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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety introduced its new small overlap frontal crash test last year, and while a number of cars have passed the test with an "Acceptable" rating, the 2014 Subaru Forester is the first vehicle to ace the test with a "Good" rating. A total of 13 small crossovers and SUVs were subjected to the more rigorous testing procedure, and only the Forester and the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport drove off with the highest Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Two of the worst-performing vehicles that were called out in this group were the Nissan Rogue and Jeep Wrangler, which were the only two not to receive a Top Safety Pick Rating. The Jeep Patriot did earn that distinction despite not performing well in the small overlap test. To be named a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn top ratings in front, side, rear and roof-strength tests, while a Top Safety Pick+ requires four out of five to be "Good" ratings with the fifth no worse than "Acceptable;" the Forester received "Good" ratings in all five tests. Scroll down for a video showing how the Forester and some of its competitors performed in the small overlap test, along with a press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
When Subaru first offered a turbocharged Forester XT model to US customers for the 2004 model year, the shoe-shaped second-gen model fell into a ready-made competitive set of small, V6-powered crossovers and SUVs. The XT might have been more of a raucous shopping-trip companion than, say, a Ford Escape V6, but the basics of the cars offered a clear differentiation from the naturally aspirated, four-cylinder models found just a bit downmarket. Here in 2013, the V6 breed of crossover in this size class is all but extinct, and turbocharged four-cylinders with the power to compete with the XT are not thick on the ground.
In many ways, the comparative analysis gets most interesting when you start looking around for CUVs to match up with the all-boxes-ticked Forester XT Touring that we had as a tester for a recent week. The top of the line Touring trim means that the Forester comes with features like 10-way power seats, leather, navigation, a Harmon Kardon sound system with HD radio, Bluetooth and more. In fact, our Forester also had the only option package available on the XT Touring; one that included keyless access, HID headlights and Subaru's EyeSight system (adaptive cruise, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking).
And, of course, because of the XT trim, we knew that we were getting one of the most powerful crossovers in this segment, too. Subaru's turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder lay under the hood, ready to pump out some 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at the flex of an ankle. Combined with a light-for-the class curb weight of around 3,600 pounds and Subaru's grippy all-wheel-drive system, the XT feels pretty quick in town and on the freeway.
Add all of that up, and you've got a strong-performing, content-laden crossover, all for the sum of just $36,220 as tested...Permalink | Email this | Comments
Pedal entrapment and unintended acceleration are hot-button topics these days, so automakers are always staying alert for potential problems. For Subaru and its newly introduced 2014 Forester, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall due to improperly manufactured floor mats that could become an obstruction for the gas, brake or clutch pedals. The good news, of course, is that even if drivers experience this problem, the 2014 Forester comes standard with brake override.
At issue with the floor mats on 10,137 Forester models built between January and March of this year is that the resin material used on the underside of the mats can curl when exposed to heat. If the leading edge of the driver's mat curls enough, it can come in contact with the pedals making acceleration, braking and shifting more difficult - possibly resulting in a crash. To fix the problem, Subaru is replacing the entire set of floor mats in all of the affected units. The official NHTSA recall notice is posted below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Subaru Forester has undergone a massive transformation from when it started life as a 1998 model. With all-wheel drive, a boxer four cylinder engine and a slightly quirky persona, the Forester was a tall wagon that hit all the right notes with its loyal, and yes, quirky fan base. In 2008, Subaru ditched the tall wagon design of the Forester, and went typical compact crossover. Yes, sales of the Forester were up, but we questioned if Subaru had sold out. After testing a 2011 Forester, we concluded that Subaru had not, sticking with its core principles-all wheel drive, boxer engines, and turbocharging.
Which brings us to the all new 2014 Forester. Starting at $21,995USD for a base model 2.5i. A six-speed manual is standard-for $1,000 extra you can get a continuously variable transmission. I have to say it really disappoints me that Subaru opted for a CVT. The 2.5i is powered by 170hp boxer four, while there is the option of the 2.0 XT which features a 250hp turbocharged engine. The CVT is the only available transmission. A top-spec 2.0XT Touring will set you back $32,995. No word from Subaru as to when we can expect to see the new Forester in dealer showrooms.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just announced a safety recall covering
295,123 vehicles, a pair of Subaru models and a close relative from Saab. The recall concerns front control arms that may fail if corroded, making the vehicle difficult to control. The action covers select 2003-2008 Forester crossovers, 2002-2007 Impreza models and some 2005-2006 Saab 9-2x hatchbacks, the latter heavily based on Subaru mechanicals.
In April, NHTSA launched an investigation after receiving seven complaints from owners of affected vehicles. In two instances, owners reported losing control of their vehicle due to control arm failure. The agency's investigation revealed the front lower control arms may break at the hanger brackets due to corrosion if exposed to salt or humid environments.
This is a geographic recall, meaning that Subaru will inspect the degree of corrosion and either replace or rustproof the control arms on vehicles registered for use in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia.
Saab dealers will be responsible to inspect and repair affected 9-2x models as necessary, including the possible rustproofing or replacement of control arms. Owners who think that their vehicle may be covered under the recall are urged to contact their dealer.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Auto journalists are a fickle bunch, and I will be the first to confess that at times we’re sometimes at odds with auto manufacturers. Subaru is a prime example. Us journos loved oddball Subarus, and praised them for catering to a rugged, left of center crowd that was small, but fiercely loyal. But the truth is, this is the car business, and Subaru is in the business of selling cars-and they wanted to appeal to more than quirky people living in New England and the Pacific Northwest. So, Subaru went mainstream. But with its strong selling Forester, was Subaru able to make an appeal to a larger customer base while still maintaining the ingredients of what makes a Subaru, a Subie? Read on.
The Forester is a familiar and well-loved fixture in the Subaru family. Now in its third generation, Subaru made a dramatic move with the Forester, changing it from an eccentric, tall station wagon to that of a more conventional small SUV designed to go head to head with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The Forester is an inoffensive design that assumes the silhouette of its competition. In other words, apart from the grill, it’s very hard to know you are looking at a Subaru. Our test car, finished in Sage Green Metallic seemed to make the Forester all the more transparent. That said, high-end touches such as chrome door handles and aluminum roof rails added a touch of class to its appearance. It would take a pretty astute Subie fan to note we were driving a turbocharged Forester, as a hood scoop and dual exhaust pipes are the only exterior hints of the extra power. From outside, the hood scoop isn’t really noticeable, but from the driver’s seat it is extremely pronounced, and does no favors in forward visibility.
Subaru’s are traditionally known for purposeful, but somewhat austere cabins, so it was a little odd to climb into a a plush, fully-featured Forester. The seats were comfortable, but offered no lateral support. Apart from aluminum pedals and an interesting weave on the floor mats, there isn’t much to differentiate the Subaru from any other small SUV. The gauges were crystal clear, and most controls were intuitive to use. However, the audio and navigation interface seem behind that of the competition, and it puzzled me to no end that I could not figure out how to manually move from one satellite radio station to the next. It shouldn’t have to be that hard, guys. Stranger still were the cupholders in the center console-they were squares. With my wife’s iced coffee moving around I was terrified to approach corners with any level of enthusiasm for fear of the cup flying out of its square. Awful design. Fix it. In its favor, the Forester boasts a roomy cabin, a comfy rear seat with copious leg room, and an impressive amount of cargo space. I did wonder how our test car’s light-grey leather interior would stand up to the wear, tear and abuse a typical family would exact on this car.
Subaru recently overhauled its engines for the Forester. True to form, Subaru continues to offer a boxer four cylinder, this time a 2.5L rated at 170hp. This engine can be teamed to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Our test car was equipped with the turbocharged 2.5L, good for 224hp, but the only transmission available is the four-speed automatic. While the tranny has no glaring issues in performance or execution, Subaru is down one or two cogs its competition offers. In other words, this transmission is an antique, and should have been updated when the engines were. Naturally, all Foresters have all-wheel drive. Our turbocharged Subaru offered plenty of pep around town, and hit highway ramps with authority. I’d have preferred a firmed up suspension and more steering feel to go along with the quickness, but again, I know Subaru is going for a broader market, and the 2.5XT was never meant as an Impreza WRX SUV. That said, the ride quality is about where it should be for a family friendly small SUV.
A base Forester will run you $20,495USD, but our test car was the top-spec 2.5XT Touring model. Standard features included HID headlights, panoramic power moonroof (it’s huge), dual-zone auto climate control, Bluetooth, power driver’s seat, leather heated seats and a rear vision camera. The only factory option was GPS navigation, which brought our as-delivered price to $32,320. The price may sound high for a Forester, but it actually falls right between a top-spec Honda CR-V which has less power, and a V-6 powered Toyota RAAV4 which is more powerful, so taking that into account, our test car seems priced right for its power and features.
But the question remains-did Subaru sell itself out in its quest for greater marketshare? Did they abandon the loyal buyers who have supported them for decades? The simple answer is no, they have not. All Foresters continue to have all-wheel drive as standard equipment. A boxer, horizontally opposed four cylinder resides under the hood, and Subaru continues to support turbocharging as they have since the early 1980′s. These are the basic ingredients that make a Subaru a Subaru, and in spite of more conventional styling, Subaru has remained true to what has defined them as a car company.
In sum, the Forester can sit comfortably with the best in its class. With an improved audio/navigation interface, a six-speed automatic and some workable cupholders, Subaru has the potential to keep the sales momentum of the Forester going strong.