CarCorner Review: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0 XT Premium

Click to read more about Cathy.

Click to read more about Cathy.

You Can’t See The Forester For The Trees 

By Cathy Droz –

I owned and drove a station wagon from 1979 to 1982.  It was a Chevy wagon and it held three children under the age of four in car seats that were secured with bungee cords and seat belts. I would visit my parents, who were 75 miles away, equipped with playpen (not pack and play), double stroller and two diaper bags.   I loved my wagon despite my peers who drove Miatas leaving me in their wake of dust, or the occasional smirk from someone looking at me, assuming I was destined to overpopulate humanity.Subaru Forester Full Shot

When did “station wagon” become a bad word?  Well, I know there are crossovers and SUV’s that look like a wagon and function like a wagon, but will not admit they are.  OK, Subaru, call the Forester XT Premium a sport utility or crossover activities wagon if you wish, but you should be proud to say you’ve created the station wagon for people and families with an active lifestyle.

I loved driving the 2014 fourth generation Forester and must admit, my favorite one at that. It competes with the Chevy Equinox, Toyota Rav 4, Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V as well as a few others, but for a family who is active in sports and outdoor hobbies, there is no “other.”Subaru Interior

The Forester seats five adults comfortably or two adults and three children with car seats, minus the bungee cords, in the second row. There was plenty of head room for my six-foot tall husband and leg room for three Heidi Klums in the back seat (he wished).

The 2014 kept the basic look of the Forester, but there is a new grille, smooth sculpted side sheet metal that flows into the tail lamps, like a great plastic surgeon tightening the skin, for a more appealing appearance and aerodynamics.  Subaru gave the 2014 more of a SUV look, unless you get the Turbo, where the look is a little bolder and the hood scoop seems to be gone.

The interior has not changed much, but a true Subaru groupie would not want more than a subtle improvement.  The major gains were in gas mileage. (See specs)Subaru Forester Cargo

Like all Subaru models the car handles well and is equipped with a new electric-power-assisted steering system and revised rear suspension. The ride was soft but controlled, giving me the best of both worlds. The car (station wagon) comes standard with Subaru’s highly acclaimed symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, which gave me the confidence for any kind of weather conditions.

Even though I’m past the 70’s and hauling  my own next generation, I can’t help but think the Forester would have been the best form of transportation for my family of five  and still allow us to be active and cool when the car seats were removed and the Cheerios vacuumed out.

Subaru with Bikes in SnowWhether you think the Subaru is a crossover, SUV or a station wagon, it really doesn’t matter, as long as it fits your needs.  Whether you are a biker, kayak enthusiasts or share driving with the Nanny, you will not be disappointed.  For a real adventure check out the Motor Trends YouTube review as the Forester treks through Africa looking for the rare white Rhino.  Safari in Africa or ski the slopes of Snowbowl, your Forester can do it all.  But please no bungee cords.*

*They were used in conjunction with seatbelts of the l970’s. The safety car seats were not the standards of today and as an overly protective mother I used four bungee cords. I was naive. 

Specs on Forester 2.0 XT Premium

Dual Moonroof – Power Tilt/Sliding Sunroof

Driver and Passenger Air Bag/Side and Rear Head Air Bag, Side Air Bag

4-wheel ABS – Towing – Hitch is an option

All-Wheel Drive – 4-Cylinder Engine

Turbocharged – Horsepower 250 @ 5,600

Transmission CVT w/OD – Automatic

Gas Mileage:  24 City 32 Hwy.

Pricing:  $21,8l4 to $32,995

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  1. Holly Cabell says:

    I was just curious if you actually put three car seats in the back or if you were staying that it can handle three. I will soon have three in car seats and was trying to find someone who successfully got all three in the back of their Forrester.Thanks!

    • Hello, Holly. Thanks for your comment. Here is a response for the author, Cathy Droz.

      Direct from the Engineers at Subaru Corporate Re: Rear seat, center seating position
      “Installing a child restraint system is not recommended, although the A/ELR seatbelt and an upper anchorage (tether anchorage, if equipped) are provided in this position. Some types of child restraints might not be able to be secured firmly due to projection of the seat cushion. In this seating position, you should use only a child restraint system that has a bottom base that fits snugly against the contours of the seat cushion and can be securely retained using the seatbelt. If it is unavoidable to install a child restraint system in the rear seat’s center seating position, remove the center head restraint, and install the child restraint system by correctly passing the rear center seatbelt through the belt guide.”

      From Cathy: *If* she decides to buy the vehicle and use all three rear seat locations for child seat and if she is going to use the LATCH system with the rear center seat she needs to measure the separation of the lower tether locations and consult with her child seat manual to determine if that degree of separation is OK. Since there are no lower tethers specifically for the rear center seat, using the inboard tethers from the puts the spacing on the wide side. This may be OK for some child seats, and not for others.

      Hopefully this answers your question – thanks for your readership!

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