Subaru Forester adds room, comfort for 2009
There are folks who stumble along looking for the vehicle that will fit their lifestyle without seeing what's in front of their eyes. The Subaru Forester is that kind of car. I'm often asked to suggest the best car for a person's circumstances and when I suggest the Subaru Forester it's interesting to see the reaction. "Well, I didn't think of a Forester," many reply. Well, they should, particularly now that it's larger and more accommodating. Stretching the wheelbase opened an amazing amount of room in the rear seat. Combined with a little revamping of the rear door, which makes it easy for me and my size-13 shoes to slide in and out, the rear compartment is roomy. The longer wheelbase also adds stability and smoothes out the ride. This effortlessness is quite noticeable while traversing the expansion joints common on far too many highways. Couple this larger stance on the road with Subaru's electronic stability control labeled Vehicle Dynamics Control and you get a vehicle that is responsive and helps the driver maintain control even in unpredictable situations. As is the case with all Subaru vehicles, the Forester comes equipped with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. While you may not think of a Subaru as an off-road, hill-climbing vehicle, the car can surprise you.Powered by two configurations of a 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine, the Forester even in standard form has plenty of power to scoot up an on-ramp and easily merge into traffic. The 2.5X model is outfitted with a normally aspirated engine that produces 170 horsepower and will satisfy most drivers. However, if you prefer more power, the 2.5XT models will fill your wants. The "T" stands for turbocharged and this boost puts 224 horsepower at your disposal. Also typical of Subaru vehicles, the Forester offers a myriad of storage and cargo-carrying abilities. Fold the rear seats and you get more than enough room for whatever you carry on weekend outings. With the redesign and the use of a double-wishbone, rear suspension system, the Forester provides more than 5 inches more space between wheel housings. The Forester continues to be a vehicle I can readily recommend to friends and family with confidence. Even those of you living in the sunshine states will appreciate that the Forester isn't just for bad weather anymore.
Ron Moorhead, a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, can be reached at [email protected]