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New Forester Priced from $20,000

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Subaru’s 2009 Forester goes on sale in April--and the Japanese automaker’s American outfitters say the new crossover will be priced from $19,995, not including destination, when it arrives in showrooms.

There will be two models offered: the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder will be complemented by a turbocharged version. Turbo models are automatic-only, while base versions also offer a manual transmission.

The new Forester wears more traditional SUV styling cues this time around, and it sports a bigger body intended to make the Forester more competitive with the growing crossover class. The new version sees its wheelbase grow by 3.6 inches to 103.0 inches, and its overall length is up by about three inches too.

Subaru's all-wheel-drive system returns, as does a retuned double-wishbone suspension. Better ride and handling are promised, as well as a high, SUV-like seating position. Safety features will include stability and traction control and curtain airbags, along with anti-lock braking.

Inside, the Forester gets a higher grade of interior trim and an auxiliary jack for MP3 players. A navigation system and satellite radio are options.

Marching up the pricing ladder from the base $19,995 model, the 2.5X version with a manual gearbox and a premium package starts at $22,495. The 2.5X L.L. Bean edition, with leather, auto climate control and a power driver seat, starts from $25,995. Turbo models start at $26,195. drives the new Forester next week - stay tuned for our first road test.

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