Subaru previously took their time with Forester redesigns, with the car's basics going nearly unchanged through most of the last decade. But Subaru is no longer letting the Forester rest on its laurels. While still highly competitive, the all-new-in-2009 Forester comes in for a thorough update for 2014.
In many ways, the Forester now catches up with the rest of Subaru's line. Thankfully, gone is the antiquated four-speed automatic. Instead, the 2014 Forester gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an electric power steering to boost fuel economy. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine still makes 170 horsepower, while the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo sees output climb 26 horses to 250 hp.
The interior gets a significant upgrade from the plain-Jane ambiance of the current car with soft-touch surfaces thrown in. Plus, rear legroom has been increased by three inches, with just a scant 1.4-inch increase in overall length. A rearview camera is standard and a power liftgate is optional. Another new feature is X-Mode. This button appropriates the right amount of torque between the front and rear axles to make the Forester better in light off-road conditions, such as sand and mud.
At the LA Auto Show, a quick survey of the engine bay reveals several padded sound-deadening materials. Subaru officials readily admit that they needed it. Indeed among our few complaints regarding the Subaru Impreza, the Forester's mechanical cousin, is that it is loud.
The new Forester will also offer Subaru's EyeSight technology as an option. This suite of advanced safety features such as lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning and mitigation is unusual among small SUVs.
The revitalized Forester goes on sale in March 2013.
See our complete 2012 LA Auto Show coverage.