2009 Subaru Forester Photo
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Quick Take
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. Read more »
8.0 out of 10
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STYLING | 7 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

“boxy charm has been toned down”

“goes from mutant station wagon to mainstream compact crossover”

“won't do much to tickle your excitement meter”

“most handsome and stylish Subaru in years”
Popular Mechanics

Reviewers praised the 2009 Subaru Forester for additional legroom in its new edition, but the crossover’s looks are still plain enough for nearly all road testers to comment on it.

The Forester’s wagon body has been stretched for the new model year. Automobile magazine notes it’s now 3 inches longer than the previous version, with a wheelbase that’s 3.6 inches longer, which goes to improving rear-seat room. But despite the chance to revamp the Forester’s style, it barely nudges its way “from mutant station wagon to mainstream compact crossover.”

“The old model's boxy charm has been toned down,” Cars.com notes, and its “creased headlights and stacked bumper looked a bit busy.” Edmunds.com agrees, and says that while the “front end of the new Forester isn't beautiful,” the look is “a bit more upscale and sophisticated than its predecessors.”

A few reviewers found it much more appealing. Popular Mechanics thinks the 2009 Subaru Forester “is the most handsome and stylish Subaru in years,” while Motor Trend offers that “it'll even catch the eye of the opposite sex in the room.” It’s a little ironic that these enthusiast publications found more to praise in its style than the mainstream car reviewers on the Web--more, even, than they praised the high-performance Subaru Impreza WRX.

Inside, the Forester’s interior has been significantly upgraded with modern shapes and textures. But you should like the look of metallic plastic, warns Jalopnik: “the brushed aluminum-look interior details come off as far more flash than rugged,” they say.

TheCarConnection.com’s car experts feel that this year’s Forester takes a big leap forward in refined looks--for Subaru. But with the wild style changes apparent on the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Saturn Vue, it’s apparent that a flashy shape is becoming a selling point in the small crossover class. Subaru’s chosen to cater to a group of fiercely loyal owners, but probably won’t woo them away on looks.


It’s much improved, but the 2009 Subaru Forester’s still more earth shoe than Prada pump.

Next: Interior / Exterior »
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