The Subaru Forester will be completely redesigned by the time it hits showrooms as a 2014 model this spring. The fourth-generation Forester is expected to maintain all the advantages that made it a hit in the crossover category, including standard all-wheel drive, an optional turbocharged engine and room to spare in the cabin and cargo hold.
Since its North American debut in 1997, the Forester has evolved from a compact wagon to a fully capable midsize crossover SUV. This newest redesign continues that growth and adds technical refinements and improved fuel efficiency.
The cabin finally appears to be on an equal footing with competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, both of which were redesigned for 2013.
The exterior has been updated as well. The old boxy shape and domed fenders are gone, replaced by a more curvaceous, streamlined body on a slightly longer wheelbase, and the lower edge of the windshield was moved forward a full 8 inches. It’s worth noting that the new Forester will still boast an immense cargo hold: With the back seats folded down, the rear storage area will offer nearly 75 cubic-feet of storage space.
Under the hood, the new Forester will feature an available turbocharged boxer which delivers 250 horsepower (hp) at 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The base engine, also a flat four, is missing the turbo but is still good for 170 hp. Despite hanging onto its standard all-wheel drive and high ground clearance, the Forester improved its overall fuel economy by a significant margin, claiming up to 32 mpg on the highway for the base engine and 28 mpg for the turbo.
As in prior years, the Forester will be divided into base, Premium, Limited and Touring editions, offering a wide range of options. The base models are expected to include standard features such as Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, full power, cruise, tilt wheel and more.
Premium and Limited editions will feature a rearview camera, roof rails and a panoramic sunroof as well as 17-inch wheels, powered driver seat and reclining rear seat. Both trim levels now include a six-speaker stereo system. The Touring editions up the ante with eight speakers — also available as an option for Premium and Limited models — as well as further entertainment and navigation upgrades.
Pricing is not yet available as of this writing for the 2014 Forester; MSRP for the 2013 ranges from $21,295 to $29,995. (Since this article was published in the magazine, Subaru announced retail pricing, which can be found here.)