The Subaru Forester debuted in the late 1990s as an option for consumers interested in the emerging class of compact SUVs. Essentially a tall station wagon with all-wheel drive (AWD), the original Forester offered buyers the rugged style of a traditional SUV, but because it shared its basic structure with Subaru's Impreza, it had the ride and handling characteristics of a compact car. Not only was it exceptionally easy to drive on pavement, it could still manage the occasional trip to the trailhead.
More recent Subaru Foresters fall more in line with rival compact crossover SUVs. They're larger, roomier and less wagonlike than earlier Foresters and have nicer interiors. New or used, though, the Forester offers buyers strengths such as easy maneuverability, sure-footed handling in winter weather and solid build quality.