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2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV grows in size
With advanced AWD, CVT, X-Mode, SI-Drive and more

All-new, 4th generation Subaru Forester crossover SUV: front-side view.

2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT with the new 250hp turbo engine.

11 Dec. 2012, Tony Kanaan: Following its recent presentation at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Subaru's all-new all-wheel drive Forester crossover SUV will start its journey on American roads from this spring, as a 2014 model year.

In other markets, such as the UK, deliveries of the new Forester start this summer (prices will be available nearer to market launch).

On the engines side, a new 250-hp (U.S. specs) direct-injection turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline (petrol) boxer engine is added to the other gasoline 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer, with a new 6-speed manual transmission for the 2.5i models, and a new Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox with SI-Drive system (in the Forester 2.0XT).


2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: rear-side view.

New platform with a 0.9-inch (22.8mm) longer wheelbase.

Built on a new platform with a 0.9-inch (22.8mm) longer wheelbase (103.9in., 2640mm), the fourth-generation Forester (the first was introduced in 1998) gets longer than its predecessor by 1.4 in. (35.5mm), to reach 180.9in. (4,595 metres), and wider by 0.6-in.(15.2mm), at 70.7 in. (1,795m).

With these main dimensions, the new Forester features a city-practical turning circle diameter of 34.8-ft. (10.60 metres), with a new electric power assisted steering (EPAS) system (rack-and-pinion), a 15.5:1 steering ratio and 3.1 turns lock-to-lock.

2004 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: interior view, front.

New electric power assisted steering (EPAS) system.

In terms of interior capacities, the EPA interior volume of the 5-passenger crossover SUV comes at 113.1 cubic feet (3,202 litres), or 107.8 cu. ft. with the sunroof (3,050 litres).

As such, the cargo volume comes at 34.4 cu. ft. (974.1 litres) with the rear seatbacks up, and 74.7 cu. ft. (2115 litres) with the standard 60/40 split rear seats folded down (compared to 68.3 cu. ft. / 1934 litres in the outgoing Forester generation). With the sunroof, the figures are 31.5 cu. ft. (892 litres) with the rear seatbacks up, and 68.5 cu. ft. (1939 litres) when they are folded down.


Also, the new Forester comes with an enhanced AWD system with Hill Descent Control and X-Mode locking (on high-line models), two different versions of Symmetrical AWD (depending on transmission, more details below) and the four-wheel independent suspension.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: leather front seats.

The front seat hip point is 1.1-in. (27.9mm) higher than before.

In the U.S. announced specifications, all versions will feature as standard equipment dual-stage front air bags, front seat side air bags and side curtain air bags. A rollover sensor activates the seat belt pre-tensioners and deploys the curtain airbags if it detects potential vehicle rollover.

All versions (except the base 2.5i model) will also get a standard rear vision camera and colour multi-function display.

The basic version in the 2.5i model uses a 4.3-inch LCD screen to relay outside temperature and a selection of fuel economy displays.

The high-line multi-information display, used in all other 2014 Forester models, adds a colour display for the standard rear vision camera, audio and Bluetooth information, climate control displays, vehicle self-check, maintenance reminder and, where applicable, X-Mode and Hill Descent Control operation.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: leather rear seats.

Rear seat legroom increased to 41.7 inches (1059mm).

Other standard equipment (U.S.) for all versions will include 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Override, Vehicle Dynamics Control system (VDC), 12-volt power outlets in the dash, centre console and cargo area, 60/40 split fold down rear seatback, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo system with a CD player, 4 speakers, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity and audio streaming, iPod capability with USB port, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), cruise control, ECO fuel economy gauge, headlights/ parking lights auto-off with ignition switch, height-adjustable driver’s seat, electric side mirrors and windows (with driver’s one-touch auto-down switch), remote keyless entry / security system with engine immobilizer, steering wheel audio and Bluetooth control switches, tilt and telescoping steering column and a tire pressure monitoring system.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: boot / trunk with rear seat backs up.

34.4 cu. ft. (974.1 litres) with the rear seatbacks up.

Options include a navigation system with smartphone integration, a power rear gate with automatic close and Keyless Access and Start and the EyeSight Driver-Assist system.

The top-line Touring models come standard with a navigation system and 440-watt harman/kardon audio system.

 EyeSight Driver-Assist

The new EyeSight driver-assist system debuted on the 2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback models. Optional on the 2.5i and 2.0XT Touring models, it integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. It uses a stereo camera system developed by Subaru to provide a detection angle wider than that of radar-based systems.


New Forester in the UK this summer

In the UK market where the new Forester will be available from this summer, the announced line-up includes three 2.0-litre Boxer engines, which will include 150ps (110 kW, 148 bhp) 2.0-litre Boxer diesel and petrol units, as well as the new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine, in a version producing 280ps (206 kW, 276 bhp).

Both of the naturally-aspirated engines will feature a standard six-speed manual transmission, while Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) transmission is available for both petrol engines. Subaru says that the Lineartronic transmission has been modified to manage the increased power while also providing improved fuel efficiency, and allowing both CVT-equipped petrol engines to achieve the 2015 Japanese fuel economy standard.


With the 2.5i gasoline (petrol) engine (debuted in the outgoing Forester generation), Subaru's preliminary figures with the 2014 Forester indicate a maximal output of 170 hp (U.S. specs, corresponding to 127 kW, 172 PS. All conversions by at 5,800 rpm, with a maximal torque figure of 174 lb-ft (236 Nm, 24.05 kg-m) at 4,100 rpm.

This 4-cylinder FB series boxer engine (flat engine with horizontally opposed cylinders, or V180°) has a displacement of 2,498cc (152.4 cu. in), with a 94mm bore (3.7 in.) by 90.0mm (3.54 in.) stroke, an aluminium cylinder block and head, 16 valves with double overhead chain-driven camshafts (DOHC), Subaru Active Valve Control System (AVCS) for variable valve timing, a multi-port fuel injection (indirect) and a 10:1 compression ratio.

Provisional fuel economy estimates (U.S. specifications) are:

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: rear seat 60% folded down.

Standard 60/40 split rear seats.

- With the 6-speed manual transmission: 22 US mpg, city (26.4 UK mpg, 10.7 litres / 100 km and 9.35 km / litre), 29 mpg, highway (34.8 UK mpg, 8.11 litres / 100 km and 12.3 km / litre) and 24 mpg, combined (28.8 UK mpg, 9.8 litres / 100 km and 10.2 km / litre).

With a full 15.9 U.S. gallons fuel tank (13.2 UK gallons, 60.18 litres), these figures offer a theoretical range (depending on fuel quality and driving conditions) of 349 miles (562 km, city), 443 miles (713 km, highway) and 367 miles (590 km, combined).

With the CVT gearbox, the figures rise to 24 US mpg, city (28.8 UK mpg, 9.8 litres / 100 km and 10.2 km / litre), 32 mpg, highway (38.4 UK mpg, 7.35 litres / 100 km and 13.6 km / litre) and 27 mpg, combined (32.4 UK mpg, 8.71 litres / 100 km and 11.5 km / litre).

These figures offer a theoretical range of 381 miles / 614 km (city), 489 miles / 787 km (highway) and 412 miles / 664 km (combined).

The Forester 2.5i model will be available in the U.S. in base, Premium, Limited and top-line Touring versions.


The more powerful 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT gets a new turbocharged variant of the FA-Series boxer engine (gasoline, petrol) that debuted in the Subaru BRZ sports car (sister model of the Toyota GT 86 sports coupe).

The 2.0-liter (1,998cc / 121.9 cu. in.), four-cylinder (16 valves) square engine (same bore and stroke at 86mm each / 3.38 in.) has an aluminium cylinder block and head, a turbocharger with an intercooler, direct fuel injection, and a 10.6:1 compression ratio, in addition to the Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS, variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves sides).

Maximum output (U.S. specifications) is 250 horsepower (186 kW, 253 PS) at 5,600 rpm, with a torque curve of 258 lb.-ft. (350 Nm, 36.67 kg-m) between 2,000 and 4,800 rpm.

Provisional fuel economy estimates (U.S. specifications) are, with the CVT transmission:

- 23 US mpg, city (27.6 UK mpg, 10.2 litres / 100 km and 9.8 km / litre), 28 mpg, highway (33.6 UK mpg, 8.4 litres / 100 km and 11.9 km / litre) and 25 mpg, combined (30 UK mpg, 9.4 litres / 100 km and 10.6 km / litre).

With a full 15.9 U.S. gallons fuel tank (13.2 UK gallons, 60.18 litres), these figures offer a theoretical range of 365 miles (588 km, city), 428 miles (689 km, highway) and 382 miles (615 km, combined).

The turbocharged Forester 2.0XT will be offered in the Premium and Touring versions.


On the gearbox side, the 2.5i models get a standard new six-speed manual transmission, or the optional Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

On the 2.0XT models, the CVT is standard with 6-speed and 8-speed manual shift modes, steering wheel paddle switches and an SI-DRIVE performance control feature with "Intelligent", "Sport" and "Sport Sharp" driving modes.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: console.

2.0XT: standard CVT with 6- and 8-speed manual shift modes.

The top-line 2014 Forester models are equipped with the CVT and feature new Hill Descent Control and a new X-Mode locking control feature.

 All-wheel drive

The new Forester comes with two versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. They both power all four wheels continuously and can transfer more power to the wheels with the best grip.

Both versions also integrate the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to enhance all-weather stability and traction, but unlike other similar systems, they do not rely on VDC to distribute power.

In fact, the Forester 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission have a viscous-coupling locking centre differential that distributes power 50:50 between front and rear, transferring, when necessary, more power to the wheels with the best traction.

 Active AWD

In Forester models with the Lineartronic CVT transmission, an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch manages power distribution based on acceleration / deceleration, cornering and available traction. This Active All-Wheel Drive system automatically transfers more power to the wheels with the best grip.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: steering wheel switches, left side.

Steering wheel control switches for several functions.

Subaru says that in the new Forester, the Active All-Wheel Drive system has been enhanced for better control when turning on slippery surfaces or changing lanes at highway speeds. Taking input signals for steering wheel angle, yaw rate and lateral acceleration from the Vehicle Dynamics System, Active AWD responds to the vehicle’s slip angle when turning.


The Forester 2.5i Limited and Touring as well as all 2.0XT models also get a new X-Mode feature which optimizes control of the engine, transmission shift pattern, Active AWD front/rear clutching force, brakes, VDC and other contributing systems to enhance wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: CVT gearshift gater.

X-Mode switch (red dot) on the console.

In those models, Hill Descent Control, which is automatically engaged with the X-mode, uses the VDC system to help maintain a constant vehicle speed when the Forester is travelling downhill to help enhance control.


The 2.0XT models feature the Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE), which is an engine performance management system that offers three selectable modes: "Intelligent", "Sport" and "Sport Sharp", using a switch on the steering wheel.

Incidentally, one wonders if this might be not be interpreted, with a pinch of perverse thinking, that the Sport and Sport Sharp may be less, or even not... intelligent! But let's banish the thought.

More seriously, the Intelligent mode provides a more relaxed throttle response curve, making it useful for commuting in traffic, for example.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: steering wheel switches, right side.

SI-DRIVE switches on the steering wheel (right side).

The "Sport" mode provides quick throttle responses and powerful, linear acceleration. It also accesses a 6-speed manual mode for the CVT, using steering wheel paddle shift control switches.

In “Sport Sharp” mode, SI-DRIVE modifies the engine’s electronic throttle mapping to deliver even quicker throttle response, with an 8-speed manual mode for the CVT.


The four-wheel independent suspension gets a revised rear suspension with pillow ball joint mounts for the lateral links, over an 8.7 inches (221mm) ground clearance, while the step-in height has been improved by lowering the side sills by two inches (50.8mm).

The front suspension features McPherson-type struts, lower L-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar. The rear has a double wishbone structure with subframe, coil springs and another stabilizer bar.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: rear-view camera image on screen.

Standard rear vision camera for most versions (except 2.5i).

The sport-tuned 2.0XT version has higher-rate springs than the 2.5i models (10% higher in front, 20% rear), plus special chassis reinforcements.

The various angles are 23.0° (approach), 25.0° (departure) and 21.0° (ramp breakover), with a track width of 30.9in. (1,547m) at the front and 61.1in. (1,552m) at the rear.


The power-assisted brakes have four discs with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 4-channel / 4-sensor ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Override. The latter cuts engine power if the driver applies both the brake and accelerator beyond a certain threshold.

The front discs are ventilated in all versions with dual piston callipers, at 11.6in. diameter (294.6mm) in the Forester 2.5i versions and 12.4in. (314.9mm) in the Forester 2.0XT.

2014 Subaru Forester crossover SUV: instruments (dials).

Clear instruments illumination for night vision.

At the rear, the brakes have a single piston calliper with solid discs of 10.8in. diameter (274.3mm) in the 2.5i Foresters and ventilated ones of 10.9in. diameter (276.8mm) in the Forester 2.0XT.


On the body side, the A-pillar is moved forward compared to the outgoing model, and all 2014 Forester models feature black side cladding and body-colour door handles. The aluminium hood (bonnet) helps reduce weight and consumption. The hood scoop used to supply air to the previous Forester turbo model’s intercooler has been replaced by under-hood ducting, which also enhances forward visibility.

Curb weight is (also preliminary U.S. figures) 3,296 lbs (1495 kg) for the Forester 2.5i with the 6-speed manual transmission, 3,366 lbs (1527 kg) with the CVT, or 3,622 lbs (1643 kg) for the 2.0XT with the CVT.

The Forester 2.5i rides on 17-inch wheels (steel), up from the 16-inch wheels used on the previous model, while the 2.5i Premium has standard 17-inch alloy wheels. The Forester 2.0XT models get 18-inch alloy wheels with a machine finish.


The interior of the all-new Subaru Forester benefits from the longer wheelbase. With the specially shaped front seat backs, the rear seat legroom was increased from 38.0 inches (965mm) to 41.7 inches (1059mm).

The front seat hip point is 1.1-in. (27.9mm) higher than before, and the driver’s seat height adjustment offers an additional 0.6-in. (15mm) of range, along with 1.3-in. (33mm) greater fore-aft seat cushion adjustment range.

Subaru adds that the centre rear seat passenger benefits from raising the hip point by 1.4 inch (35.5mm), lowering the centre tunnel by 2.6-in. (66mm) and reducing the length of the front centre console by nearly four inches (101mm).

All models get a standard tilt/telescoping steering column and the front seats use a new type of cushion spring array to enhance long-distance comfort. The 2.5i Limited and Touring models feature a reclining rear seatback and a rear seat fold-down centre armrest with dual cup holders.


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