Subaru is upgrading their lineup with an all new Legacy for 2010, and while we enjoyed driving the larger sedan, we have to admit that the 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited we recently test drove offered a similar experience to the old four door wagon alternative, and that is certainly not a bad thing. Like all Subarus our Forester came from the factory with symmetrical all wheel drive so it can go anywhere, because it is a Forester the cabin is quite roomy and thanks to the boxy layout there is plenty of storage space for whatever adventure you can dream up.
Our 2010 Subaru Forester had fun written all over it from the tall stance to the oversized fog lights, moon roof and bold 17 inch rims that looked strong and sturdy enough thanks to their thick spokes to get the Forester anywhere you can imagine. The car’s 2.5 Liter Boxer engine makes 170 HP and thanks to Subaru’s SPORTSHIFT four speed automatic is about as much fun as you can have while getting as much as 26 MPG on the highway in a Low Emissions Vehicle with anything from your band’s equipment to your children’s soccer gear in the trunk.
Not only was the outside of our Subaru Forester 2.5 Limited energetic, the interior was well adorned with leather wrapped surfaces, a large LCD navigation display that only added to the appeal of the spacious cabin. Our Forester also came standard with a host of safety features like six air bags, ABS, VDC, four wheel disk brakes, a reinforced chassis developed by the WRC championship winning automaker and a whole bunch of five star safety ratings to back it up.
Continued after the jump.
Our Camellia Red Pearl Subaru Forester was completely redesigned back in 2008 when the Japanese automaker took the go anywhere small SUV’s classic two box shape and added a bit more aggressive styling. Everything from the new sweeping headlights to the thick bar across the top of the grill and large round fog lights makes the Forester’s front end seem more playful and fun than before, adequately showing off the car’s go anywhere attitude.
Our Forester 2.5X rode on a set of 17 inch rims that were designed with a groove that runs the length of each spoke making it look like a split five spoke wheel when in fact it is just five thick ones that are wrapped in some off road capable rubber. The sporty alloys are housed inside a set of bolstered wheel arches both front and back that push the quadruped’s hoes to the far corners of the SUV adding to the Forester’s capable stance.
The outside of our Subaru Forester also featured a few simple touches that go a long way to making the compact cargo carrier look anything but ordinary. Touches like the oversized moon roof, reflective chrome finishes on the door handles and taillight surround, black plastic fog light covers and bumper moldings with a true dual exhaust out back exude fun for the more upright wagon alternative.
Anyone who is familiar with the inside of a Subaru will feel right at home inside of the new Forester. The car features the same layout as most of the other cars in the Japanese automaker’s lineup. Starting off with an attractive set of gauges highlighted by a glowing blue band in the background, moving onto the slit in the dashboard that tells you what time it is and then down to the easy to use air conditioning controls we come across a very nice touch screen navigation unit has Bluetooth built in and the infotainment system is made up of an AM/FM/XM radio with an in dash CD player as well as auxiliary audio and video inputs is well worth the premium.
The metallic swatches that we loved in the Impreza are here to separate the two tone dash point down to a leather wrapped shifter that is covered in the same cow hide as the seats and steering wheel. A few other upscale touches that made our 2.5X quite convenient were power door locks and a one touch driver’s window. The door panels are made up of an interesting combination of painted plastic and soft cowhide along with shiny door handles that add to the high class feel of our Limited model. By far the best part of our Forester’s interior was the ridiculously oversized panoramic moon roof that extends so far back that rear passengers might want to put sunscreen on their knees. The opening is so large that when driving around with it retracted all the way, it made you feel as if you were driving a convertible. The Japanese engineered perfectly designed the unit so that the other position that it automatically goes to is the perfect opening distance so that it doesn’t create an annoying pressure differential that will wobble your ear drums.
The Forester has plenty of space to put all of your junk in its trunk. The large squared off opening not only makes the car look a bit menacing from behind, but it also allows for everything from grocery bags to camping gear to be taken in and out with ease. An interesting element we first saw on the Subaru Forester are the pegs that stick out from the back of the rear doors and fit perfectly into what looks like a door lock adding extra rigidity and security to the large piece of hinged sheet metal. The Forester also comes equipped with Subaru’s advance frontal airbag system consists of dual front, side curtain and seat mounted airbags to protect the passengers; adding another sense of security to an enjoyable driving experience.
The first thing you feel after getting behind the wheel of any Subaru vehicle is the company’s symmetrical all wheel drive system that allows it to handle like a sports car and despite a bit of body roll, do things that defy what you think a compact SUV can do. Just like the name suggests, our Forester 2.5X is powered by a 2.5 Liter SOHC 16 valve boxer engine equipped with the Japanese automaker’s i-Active Valve Lift System that increases horsepower and improves fuel economy. The flat four cylinder engine is connected to a 4 speed electronically controlled automatic with SPORTSHIFT manual control and cranks out a maximum of 170 HP and 170 lb-ft of torque while burning 20 MPG around town and 26 MPG at highway speeds, classifying it as a low emissions vehicle.
The Subaru Forester is undoubtedly safe, receiving a five star rating in almost every impact category except for only receiving four in the rollover group, but after seeing so many of Subaru’s ring shaped construction WRC rally cars go end over end and have the drivers walk away, this is not a major concern especially when you combine it with the Subaru advance frontal airbag system that we mentioned earlier. The Japanese automaker is also making a big deal about their new Vehicle Dynamics Control system, the “VDC constantly monitors vehicle stability. It senses impending loss of control, and applies individual brakes and/or reduces engine power to help keep you on your intended path.” Honestly we never felt like we were ever in danger when behind the wheel of the Subaru Forester, but maybe that was just the VDC working seamlessly without us noticing.
Why to Buy?
If you are looking for a good, reliable vehicle that can carry as much cargo as you will ever need short of going to work for UPS and allows you to go anywhere while still being fun to drive you should seriously consider driving a Subaru Forester. Our car’s only premium was $1,800 for the touchscreen navigation unit, although it is a bit pricey, the unit goes a long way to sprucing up the Forester’s interior and isn’t that much a part of our car’s $28,919 suggested retail price.
Why not to Buy?
Although it is quite capable going off road, our Forester 2.5X won’t be winning any hill climbing championships in the near future. If you want everything that is great about our Forester Limited, but with the added boost of a turbocharger, then consider the Forester 2.5 XT with one of Subaru’s 2.5 Liter turbocharged flat four bangers bumping out 224 HP though the Japanese automaker’s symmetrical all wheel drive system.
Top Speed Final Verdict
The 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited is a safe, fun and economical way to get you and your belongings anywhere from the grocery store to the Great Smokey Mountains. The Forester has an attractive exterior and enough space to bring all your friends and enough stuff on the adventure of a lifetime, because with Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive system you really can go anywhere.