2014 Subaru Forester SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds

2014 Subaru Forester SUV Review

2014 Subaru Forester SUV
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Edmunds Expert 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.

  • Safety | Reliability | Rating Details
  • 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.


Reviews from owners of the 2014 Subaru Forester SUV

Average Consumer Rating (See all 108 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Basically a good car with a few faults

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

The current Forester has outstanding visibility and an excellent CVT that delivers great gas mileage. I'm 6'2" and I find the driver's position very comfortable. The cargo capacity is adequate for my needs (e.g. putting 8 ft long lumber in the interior for my woodworking projects). Two serious faults: the ride is incredibly rough, especially over the poorly paved streets of Denver. My wife had a back operation and couldn't ride in the car for months! I haven't used it off road, but I worry that the ride will render it unusable. The second problem is a non-functional Bluetooth that will not connect reliably with my iPhone6 (nor did it with a previous iPhone4). Since my iPhone6 connects just fine with other car Bluetooth systems, this is clearly Subaru's problem, much as they denied it. A more minor annoyance is the terrible instrumentation, which uses three separate and different format displays for fuel levels, consumption, audio system status, etc....very distracting and with lots o' useless information, such as driven wheel status, antilock activation (you can feel this, after all!), and several different displays for fuel rate consumption...overall, a very distracting and potentially dangerous system. On the other hand, there is no temperature gauge, just a blue idiot light that goes out when the engine warms up. This is the 7th Subaru that I've owned since 1981, and I generally kept them until they wear out (or were totaled by my kids). However, the flaws in this one, mostly the rough ride, has me considering trading it in for a Rav4 or a CRV.

Shortcuts on the 2014 forester

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl 6M)

I owned a 1998 and 2004 Outback and they were tight, high quality cars. This car has rattles on the front dashboard and the dealer has tried but cannot fix it. Subaru even eliminated the temp. gauge in favor of a 1960s style light on the dash. The lighting in the very back storage area is poor, no light under the hood either, and there is no hook to hang dry cleaning. All in all, the interior is a disappointment but the back seat legroom is awesome and I'm happy with the highway gas mileage. Not much power in this car. If there was a 2.8 V6 option, that would add something.

2014 subaru forester burning oil

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

Great car, bought it new with one big problem, Burning oil. Dealer did oil consumption test on it at 18,000 mi. and found it was burning 16oz of oil per 1200 mi. Dealer replaced engine block, no questions or problems from them. I have put on 2000 mi. since replacement and it's not burning any oil yet. I'm hoping this is the correct fix because it's been a great car. I will update after 6000 mi Grand Subaru of Bensenville in Illinois has been great up to this point. Hoping this solves the problem for good.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

60,000 mile review

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

After 28 months and almost 60K miles I thought a "mid-term" assessment might be useful. First the oil consumption issue. Yes, there appears to be an issue but it doesn't seem to affect everyone the same. I'm just now starting to see it and for me, at least for the time being, it's not a big deal. Changing oil every 7,500 miles, my low oil light first illuminated at 51,500, right about 1000 miles shy of the 52.5K change interval. I was indeed a quart low and just changed the oil early. I've monitored my oil consumption since then - just rolled over 58K - and I'm about 2/3rds of the way down from the full/upper hole in the dipstick. Still in the "safe zone" I just went ahead and added a half-quart so I'm not sure I'd have seen another low oil light or not in the next thousand miles. Maybe. Probably. So Subaru definitely knows about the issue and there's a TSB out. And if you read the TSB it does seem like Subaru's first line of defense is to say it's not a problem. There's an excellent thread just started (12 Aug '15) at subaruoutback.org (which also uses the FB25 engine) titled "Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums > Models > Gen 4: 2010-2014 > FB Series Engine, Oil Burning, Subaru, and You". Google it. Alright, moving on, things I like about my Forester: - Outstanding gas mileage. Better than advertised and better than expected. I drive a lot of state roads where the speed limit is 55. With the cruise at 60 I routinely average 34-38 mpg. On the interstate at 70 mph I still get 30-34. Around town it's about 30. The numbers drop about 4 mpg in cold winter driving but that's to be expected, especially since I add snow tires. - Great forward visibility. Best I've ever had and will sorely miss it when/if I go back to a sedan. - Heated seats. My first experience with them and I'll never own another car without them. - Roomy. Open cabin feeling, especially with the sunroof shade fully open. Plenty of leg room, both sides, both front and rear. Huge front passenger leg room with seat all the way back. 60/40 split is nice for long objects like skis. Lots of cargo room. Extra storage in spare tire well. - Rear reclining seats. They don't recline much, maybe about 6 inches but it's surprising how much more room it yields. - Excellent in snow . . . IF you replace the Yokohama Geolander OEM tires (see below). - Easy routine maintenance. Open the hood and right in front of you is a top-mounted oil filter. Makes changing the oil a breeze. Engine air and cabin air filters also easy to change. Things I'm not too keen on: - Biggest disappointment is the quirky CVT at low rpms. The CVT has an annoying hesitation when transitioning through the very low rpm band which makes it difficult to smoothly accelerate from a dead stop (unless you just put your foot into it). You start to accelerate and then there's a brief hesitation and then you continue. It's also noticable when creeping slowly through a parking lot looking for a spot. You're not bucking or anything but it's there. Eventually you get used to it but it's still annoying. Otherwise the CVT is smooth as silk otherwise. - Doors don't automatically lock when you engage drive or reverse. Yeah, it's a picky little thing but every other car I've owned had the feature which is nice if you have kids. - The remote start shuts off when you open the door. I know it's a safety feature but how about at least giving me the option to override the automatic shut off. Defeats the purpose of getting into a nice warm car and driving off. - Horrible OEM tires. Talking specifically the Yoko Geolanders all season radials and can't speak to any other OEMs. They ride hard and I feel every little bump (and no, they're not overinflated). Can't wait to replace them. And they're TERRIBLE in snow. They're fine on dry/wet pavement but I bought a set of steel wheels and snow tires just for winter driving. I routinely drive along 6-8 inches of unplowed roads without concern. Still, use common sense on corners and on snow pack. It's a Subaru, not a tank. - No Sirius/XM radio. With my USB memory sticks I really don't miss it but with a sticker around $30K you'd expect satellite radio to come standard with the Limited trim. - Reduced towing capacity. With the CVT max towing is lowered to 1500 pounds. Okay if you're only hauling a small boat or jet skis or snowmobiles but anything larger and your SOL. Plus ANY towing puts you into the "severe" maintenance schedule. - Power driver seat is nice but would be nicer with memory settings as my wife and I are different sizes. - Donut spare can only be used on the rear axle. It's not a complaint, just an observation endemic with the AWD system. If you get a flat up front you have to move a rear tire to the front and put the spare on the vacated rear wheel. - Rear windows don't extend all the way down. My dog drools all over the outside of the windows.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Screwed by suraru

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

I have a 2012 Forester. It drink's oil worse than an old Beater. What kind of freaking car, in this day and age, would you need to ad 5 qts of oil between changes???????? IS THIS ECO FRIENDLY???????

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Poor quality and design

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Vehicle: 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited PZEV 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl CVT)

We purchased the 2014 Subaru in March of 2013. It was during the first month of sales for the 14 model year. My wife is the one that loved it. I preferred the Honda CRV. My wife got caught up in the outdoors hype that they advertise. The first problem we noticed was that it is not meant for tall people. While there is plenty of head room, the seat bottom is too short and does not give any leg support. We noticed this on our first out of town trip. Shortly thereafter, it became our in-town car. The fit and finish is basic. I am used to Hondas where the fit and finish is excellent. The second issue is oil consumption. I followed all schedules described by Subaru. All Oil changes were done at a Subaru dealership. The oil was changed at 3750, 7500, and 15000 with no problems. At 21,500, the oil light came on. This was 1000 miles before the scheduled oil change. I went to Subaru and paid for an oil change, 1000 miles early. (I asked why it was burning oil (does not leak). They said it was within industry standards for oil consumption. In fact, they said that it was OK to use 1 quart every 1000 miles. If my car did use a quart every 1000 miles, I would be adding 7 quarts before the next oil change. This is considered acceptable by Subaru. My last car was a Honda accord. It was totaled at 176,000 miles and it never used any oil between oil changes. ) On the new window decal, they recommended bringing it back in at 27,500 miles. This was 6000 miles later instead of the original 7500 miles between oil changes. At 26,500 miles, the oil light came on again. This was only 5000 miles since the last oil change. I again paid early for an oil change. They started an oil consumption test. When I got home, I let the car sit for an hour and then checked the oil level. They had overfilled it, probably by about 1/4 of a quart. I could not believe that they would perform a scientific test where the starting point for oil level was not correct. I called Subaru customer support. They agreed to transfer this to a different dealership. The other dealership changed to oil for free and started the test. Once again the oil level was too high. At that point I gave up. Every Oil change I am getting about 1000 fewer miles before the oil light comes on. This is disturbing trend. When I purchase vehicles, I keep them for 10-15 years. I dumped this one at 2 years for a substantial loss. I was just glad to be done with it. The third issue is the AWD design. We had a flat tire which was not repairable. When I went into a local tire shop, they said I needed to replace both tires on the axle where the flat occurred. this was due to the AWD. During one of my dealership visits for the many the Oil consumption issue listed above, the dealership noticed that two of the tires were new. They said I had to replace the older ones with new ones otherwise it would void the warranty and cause damage to the AWD. I cannot believe that Subaru has such poor engineering in their AWD where they require all 4 tires to be replaced at the same time. Word of caution. If you have a flat tire that is not repairable, Subaru thinks it is acceptable to replace all 4 even if the others have good tread. Good luck. I went and bought a CRV. I suggest others do this too.


Full 2014 Subaru Forester Review

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.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

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

$123.00 per month*

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