Spacious interior; crisp, carlike handling; strong performance (2.5XT); all-wheel drive for every model; great vehicle for the Snow Belt
The Forester can be found in six different trims for 2012: base, Premium, Limited and Touring. But there's quite a difference between 2.5X and 2.5XT; 2.5X models come with a 170-horsepower, 2.5L horizontally opposed (?flat,' or ?boxer') 4-cylinder engine, while XT models---only offered in Limited or Touring guise--include a 224-horsepower turbocharged version.
Between the two powertrains, the Forester's on-the-road personality can be quite different. 2.5X models are adequate but not quick, whether you go with the standard 5-speed manual gearbox or 5-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5XT's turbocharged engine comes mated only to the 4-speed automatic, and they work well as a team, with an uninterrupted wave of torque for acceleration or passing.
The Forester rides and handles like a car, with a 4-wheel independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and a stiff body that extensively uses high-strength steel. But with 8.9 inches of ground clearance and symmetrical all-wheel drive on either model, the Forester has a surprisingly level of trail ability--as well as winter-driveway ability.
Seating is upright and supportive, the back seat is just roomy enough for a couple of adults (or three kids); and the boxy body affords a pretty good view out. Seats fold forward to an expanded cargo floor, and all models but the base 2.5X come with a reclining rear seatback and retractable rear cargo tray. In addition to the all-wheel drive system, which might be considered a safety system in itself, side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control with a rollover sensor and Brake Assist are among the many safety features that come standard in the 2012 Forester.
Base Forester 2.5X models include a strong list of convenience items, such as remote keyless entry, cruise control, a multi-function trip computer and a center console lid that can adjust to be an armrest. The base audio system also includes Bluetooth, hands-free calling and audio streaming, iPod controls, a USB port and Sirius satellite radio capability. Premium models get 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, tilt/telescopic steering adjustment, a panoramic moonroof and other upgrades. Limited models include perforated-leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps and an all-weather package bringing heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a wiper de-icer. Touring models get HID headlamps, mirror-integrated turn signals, silver-finish roof rails and a rear spoiler on the outside, plus dual-zone climate control, electroluminescent displays, a one-touch rear seat-folding arrangement and a rear-vision camera.
Newly available this year in the Limited model is a touch-screen navigation system with voice controls, iTunes tagging, text-messaging capability and HD radio. But for those who don't want to spend quite as much, there's also an optional TomTom navigation system, with a smaller, 4.3-inch screen; that system is removable and can display the input from a dealer-accessory rearview camera system.
For 2012, the Subaru Forester gets a new optional touch-screen navigation system that offers broadened connectivity and music-interface capabilities, as well as HD Radio. Also, all 2012 Forester models get a height-adjustable driver's seat.
The Forester is not especially rakish or overtly stylish, but it packs a lot of all-weather practicality and safety with surprisingly strong performance--especially in 2.5XT form. Forester 2.5XT models are stealth performance models, as they don't look all that much different from the 2.5X models yet are among the quickest crossover models at any price.
Because the Forester has a winning combination of all-wheel drive, a rather light weight and good ground clearance, it's one of the best choices for deep snow or muddy trails. Thanks to the rather boxy body style, its interior is surprisingly roomy and versatile compared to some other rival models that are about the same size on the outside.
Vehicle Price: 21,370.00
*Estimated payments are for informational purposes only and don't account for acquisition fees, destination charges, tax, title, and other fees and incentives or represent a financing offer or guarantee of credit from the seller.
Equipment that may affect values (standard equipment is pre-selected):
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