Interior and Exterior "auto-dimming" mirrors. They truly help at night when people have Xenon (and fake blue-beam lights) that glare and blind. And having the lights built into the side door mirrors, lighting up the ground and the side of the vehicle is a great thing at night. Wish that the car had repeater turn signals built into the front fenders or the mirrors, but ...

Interior styling

Very well designed. Exceptionally comfortable seats. Easy to get in and out of. Easy to reach and understand controls. Seats are very supportive and comfortable over the long haul. Opt for the lighter interior (called Platinum) if you live in the warmer climates. The other dark-gray and/or black interior will overwhelm the A/C system. I test drove an XT with the black leather and found that the auto A/C system took at least 5 minutes to "de-heat" the interior and it was about 10 minutes to get comfortably cool after the car sat in the sun. The upper dash has a small and mostly useful display. It serves as the main display for the trip computer and all the functions it has, plus it duplicates some of the audio unit's displays, but with more information. The rear-view camera is also displayed in this screen, but can be hard to use in really bright light or with polarized sunglasses. It seems a bit small for the task, as well. The audio system (even the "base" unit) puts out excellent sound and has many, many, MANY choices and options to customize the sound to your taste. And the standard iPod integration and controls are perfect. I love all of the features I got in the Limited trim level - the rear camera, the power liftgate, the power seats, windows and all the rest. Having the power liftgate release is an excellent feature and makes it worth it to step up to the Limited. Press the button on the keyless remote, or on the dash or even on the back liftgate and it rises up when your hands are full. Only downside is that it's a bit short of an opening for the taller of us (like me). The back load area is big, spacious and easy to use. Hidden storage compartments help to keep the back clean, allowing you to put smaller things out-of-sight. If possible, order the roll-away cargo cover. The leather seating surface seems a bit like it may be prone to damage, but so far has held up well with people and cargo and dogs. The soft-touch dash top is great. But I wish it was the color of the rest of the interior (light silver-gray) and not black. And the big, huge, ENORMOUS power glass sunroof brings the outside to the inside and makes it light and bright and airy inside.

Safety & braking

Wow... So many safety features - with a ton of airbags, the electronic brake assist, the anti-lock brakes, the skid-control and all the rest will keep your four wheels on the road and safe. Luckily, I haven't had the need to see how all of those features work, but I'm glad to know that they're there. Sitting up high gives you a great view out and helps you see where you're going. The rear-view camera allows you to see behind you when you're backing up and a friend said that it shows so much more useful of a view than her Lexus...! The reverse lights really brighten up the view when you pop into reverse, making it very easy to back out of tight places where you may not have a great view.

Fuel economy

The suggested/promised MPG is pretty high and, while I haven't hit those numbers on average, I can say that I'm getting better mileage than I was getting in a smaller, non-AWD, non-SUV "sporty" car with a smaller engine. The built-in value of the vehicle is top notch... For the price, I got more equipment than I would have gotten on much of the competition...! A truly great value for the bucks....!

Why Not the 2014 Subaru Forester?

Fuel economy

Fuel economy isn't as great as I'd hoped, but better than the previous vehicle I had - which was smaller, lighter and got worse mileage.

Powertrain performance

Sometimes the engine gets a bit LOUD when you're accelerating. The CVT can be a bit .. touchy .. and can sometimes lurch from a stop. But otherwise, the powertrain is great.

Quietness

Sometimes the engine can be loud, under heavy acceleration. Sometimes there is some loud wind noise.

Color choices

The color choices can seem a little limited. There are just a half-dozen colors to choose from. The paint seems that it may be easy to scratch or chip...

Other Features of the 2014 Subaru Forester

Exterior styling

I LOVE MY SUBARU FORESTER LIMITED!!!! I love that I don't see my same car over and over and over again on the streets, like you can see so many copies of the competition. I tried all of the competition: * Toyota RAV-4 * Nissan Rogue * Volkswagen Tiguan * Jeep Compass * Honda CR-V * Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and others... And the Subaru Forester won - hands down - for comfort, value, price and equipment...! Love. It's what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.

Conclusion

I drove the rest and chose the best. The Subaru Forester gives the best bang for the buck, with excellent levels of equipment for a great price... Save some bucks and stick with the "base" 2.5i models and skip the 2.0 XT turbos... the extra power doesn't seem to be needed in typical, everyday driving.

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Response from rofrith

9:23 am October 26, 2014

I have read reviews of the Forester on other web sites, and some people say the seats are very uncomfortable. Any comments on this issue?

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Response from LMCRM

10:42 am January 11, 2016

I can tell you that the seats are very comfortable - for a variety of body types.
I'm 6'2 and have no issues getting comfortable in the driver seat or even feeling comfortable in the back seat (though I've not traveled in the backseat).
My mom is just 5'1 and is comfortable in the passenger seat. Her ability to get in and out of the vehicle comfortably was a serious consideration in the purchase and comparison. I looked at nearly every other small/medium SUV - Honda, Toyota, Jeep, Kia/Hyundai and others.

Another friend is a large man (300 Lbs) and rather tall, he also suffers from medical issues related to breathing, and he's been comfortable in the front passenger seat and also in the rear seat, with the back rest reclined.

But, of course, bodies are different and there may be some that don't find that sweet spot.
I can tell you that the seats are soft, but not saggy and they're built more for comfort than for sporty firm support on the sides. Given that the Forester is not a sports car, I would not expect the seats to be like a Recaro (or other brand) sporty seat with high and firm bolsters on the sides.

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