2012 Subaru Forester 2.5X 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
The Forester replaced a 2006 Mazda5 plagued with rear suspension problems. Tempted by the 33 mpg claim, I looked at the new Escape, but couldn't find real-world mileage reports and, in August, dealers were asking $25K+ for 2WD. I found a 5-speed Forester for $18.5K, and bought it. The 27 mpg estimate didn't thrill me, but it's actually done much better; at 4K up to 31 highway and ~22 city, though highway mileage drops quickly above 65 mph. This is a little better than the Mazda got, plus, with AWD, I can get out of the garage when there's more than 3 inches of snow, which was tough for the Mazda. I had a '96 Outback that held up very well for more than 100K miles, and hope this will as well.
Large, comfortable interior with plenty of back seat leg room for adult children
Symetrical AWD sounds like a gimmick, but it really improves handling and slippery surface performance by eliminating torque steer
Very solid on bumpy roads, smooth on highway, handles well
Carries a lot on top and in back
Decent mileage for a car of this size with AWD
Middle back seat belt is difficult to use
Could use a cabin air filter -- I never knew how much I liked filters until I again started smelling diesel fumes instantly when behind trucks, and found myself wiping dust off the windshield every few days in this car
Radio sounds like something out of a '59 Plymouth
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