2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited Review

Friday February 26th, 2016 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

By David Colman

Hypes: Airy Cabin, Practical Load Capacity
Gripes: EyeSight Annoyance, Noisy Powertrain

Subaru pioneered the crossover SUV with the original Forrester. The 2016 model marks the fourth revision of that first model. This 3,370 pound mini SUV retails for $28,795 in Limited trim. With a wheelbase of 105 inches, it will comfortably accommodate five adults with room to spare under the hatchback for all their belongings. If you drop the rear seats flat, 68 cubic feet of cargo will slip through that back door unhindered. With its spacious and standard panoramic moonroof, the interior of the Forester is airy and habitable for long trips. Although it looks decidedly homey from outside, from within it feels just like home.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

The practicality motif extends to the engine compartment where a modest displacement four cylinder engine of 2.5 liters churns out 170hp and 174lb.-ft. of torque. This rather noisy power source feeds drive to all four wheels through a CVT transmission that offers only L (Low) and D (Drive) ranges. At full cry, the gearbox and the engine conspire to produce such a clatter that you will hesitate to use full throttle due to noise overload. The upside here is that during an extensive week of driving, the Forester’s fuel gauge never dropped below a quarter of a tank. The EPA rates this SUV at a respectable 27 MPG in overall city and highway usage.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

The cabin of the Forester is tall enough to permit excellent visibility in all directions for front and rear seat passengers. Subaru has invested substantial effort in making the interior livable. Welcome heated front seats are perfect for cold morning drive-offs. The contoured door pockets hold a variety of oddments with ease, including drink bottles. The sun visors are thoughtfully elongated to compensate for the unusual height of the windshield. The tailgate door can be commanded to open with a nudge of the key fob remote control. A push button on the bottom edge of the rear door shuts it automatically. All these features make the Forester exceptionally handy and comfortable.

Handling of this Subaru is acceptable, but you won’t buy this SUV because it’s a road burner. The Limited model includes 17 inch alloy wheels shod with Yokohama Geolander S91 tires measuring 225/60R17 at each corner. These tires afford better inclement weather adhesion than dry weather performance. Consequently, the Forester adheres well on rain soaked pavement, but tends to understeer when pushed hard on dry road surfaces. Also, due to its high center of gravity, the Forester feels somewhat top heavy when directional changes are made. Ride quality is choppy over rough pavement.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

Our test Forester’s all up price of $31,790 included $2,145 for a package providing navigation, harman/kardon audio, and EyeSight. The latter inclusion, EyeSight, brings together a number of autonomous features which Subaru hopes will increase your driving safety. I found most of EyeSight’s benefits to be of negligible use and would definitely not order the package for my Forester. The Lane Keep Assist is a nuisance which I turned off at every opportunity, the radar cruise control can be better accomplished by exercising your throttle foot, and the system’s collision avoidance warnings proved obtrusive and unwarranted. Subaru claims that EyeSight will go so far as to cut throttle or apply brakes when it senses an imminent collision. I would prefer to remain in charge of both those departments until further notice.

Of course, you can save yourself the extra $2,175, but you’ll have to do without the useful navigation part of the package, as well as the upgraded sound system. When it comes to dashboard layout, Subaru’s Forester could stand some revisions. For example, if you want to perform a task as simple as changing the direction of air flow from footwell to face, you need to access the “Mode” dial on the right side of the center dash panel, then search for a tiny pictograph located a foot away from the rotary Mode dial. The whole sequence is unacceptable and ripe for rethinking.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

In sum, the Forester, despite its handling and ergonomic deficiencies, presents a good case for purchase if you’re looking for inexpensive city transport with a flair for all terrain travel. This SUV offers special X-Mode management of reduced speed off-road duty. Active torque split all wheel drive management is designed for trail running under 12mph. At 25mph, X-Mode’s electronically managed, continuously variable transfer clutch realigns itself automatically to normal all wheel drive settings. That’s a lot of technology for less than thirty grand.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

  • Engine: opposed 4 with fuel injection
  • Horsepower: 170hp @ 5800rpm
  • Torque: 174lb.-ft. @ 4100rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 24MPG City/32MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $31,790
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Subaru |Tags:, , || No Comments »

Review: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring

Friday March 21st, 2014 at 1:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Great Sightlines in All Directions, EyeSight Is Useful Option
Gripes: Unreadable LCD Touch Screen

The all new 2014, 4th generation Forester looks enough like its immediate predecessor to confuse you into believing Subaru has simply revised the sheet metal a bit. But a quick look at the specification sheet reveals the new Forester, at 181 inches in length and 71 inches in height, stands 1.5 inches longer and 2.1 inches taller than the version it replaces. The additional height is most noticeable when you enter the airy new cabin without ducking your head. In fact, if you’re feeling all hat and no cattle, go ahead and wear that ten gallon Stetson. You still won’t graze the roof liner, even when your Forester comes equipped with the huge Panoramic Power Moonroof that is standard issue on the Touring model. The extra length translates into added rear seat legroom, enabling aft passengers to lounge without knocking knees. Even the cargo hold is more spacious than before, growing to 74.7 cubic feet from 68.3 cubic feet when the split back seats are folded flat.

Of course, the extra size comes at a slight penalty in added weight, as the new Forester, at 3,415 pounds, carries an extra 164 pounds when compared to the previous model. However, the performance disadvantage you might expect from the additional weight is offset by the new CVT transmission, which has finally made its way to the Forester model line. Having introduced the very first CVT transmission to the US market in its Justy model back in 1988, Subaru has more experience with continuously variable transmissions than any other manufacturer. The breeding shows in the Forester application, where the CVT operates seamlessly, always offering just the right rpm range for the 2.5 liter flat 4 to operate optimally. There’s invariably enough zip on tap to master any merge or pass you might undertake. If you really feel the need for more speed, you can upgrade your 170hp Forester to the optional 258hp 2 liter, turbocharged 4. Bear in mind that the turbo will use more gas than the base motor, which manages 27 MPG in overall driving. Regardless of engine choice, the Forester is tow rated at a commendable 2,400 pounds.

When equipped with the newly available “EyeSight” driver assistance package ($2,400), the Forester is one of the safest vehicles you can buy in terms of crash prevention. Subaru has perfected its lane keeping program by seamlessly integrating EyeSight’s information stream into your driving routine – without the annoying chirps and buzzers so many other manufacturers favor. If you start to wander from your intended direction of travel, EyeSight will simply flash an orange warning light on the info panel between the 8,000rpm tachometer and the 150mph speedometer. The package also provides pre- collision braking and throttle management. Keyless access is included as well as high intensity discharge (HID) headlights. If you are inclined to favor such driver aids as EyeSight, you’ll discover that Subaru’s system puts most others to shame. Just be forewarned that you cannot attach anything to your windshield without disrupting the view of the twin CCD (charge coupled device) cameras attached to either side of the rear view mirror. Also, scratched windshields must be replaced with genuine Subaru glass to maintain the integrity of the system.

The Touring Forester utilizes a grip enhancing rubber cargo mat in the trunk compartment that helps stabilize loose items. The rear hatch features automatic lift when you pull the up on the indented exterior handle, as well as automatic closure. The interior carpets are covered with loose weave sisal mats that were all the rage 40 years ago when they were known as cocoa mats. They still work well and look great, and I’m not sure why they ever disappeared. Subaru has seen fit to provide 3 nice chunky knobs for the heating and ventilation system. Would that they had done the same for the entertainment/navigation unit, which requires you to input commands to a 6.1 inch LCD touch screen that is virtually impossible to read in daylight. The good news, however, is that the navigation unit is standard equipment on the Touring model, and the Bluetooth enabled AM/FM/HD/SIRIUS radio thumps out a whopping base through its Harmon Kardon 440 Watt amp and speaker system.

You won’t win any road races with the Forester because its handling suffers from its high center of gravity, and the Yokohama G91 Geolander tires (225/60R17) confer modest grip. But no one buys this Subaru to win races. Its appeal lies in its consummate practicality, standard all wheel drive traction, spunky pancake 4 engine, new CVT drive train, and above all, its unsurpassed interior spaciousness. If all that isn’t worth a relatively modest investment of $33,220, good luck bettering this combo elsewhere.

2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Touring

  • Engine: 2.5 Liter Opposed 4, Electronic Fuel Injection
  • Horsepower: 170hp
  • Torque: 177 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 24 MPG City/32 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $33,220
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, Subaru |Tags:, , || No Comments »

2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Review

Monday March 7th, 2011 at 3:33 PM
Posted by: mash

By Mary Ellen Ash


  • Excellent interior space – leg-room and storage
  • Standard All-Wheel Drive
  • Good MPG – 21 city, 27 hwy (25.5 mpg observed)
  • Integrated GPS, stereo, and Bluetooth
  • Extra large moonroof


  • Minimalist center console
  • Cheap plastic interior and poor panel alignment
  • Uninspired vehicle design
  • Uncomfortable rear seating

Verdict: Not fancy or overly stylish, but it is rugged, reliable and versatile for many occasions

The Subaru Forester is one of Subaru’s best selling vehicles — a five-passenger mid-sized SUV that offers impressive interior and cargo space, good fuel economy,  and standard AWD  — making it a strong contender for active SUV shoppers and outdoor enthusiasts who are on a budget. Subaru is well known for building very practical cars, minimizing all the frills to give you an economical car that gets the job done. Period. As with its previous iterations, the current Subaru Forester is still a strong entry in the constantly growing mid-sized SUV segment and is comparable to its best-selling competitors from Honda and Toyota.

Read the rest of this entry »

page 1 page 2

Posted in Expert Reviews, Subaru |Tags:, , || No Comments »

The Mother of All Cars

Sunday May 10th, 2009 at 2:55 AM
Posted by: asgruben

By Adrienne Gruben

Flipping channels, I stopped on a cop show rerun – a police pursuit of a young couple running lights, hopping curbs and then screeching to a stop in front of an ER. The wife spilled onto the sidewalk…and delivered a baby. Awwww. Ok, they were drug dealers, but it got me thinking about Moms and the cars that drove them to give birth. Since it is Mother’s Day, I decided to poke around for stories of Moms, newborns and the cars they rode in on.

1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville finsCadillac
In a Boston suburb in 1962, Mrs. Castignetti went into labor with child number five, and she knew she had to act fast.  A four-time Mom’s labor can be short, so the Castignettis jumped into their 1959 silver Cadillac Sedan Deville and took off. With HP and weight comparable to, say, today’s Nissan Titan, the 1959 Sedan Deville was part of an elite club of GM luxury cars from an era where a spectacular bottle of Bordeaux would be called “the cadillac of wines”.  But it wasn’t just glamorous, it was wild. How Stuff Works wrote, “What can’t be disputed is that the 1959 Cadillacs, defined by those saber-edged fins and projectile taillamps, are among the most evocative objects of the 20th Century. What precisely they evoke is open to interpretation, and that’s part of the magic.” So it should surprise no one that of the 16 newborns at the hospital, the youngest Castignetti really stood out. Through the maternity window, amidst a sea of only pink blankets, Albert Castignetti slept right in the middle, wrapped in blue. An early standout, Albert Castignetti eventually became Vice President and General Manager of the Nissan Division, maker of, among other vehicles, the Titan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Feature Articles, Ford, hybrid, Nissan, Press and News |Tags:, , || 1 Comment »

2009 Subaru Forester Review – The right tool for the job

Tuesday February 10th, 2009 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: AKramer

By Alex Kramer


  • Boxer engine provides plenty of torque
  • All-wheel drive traction
  • Lots of interior room
  • Huge panoramic sunroof


  • Dated 4 speed transmission
  • Suspension is a bit soft
  • Bland interior/exterior design
  • Too many rattles and buzzes

Step into some cars these days and you think you’ve entered some high tech penthouse, with LCD screens everywhere, more buttons and knobs than a recording studio, and leather upholstery as far as the eye can see. With all this technology and creature comfort it is easy to forget that a car is still fundamentally a tool. We use them to do a job, whether it be driving to and from work every day, or hauling a bunch of gear to the game, or navigating safely through a nasty storm. Preferably they do these jobs efficiently and reliably, with little fuss or muss.

Subaru has long made cars that are meant to be more practical than posh. With lots of interior room, all-wheel drive standard on every model, and gutsy boxer engines, Subarus are the go-to choice for hikers, mountain bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. One of Subaru’s best selling and most practical models is the Forester, a car that can’t quite figure out if it is a station wagon or an SUV. Revised for 2009, we took the new Forester out for a week of bike hauling, back roading, and even grocery getting to see if this practical car would be the right tool for the job.

Driving Impressions

2009 Subaru Forester - Subaru symmetrical AWDLike every Subaru, the Forester comes standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive, which is fully active and provides power from the engine to all four wheels simultaneously. Due to a week of sunny skies and record warm temperatures, we weren’t able to drive the Forester in conditions that would put the system to the test, but a few hard launches in a dirt lot did demonstrate its ability to distribute thrust to all four wheels without even a hint of wheelspin. Although the Forester still drives more like a car than most small SUVs, the new model rides taller than before and provides outstanding ground clearance, a plus for those who plan to take it off-road.


Like previous model years, the Forester comes with 2 engine options: base X models come with a 2.5 L boxer 4 cylinder that produces 170 hp and 170 lb-ft torque, while XT models feature a turbocharged version of the same engine that ups the power to 224 hp and 226 lb-ft torque. Our tester came with the regular engine, which although not a powerhouse, still provides plenty of thrust for driving around town. The torque curve is also nice and flat, so much of the power is available at low RPMs. The engine does come up a bit short when accelerating hard (0-60 takes over 10 seconds) or driving in the mountains, so speed freaks should definitely order the turbo.

2009 Subaru Forester - 2.5-liter SOHC Subaru Boxer engine

Unfortunately, Subaru decided to also carryover the 4 speed automatic transmission from last year. Although this is a functionally competent slushbox, the dated design definitely limits the potential of the engine. Driving in the mountains means lots of lurching between 2nd and 3rd gear, as the engine tries in vane to respond to the inputs from the gas pedal. Even on flatland the lack of available gear ratios means that at certain speeds the engine will be caught flatfooted if you need to accelerate suddenly, such as when merging onto the freeway. The transmission does feature a sport mode that allows for manual shifting, but this does little to make up for the lack of gears.


Take the Forester out for a spin and it’s immediately apparent that the suspension has been tuned more for ride quality than handling. The rear shocks are especially soft and almost wallow in their travel, causing the car to pitch back and forth a bit after hitting larger bumps. Once you get used to the soft suspension, the Forrester will reveal itself to be a fairly capable car in the twisties. Grip from the 17” all-season tires is quite good and braking is solid, but steering response is vague, which makes it hard to precisely position the car through a corner. Although the Forester is not as top-heavy as most SUV’s and is definitely more agile, those looking to tear up the backroads would probably be better off in a WRX.

(Continued on page 2)

page 1 page 2

Posted in Expert Reviews, Subaru |Tags:, || No Comments »

Latest Reviews

Select a Category