The '14 Forester project leader vowed to improve last gen Forester in every way.
He and his team have largely succeeded, for the '14 XT manages to ride, handle, accelerate, brake, and use fuel far better than the capable '09 XT it replaces.
More like Lexus or euro car, the new XT outdoes most euros on interior packaging efficiency.
Reliability's unknown as of yet but '14 build quality seems good with far fewer rattles and jiggles than in the older XT.
Firm yet absorbent ride, flat cornering given its height and ground clearance, new CVT is relatively quiet and efficient, X mode assures good traction for start-up and low speed on bad roads,
quiet demeanor over bumps and when cruising, very good sound system (Harmon Kardon), handy information screen with rear camera,
engine runs on any fuel (premium for max power), excellent visibility,
clean sill door design keeps dirt off clothes, ample room for all passengers, very good gas mileage given engine power and full time AWD, sturdy front skid plate, no more hood scoop.
Larger navigation screen with better organized touch zones/icons, better bolsters and padding for leather front seats, padded surrounds for rear seats (hard plastic's a nasty surprise for elbows), remote telling power lift gate to rise (currently only unlocks it), alternate interior color choices (only one available for '14 XT is black).
pdfriday is correct: holding lift gate button on remote will unlock, then raise the rear hatch.
Thanks for info!
Also, XT's CVT's insulated to reduce noise, and mileage on mixed mode trips was 25 - 28 mpg during break-in period.
One correction...the rear hatch can be opened/raised if one holds down the remote's rear hatch button past the initial two beeps (once you hear two faster beeps, you can release button and hatch will power itself open).
Great review on your XT Kurt.
I have a 2014 forester 2.5i touring and Almost feel the automatic lift gate is a bit troublesome.
If this were a much larger SUV I could see it being useful than its current size.
I've found it to raise and lower very slow and due to the large rear trunk aero wing over the back window I've had to reduce the size of my cargo Yakima "Rocketbox".
Replacing it for a smaller one was disappointing due to I live in Alaska and love snowboarding and outdoor recreation.
Very small adjustments compared to the joy I've had owning it though.
I found out the hard way when the trunk raised up it scratched the paint in various locations on contact with the Yakima "Rocketbox" with the trunk wing due to no rebound sensor.
Yeeaahh... I'm sure it will be a spendy fix for it but lesson learned...LOL!
Hope you'll enjoy your XT and thinking about trading up in the future as well to the same.