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Subaru Forester (2014)


  • The triumph of function over design.
  • Large doors provide easy access, and large windows provide good visibility, especially out the back.
  • Good, simple, affordable, basic transportation with the added safety of all-wheel drive. Base Forester available in the low 20s—pretty affordable for a car with all-wheel drive.
  • Very good fuel economy for its class. We got mid 25-27 MPG in mixed driving.
  • The 2014 felt a bit less tinny than the previous Forrester, with a bit less road noise that we’re used to in this model.
  • Good, firm handling.
  • Latest electronic safety features are at least available, even if it’s as an option.
  • The usual Subaru all-wheel drive is time-tested and reliable. In many other respects, this is a tried and true design. You should expect to get 150k miles out of a new Forester—with a repair caveat, noted below.
  • Great car for the person who swears by Consumer Reports and couldn’t care less about image. The ultimate in practical, economical cars for people in snowy climates. Subaru checked all the boxes with this car: decent fuel mileage, not too big, not too small, all-wheel drive, room in the back… what else do you want?


  • A triumph of function over design. Not a looker.
  • Ride is on the firm side.
  • As good as they are, Subarus are not quite as reliable as Toyotas and Hondas. We see a number of Subarus in our shop with 100,000 miles or even sometimes a bit less, having expensive issues with oil leaks or head gaskets. Until we see evidence to the contrary, we’d expect this level of reliability with the 2014 model. For this reason alone, we’d be hard pressed to take a Forester over a Honda CRV.
  • There are no knobs for the radio controls. If you’re traveling out of your home area and your existing presets aren’t useful, you need to turn to the screen—which is both annoying and dangerous.
  • All gussied up, the Forester can cost as much as $33k. In our opinion, that’s no longer a bargain for what you’re getting. The Honda CRV would be a much better option, if you’re looking at the higher-end Forester. It’s more reliable, better put together, better looking, and can probably be had for less.

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