The Subaru Forester has made a name for itself in the compact crossover segement as a capable and comfortable vehicle that's just the right size for a lot of consumers. Bearing the traditional Subaru trait of standard all-wheel drive also helped it gain traction among adventurous buyers and those living in snowy climates. But buyers in any climate will like the ease of entry, spacious interior and driving experience that ranges between competent with the standard four-cylinder to brisk with the turbocharged engine. What's more, the Forester is available in lots of different trims and packages that are likely to suit a wide variety of consumers. The Forester also has a history of dependability among Subaru's loyal owners. Anyone looking for a capable crossover will find a lot to like in the Forester.
The base Forester is the 2.5X. Standard is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 170 horsepower going through all four wheels with a five-speed manual as standard. A four-speed automatic is optional. Power windows, locks and mirrors are also standard, along with Bluetooth, cruise control and a four-speaker audio system with AUX and USB inputs. The 2.5X is relatively rare on dealer lots, though. More buyers opt for the better-equipped 2.5X Premium, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, power driver's seat, telescopic adjustment to the tilt steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof and privacy glass.
The 2.5X Limited adds automatic transmission, heated front seats, windshield de-icer, heated mirrors, automatic climate control and a touchscreen radio with backup camera. The 2.5X Touring also boasts dual-zone automatic climate control, Xenon headlamps and premium audio system. The 2.5XT Premium is equipped similarly to the 2.5X Premium but adds the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 224 horsepower, also mated to a four-speed automatic. The top Forester trim is the 2.5XT Touring, which aside from the engine is identical to the 2.5X Touring.
The Honda CR-V is very spacious and efficient but only offers optional all-wheel drive and one four-cylinder engine that isn't terribly powerful. The Ford Escape has highly sophisticated optional features and three engines to choose from, but can be expensive and isn't the largest crossover in the segment. The Kia Sportage is attractive and very well-priced but is smaller and has a hard ride, especially on the sporty SX model. And the Volkswagen Tiguan's turbo four-cylinder is more than a match for the Forester's, while it has a nicer interior, but also costs much more.
While the Forester isn't the freshest design up against some brand new and visually exciting competitors, it does have most of the bases covered for crossover shoppers. Its upright design lends good visibility and there are both naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines to choose from. In addition, there's a wide variety of trim levels and packages to suit different budgets. For buyers looking for a competent and comfortable vehicle, especially those attracted to all-wheel drive, the Forester could fit the bill.
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