Subaru has stretched the new Forester out to create a roomier interior for families and large hauls. Compared to the current Forester, the 2014 is 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) longer and a little over half an inch (1.2 cm) wider. With a little shuffling, the interior grows larger than those numbers might suggest. Leg room in the rear seat increases to 41.7 inches (106 cm), up from 38 inches (97 cm) in the current model. The dreaded rear-center seat position is made more comfortable with a lowered center tunnel and shortened center console. Maximum cargo capacity grows to 74.7 cubic feet (2,115 liters), from 68.3 cubic feet (1,934 liters).
To complement its slight growth, the Forester gets some new styling. It stares at the road ahead with a set of restyled "hawkeye" headlights. The front-end sees a redesign, which includes the taller hexagonal grille, and the A pillar is pushed forward. The 2.0XT model gets a more aggressive sport bumper, a one-piece mesh grille and under-hood ducting in place of the hood scoop.
There's also more power lurking under the 2014 Forester's aluminum hood, at least when it comes to 2.0XT models. Power is up to 250 hp (from 224 hp) thanks to a new turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter BOXER engine used in the BRZ sports car. That 4-cylinder engine uses a combination of direct fuel injection, high compression (10.6:1), Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS) and turbocharging with an intercooler. The 2.0XT models come standard with a high-torque CVT transmission with paddle switches.
Forester 2.5i models carry the 170-hp 2.5-liter BOXER engine over from the outgoing Forester. Transmission options on the 2.5i include a new 6-speed manual and Lineartronic CVT. When equipped with the CVT, the 2.5i will offer up to a Subaru-estimated 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km) combined (32 mpg (7.4 L/100km) on the highway).
The 2014 Forester line also benefits from new safety features and technologies. Standard Symmetrical All Wheel Drive is complemented by a new X-Mode feature on all 2.0XT and higher-trim 2.5i models. It enhances control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines by optimizing control of the engine, transmission shift pattern, Active AWD front/rear clutching force, brakes, VDC and other critical systems. Hill Descent Control helps maintain a constant speed on descents, increasing driver confidence and control.
New equipment includes anti-whiplash front seats, new Electric Power Assisted Steering, a driver’s knee airbag, Brake Override and an impact-sensing fuel system cutoff. The EyeSight system that debuted on 2013 Legacy and Outback models is now available as an option. EyeSight uses a stereo camera system to deliver the driver assistance functions of Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. A power rear liftgate is available as an option.
Depending upon trim level, the 2014 Forester's interior is outfitted with such amenities as a color multi-functional display, touchscreen navigation with smartphone integration, rear-view camera system, instrument cluster with LCD display, leather-trimmed seats and a 440-watt, 8-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system
The 2014 Forester will hit the North American market in the spring of next year. The 2.5i will come in base, Premium, Limited and Touring trim, and the 2.0XT will come in Premium and Touring.