Flash Drive: 2009 Subaru Forester
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The newly-revised Forester now feels more like an SUV as opposed to a tall station wagon. With higher ground clearance, strong fender flares and a wider stance, the Forester appears much more capable. Inside, the seats are comfortable and the large sunroof adds to the roomy feel — rear seats recline and offer plenty of legroom. An innovative center console folds out of the middle rear seat, providing cupholders and a storage tray. Handling is good — aided by Subaru’s all-wheel drive — and while the Forester seems to jump off the line, power is expended quickly. More power would be nice, but on the other hand I was able to achieve a respectable 23 mpg. The Forester provides a smooth ride at highway speeds; however, there was a surprising amount of wind and road noise above 60 mph. Overall, a nice package and a definite improvement over the outgoing version. – Perry Stern
The new Forester continues Subaru’s recent trend of making progressively prettier cars. This small SUV is slightly taller, far more attractive and much more spacious than the previous version. In keeping with the pattern laid out by its predecessors, the Forester is still an obviously frugal vehicle: without a turbocharger it’s slightly underpowered; the drivetrain seems to have excessive internal friction that makes coasting downhill slower going than expected; and the interior materials are sturdy but certainly not luxurious. This is an SUV clearly built to a price and a purpose. Yet from inside there’s a satisfying sense of integrity that brought a smile to my face every time I drove it. The Forester can handle the drive to work with ease. It also brings the confidence that no matter how the weather changes, getting home will be easy too. – Paul Hagger
The redesigned 2009 Forester has evolved from a tall wagon into a true compact SUV competitor. The new design may alienate some fans who preferred the previous quirky, off-beat style, but will no-doubt attract new buyers. Subaru’s tried-and-true 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine paired with a 4-speed automatic gives the Forester acceptable overall acceleration and drivability and delivers decent fuel economy at 23 mpg combined. On short freeway on-ramps all the power is needed for the larger Forester, leaving the driver wishing for the extra power of the turbocharged 2.5 XT. The new size is perfect for a family of four with easy step-in height, comfortable rear-seat room and plenty of cargo space behind the second row. Interior design is similar to the highly-regarded Tribeca, with excellent ergonomics and easy-to-use controls. The power outlet needs a hinged or tethered cap instead of the hard plastic plug that rattles around when you take it out. – Mike Meredith