Subaru Forester Worth the Cheers

Subaru Forester
Subaru Forester

Just finished a week with a 2009 Subaru Forester. In my 600 or so miles back and forth to work, regular daily life and a cruise down a dirt trail for my upcoming column, the Forester was a comfortable, handled great and the final number on the gas mileage gauge was 22.8. Not bad for a car with so much capability.

The new Forester has become on of almost everbody’s favorites. My favorite parts? Let’s start with the handling. On my daily commute there’s a rather sharp freeway onramp that usually gives me the heebiejeebies if I take it too fast in an SUV. No such sensation in the Forester. It took it with a minimum of breaking — not as fast and smooth as my 1991 Miata, but very respectable for a car, let alone something with this much storage space.

The seating was upright, almost chair-high. Accessiblity was easy on the senior-citizen scale — my octegenerian mom with the hip condition had no problem hopping in and out. Not much of a step-up for her 5-foot frame. Seats were firm but comfortable; the version I tested had soft cloth upholstery.

The five-speed manual transmission shifted smoothly and the clutch even had some feel to it, something that’s not always found in front-wheel-drive cars. The four-cylinder engine had plenty of power. All-wheel-drive was sure and tight on the dirt road where I took a Weekend Driver tour, Black Canyon Road, north of Ramona, Calif.

It’s a bit taller and wider than previous versions. Chair height seating, a relatively low beltline and lots of windows give excellent visibility.

Subaru has been roundly praised for this car… I can see why. And at less than $27k, it’s a smart buy.

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