- Improved styling
- Reduced interior noise
- All-wheel drive
- Carlike handling
- Still not a great-looking machine
- No manual gearbox on turbo models
- Only four speeds on automatic
- Lots of silver plastic in the cabin
It’s significantly improved this year, but the 2009 Subaru Forester remains a unique all-wheel-drive crossover with less power and fewer features, but better carlike handling, than its competition.
Subaru’s Forester is one of the original crossover vehicles--as are all Subaru wagons. Derived in part from the Subaru Impreza, the Forester blends a useful, cargo-friendly body with standard all-wheel drive. It’s a bit more prosaic than its competition. It’s gotten better in this new edition, but the basic exterior and interior style are cautious updates of the previous edition.
The 2009 Subaru Forester comes in two editions: a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine puts out 170 horsepower, while XT models have a turbocharged four with 224 hp. A five-speed manual transmission complements the Forester’s user-friendly handling, but an available four-speed automatic seems a little behind the times, even though it works well enough. Handling is a strong point, and fuel economy is good. For those who value stability over style, the Forester continues to be a good choice in crossovers.