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2014 Subaru Forester gets put through the paces [video]

Consumer Reports has just received their first 2014 Subaru Forester and the consumer website gives their initial report after their first drive of the new crossover.


The 2014 Subaru Forester has been completely redesigned and has joined the Consumer Reports test fleet. Their testing has just begun, and their initial report is favorable as the new crossover has already made a good first impression on the consumer website. The new Forester gets new exterior styling, a larger interior, a new engine and improved fuel mileage. The fourth generation crossover has just arrived at Consumer Reports and they start by giving the new mid-size SUV its first drive.

Consumer Reports first drive

Consumer Reports liked the 2013 Subaru Forester and were initially afraid that Subaru “would screw up the 2014 Forester.” After all, the Forester has some core values that they didn’t want to see changed. And Subaru stayed true and kept the Forester’s good visibility, cargo carrying ability and versatility. The one negative that they mentioned after their first drive, was that the 2014 Forester does not come standard with a rear-view camera. Both the 2013 Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V feature a rear camera as standard equipment.

CR is testing the Premium model with the CVT (continuously variable transmission). It also includes the $500 all-weather package, which features heated front seats and mirrors. Their tester also has various add-ons, like a $272 self-dimming mirror, a $75 cargo tray, and $147 splash guards. The sticker price came to $26,814, “pretty much right in the sweet spot for small SUVs nowadays.”

New updates for the 2014 Forester

The first drive by CR found that the cargo area remains roomy and easy to access with a new liftgate option that isn’t all that common in this class. It also is easy to get in and out with new larger front doors for the 2014 model. The cabin has also been updated and “nicer than it used to be,” with better seats and more soft-touch materials. They liked the simple controls except for the touch-screen radio, and that the back seat is larger.

Mechanically, the new 2014 Forester gets a new CVT that provides a big jump in fuel economy. It also gets a new 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection Boxer engine. The first drive proved that the new turbo four-cylinder had “plenty of power,” and featured a new suspension and larger brakes. It also comes with a new X Mode for off-road capability that is not emphasized on other small SUVs. It also comes with a new EyeSight safety system with lane departure warning and collision warning that will automatically apply the brakes to avoid low-speed collisions.

Fourth-generation Forester should sell better

They feel the new Forester should compete well with the 2013 Toyota RAV4 that loses the V6 option and also the 2013 Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. They went on to say, “Subaru put a lot of effort into the new 2014 Forester and it should sell better than in the past. Forester is a super practical small SUV.”

As Consumer Reports accumulate break-in miles on their new blue 2014 Subaru Forester, they will see how it stacks up against other new and freshened small SUVs. All will compete for their small SUV Top Pick.

Watch the 2014 Subaru Forester first drive from Consumer Reports below: