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Used 2014 Subaru Forester SUV Review

2014 Subaru Forester SUV

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Subaru Forester SUV

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • A full redesign brings better fuel efficiency as well as greater interior room and refinement for the 2014 Subaru Forester. It's a top pick for a small to midsize crossover SUV.

  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive; roomy interior; very good fuel economy; stout turbocharged engine; off-road capability still a priority.

  • Cons

    Finicky touchscreen electronics interface; base engine is raucous at higher rpm.

  • What's New for 2014

    The 2014 Subaru Forester is completely redesigned.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Subaru Forester SUV

What's New for 2014

The 2014 Subaru Forester is completely redesigned.


We've long been impressed by the Subaru Forester's blend of utility, carlike comfort and all-weather capability. The redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester follows the same recipe, but Subaru has made key improvements: It's a bit larger than before so there's more interior room to accommodate families. In addition, fuel economy, never a strength of the previous Forester, now ranks near the top of the small-to-midsize crossover class thanks to updated engines and transmissions.

Much of the Subaru Forester's enduring appeal lies in the fact that it offers most of the traditional SUV attributes people really want and use -- full-time all-wheel drive, a little bit of extra ground clearance and hatchback utility -- without the bulk of a full-blown SUV. The 2014 Subaru Forester is still no Jeep or Range Rover off road, but with more ground clearance than its crossover competitors, the Forester is tough enough to tackle most dirt roads (or your driveway after a snowstorm), yet it still drives like a car in any other situation.

More important for most consumers, though, is the debut of a more efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT) on the 2014 Subaru Forester. It replaces last year's four-speed automatic, and it's the driving force behind the 2014 Forester's higher fuel economy ratings. Meanwhile, a six-speed manual transmission replaces last year's five-speed manual and also provides slighter better fuel economy than before. You still have two engine choices on the Subaru Forester: The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder carries over and continues to provide adequate power, but there's also a new, optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's more potent than the Forester XT's previous 2.5-liter turbo.

Inside, the cabin looks more contemporary than before and is fitted with higher-quality materials. You'll notice an increase in rear-seat legroom along with an even more expansive cargo area. Dropping the rear seats creates a vast hold that can handle anything from a full day of warehouse shopping to the bikes, tents and kayaks that the Forester's traditionally outdoor-oriented clientele like to bring along.

Of course, Subaru isn't the only automaker offering a quality small crossover SUV. The Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape handle better on-road and have nicer interiors, while it's tough to beat the all-around appeal of the nicely packaged Honda CR-V. There's no going wrong with the well-equipped Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, either. Given all the competition in the compact-to-midsize crossover SUV class, we certainly recommend shopping around some. But if interior space and light-duty off-road capability are priorities for you, the 2014 Subaru Forester is a solid choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Subaru Forester is a compact crossover available in six trim levels: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 2.5i Touring, all with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring, both with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

Standard equipment on the 2.5i includes 17-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. Satellite radio is optional.

The 2.5i Premium adds 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, a multifunction display, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a fold-down rear armrest, HD radio capability and six speakers for the sound system. Once you get to the 2.5i Premium trim, available options are an All-Weather package (heated side mirrors and heated front seats) and a touchscreen navigation system with 6.1-inch display that incorporates voice controls.

The 2.5i Limited comes standard with the All-Weather package and all of the above, plus automatic headlights, a power rear liftgate, chrome exterior trim, automatic climate control, an LCD display in the instrument cluster, leather upholstery, reclining rear seatbacks and a cargo area tray. The navigation system is again optional.

The 2.5i Touring makes the navigation system standard and also adds upgraded gauges, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker sound system, a one-touch control to fold the rear seatback and auto-close and memory functions for the power liftgate.

Moving to the 2.0XT Premium brings all the equipment of the 2.5i Premium, plus the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and CVT, 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear roof spoiler and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The 2.0XT Touring's equipment is pretty much the same as what's on the 2.5i Touring. Optional for the Touring models is the Driver Assist Technology package that includes adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, xenon headlamps and the Eyesight system that integrates adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and pre-collision braking functions.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i trim levels feature a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed (or "boxer") four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for the 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models, and a CVT is optional. The CVT is standard on all other trim levels; it takes the place of a conventional automatic transmission and provides similar functionality.

The new CVT delivers a serious fuel economy upgrade on base-engine Subaru Foresters: The EPA rates CVT-equipped 2.5i models at 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. If you get the manual transmission, the numbers drop to 22 city/29 highway and 24 combined. In Edmunds instrumented testing, a CVT-equipped Forester 2.5i Limited accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds during Edmunds.com testing, which is quicker than average among small crossovers equipped with a base engine.

More performance is available if you choose the 2.0-liter turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder that's standard on both 2.0XT models. It churns out 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque when fueled with the recommended premium octane, and comes only with the CVT.

Even the 2.0XT models provide solid efficiency, though, as they're rated at 23 mpg city/28 highway and 25 combined. In Edmunds testing, a 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, which is exceptionally quick for a crossover SUV.

Every 2014 Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive. The 2.5i Touring, 2.5i Limited and all 2.0XT models have an additional X-Mode feature that optimizes engine response, transmission shift points, stability control system intervention and the AWD system to improve traction on slippery surfaces. These models also include hill descent control.


Every 2014 Subaru Forester includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag. A rearview camera is standard for all but the base 2.5i. Lane departure warning and a collision mitigation system (imminent collision warning and pre-collision braking under 19 mph) are optional for the Touring models.

During Edmunds brake testing, the Forester 2.0XT stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, a good number for this class. The Forester 2.5i made this same stop in 126 feet, which is a little worse than average among small crossovers.

In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2014 Forester received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the moderate overlap frontal-offset, small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2014 Subaru Forester's new interior is visually more appealing, with an updated design, layout and materials that bring it closer to rivals that have gone more upscale with interior trims and accessories. But make no mistake: The simplicity that seems to be a Subaru design philosophy pretty much remains intact unless you add the optional navigation system or opt for the Touring trim.

What may be more important for most people is that the 2014 Forester's all-new platform adds a massive 3.7 inches of rear legroom. Also helping is the stadium-type placement of the rear seats, which should allow most passengers a better view out the front, given the sight lines above the front seatbacks.

The 2014 Forester ups its already large cargo area by more than 6 cubic feet, to a whopping total of 74.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Driving Impressions

With a little extra weight than before, the all-new 2014 Subaru Forester isn't going to set any speed records with the 170 hp that comes from its standard four-cylinder engine. The new CVT, as with most CVTs, isn't as refined as a conventional automatic. But as it delivers a notable improvement in fuel economy, whatever it lacks in those final degrees of civility and smoothness can be forgiven.

In normal day-to-day use, the Forester provides stable and composed handling. But its trump card remains its extra dollop of off-road capability, which comes via its higher-than-normal ground clearance and new "X Mode" that adjusts the Forester's stability control, gearing and throttle response to maximize traction in the dirt.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 126 reviews) Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Thirsty for oil 2014 subaru forester 2.5i limited

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

I bought the 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited in October of 2013. I'll start with the positives: I'm very impressed with the style (used to look dumpy prior model years), the reasonable gas mileage, the room, the fact that I can easily get in/out of the SUV (I'm short), the leather seating (I have chronic back pain so it helps), the huge moon roof, the lift gate, the safety, AWD handling, the brakes are nice (not super touchy and doesn't pull you forward). The cons so far: the options if it's not standard can be pretty pricey, what comes standard is not always the greatest (Acura per example, would beat out Subaru in that department, specifically the technology dept.), the heat takes awhile to get warm, a lot of trouble starting the car if it's colder than usual (-0), heated seats do not stay heated, sometimes I hear road noise even though windows are all up, not all doors have a light so if you're sitting in the back, it's hard to see where the window button is if you want to roll down the window when it's dark, the driver visor mirror does not have a light (pretty cheap if you ask me!), and most importantly, my car is one of the year/VIN/models affected by oil consumption issues. Recently, my oil light went on, on my way to work. I brought it to the dealership that day since it's under the power train warranty and there is an active lawsuit against Subaru that I was notified about. I was told that my car (2K more miles to the next oil change) lost 1 1/2 quarts of oil (not sure where it went b/c it didn't leak from what I could tell). They changed the oil and replaced a gasket (pretty bad that needed replacement but thankful it was under warranty), and I was told to bring the car back 1200 miles later for another oil consumption test (coming up), do not add oil if the oil light comes up and they will replace the engine if it goes while under the warranty. I haven't had to pay anything out of my own pocket for that yet, knock on wood, but this shouldn't happen to a car that doesn't even have 40K miles on it yet and is Japanese engineered! Subaru really needs to fix this problem! Enough people are affected that they should notice and be proactive!! I'm very disappointed and I don't know if I'll ever get another Subaru! So far, I seem to have better luck with Honda's....

Oil consumption issues

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

Our Subaru Forester is having reoccurring oil consumption issues – the oil light comes on well before the manufacture recommended oil change interval. We started our first oil consumption test this past spring, coming into our dealership every 1500 miles for a total of 5 times. The test resulted in limited work on our vehicle. Once the final test came and went we were told there was nothing the dealership could do and we were sent on our way. It’s been a few months and about 3,500 miles since the dealership sent us on our way and the oil light has come on again. So we’ve brought the Forester back to the dealership who is recommending that we start the oil consumption tests over. This is our first Subaru purchase and it’s starting to look like our last because of the amazing inconvenience to my family. It’s difficult for my family to travel to a dealership every 1500 miles to have the oil topped off, and if the dealership/Subaru won’t take steps to fix the root cause we’ll be selling our Forester and moving on to a new brand.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

2014 subaru forester using oil

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

Well, thinking about trading my 2014 Forester in for something else...undecided. At 40,000 miles, I am now up to using a quart of oil in about 3000 miles. I've been having some usage, about a 1/2 quart prior, but now up to the quart stage. Terrible! So very disappointing! I had heard such great reviews on this vehicle, and now I have to pay attention to the sound. I can tell when it starts to get low, and stop and get a quart. Keeping a quart with me at all times. I have my class action suit papers here on my desk. I shouldn't even have to read all these sheets of paper, as I paid good money, and still paying! I will fill them out!!!! Now what do I buy in it's place. I did so much research to come to the Subaru conclusion, now I have to start all over!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Dangerous flaws in an otherwise decent car

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

I owned a 2014 Forester for nearly 3 years and 36,000 miles. This was my second Forester having liked my 2010 so much, but it's also my last Forester and likely my last Subaru. The Forester provides a balanced package of performance, utility and price. As car shoppers we should understand the cost benefit analysis and the compromises inherent in every automobile we purchase. For the Forester, in my experience, the benefits include Subaru's AWD system, good safety ratings, relatively good reliability and decent driving dynamics... all at a decent price point. Downsides include poor interior design and fit and finish, noisy highway driving and lousy electronics. My ownership of the 2014 revealed that this redesigned model comes with something else: terrifying handling in sub-optimal driving conditions. At highway speeds I found the driving stability lacking, and very noticeably worse than my 2010 model. The car felt top heavy and unsteady when executing lane changes or navigating exit ramps. Also, highway driving in windy conditions or very wet roads was less than confidence inspiring and the car often felt poorly planted. I attributed these handling defects to the taller profile compared to my other Forester. The first winter I owned the car I was driving on a highway with less than a 1" layer of slush. I am 53 and have driven in winter conditions my whole life and I had my family in the car with me so I was driving even more cautiously than I normally do. Up ahead was a car on the shoulder so I slowly made a change into the left lane and then it happened... the car started to oscillate and the rear end felt like it wanted to come around. It was like driving with no traction at all and I struggled to get the car back under control for what seemed like an eternity... honestly, I am amazed we didn't go off the road. Yes the conditions were not great, but no other car on the road seemed to have problems driving and in all my experience driving I have never had a car handle that way. I attributed the incident to an unwise decision to switch lanes exacerbated by the truly horrible Yokohama OEM tires Subaru puts on these cars. Needless to say I got rid of my nearly new OEM tires and bought a set of top rated Continental True Contacts. The new tires helped the handling a bit, as did a dealer performed alignment, but the car still felt skittish and I again experienced the loose rear end feeling, albeit not as bad as the first time. Meanwhile I was growing tired of the endless rattles that the dealer could not address, frustrated by the awful Subaru navigation system and bluetooth that could not make outgoing calls and alarmed by the extended warranty issued for excessive oil consumptions (a problem for many Subaru owners, but not for me personally). As I casually started researching cars I found that the handling problems I had were not unique. There are countless cases of the same DANGEROUS handling flaws for the Forester and the mechanically very similar Crosstrek. Just search for "Ghost walking" or "dangerous Forester" or "Forester slush problem", etc. and you won't believe the extent of problems out there. And that's with most people, like me until I researched, thinking they did something wrong to cause the problem. I am now convinced that there is a serious design flaw (not sure if it's the suspension, AWD, chassis design, or some combination of these factors) with these vehicles that can render them an accident waiting to happen. I traded in my Forester (and it has not held its value well... depreciation is much higher than for Subaru's I have owned in the past) for a new Volvo XC60 and couldn't be happier and I feel much safer. It's a shame really. Subaru makes a decent product and it pains me to write such a scathing review. This Forester has been reliable, yields very good fuel economy, offers lots of second row and cargo space, had great visibility, relatively comfortable seats, and offered good maneuverability. I like my local dealer and have had generally good ownership with my four previous Subarus, but the dangerous aspect of this car has shaken my faith in the brand and I am not likely to ever purchase another Subaru.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

No oil issues with my wife and i after 21k

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

Overall I like it for short trips ONLY. I have a 2014 Subaru Forester . I have several issues with it after driving it for 2 -1/2 years. I will try to explain. 1) Around town you may not notice it but on long trips, it becomes very uncomfortable. Here is why: The drivers side door panel causes my knee to cramp up from hiting the window and door instrument panel that is slanted. This Is totally uncomfortable on trips. 2) The CVT transmission takes many miles of driving go into high gear in the cold weather of winter Gas mileage suffers greatly. 17 mpg city 23 highway--Summer it is 27mpg city and 32 mpg highway. 3) The wind noise is very bad at highway speeds 60+mph after the Forister reaches 2 years old. 4) in our Limited edition with Power seats, the front seat is too close to the dash. My legs get cramps on long drives. 5) Radio could be better. 6) Rear camera is next to worthless...I can never get use to using it when backing up. I use the side mirrors.. The back up Camera is a waste of money IMO but you're forced to take it in the limited. 7) A hard ride-you feel every bump What I Like 1)Great handling 2)Good Passing engine power 3)solid feel 4) Great Gas Milage in the summer only (when the transmission warms up, which can take a long while in the winter) 5 Visibility when driving is Great 6) Great looking Dash and Console.. The gages are Not trimmed with obtrusive shiny chrome that belongs on the wheels and not the dash or Console! 7) The Forister i have found, is the most comfortable vehicle to get in and out of. Once I get in and close the door, it becomes a diffrent story. This is how I see it folks. I hope Subaru can make some of these improvements on their 2017 models which I plan to look at coming up. Happy Motoring!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

New engine needed at 12,500 miles

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester

I was told yesterday that I need a new engine in my 2014 Forester ASAP. They wouldn't let me drive it home and bring it back. Loud knocking in the engine after start up. They told me it was due to oil consumption. Makes me sick to my stomach to think that I was going to keep this car for my daughter to drive in 8 years. Not any more!

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Gas Mileage


  • 23
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  • 28
  • highway
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Subaru Forester Suv in VA is:

$57.50 per month*

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