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2011 Subaru Forester Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$19,397
BASE MSRP
$20,495
On Performance
Handling and poise are still strengths for the 2011 Subaru Forester, though its old-tech four-speed automatic is a weak link.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

Around town, the non-turbo mill offers plenty of smooth pull, yet needs significant spurring to reach highway speeds.
Motor Trend

Its crisp steering and usefully tight turning circle also make it surprisingly maneuverable in close quarters.
Edmunds

We went joyriding on a snow-covered lot with the security of the AWD and vehicle dynamics control that includes all-wheel traction control and is standard on all models.
Boston Globe

It rides and handles well on the road, but the tradeoff is less off road prowess.
Automobile Magazine

Bolt a turbocharger to that little barking boxer, however, and what once was Velveeta becomes Pont L’Évêque
Car and Driver

The big news is that the Subaru Forester gets an all-new engine for 2011. While it's only modestly more powerful—and makes the same 170 horsepower—the new engine gets slightly better fuel economy. With chain-driven double overhead cams, it promises fewer maintenance needs, too, than the belt-driven single overhead cam design it replaces. You'll find reasonably quick acceleration with the five-speed manual transmission, but it's hampered slightly by the wide ratios of the four-speed automatic.

XT variants get a turbocharged four-cylinder with 224 horsepower and 226 pound-feet of torque. It moves very quickly, but with only the four-speed auto, it's not as enjoyable as it could be.

The Forester's strength is handling; it's by far the best-balanced, most dynamically proficient crossover, and the rather low seating position and low center of mass helps instill a stable feel on twisty roads and tight corners. The way the Forester handles is positively carlike, and the all-wheel drive system assists with traction out of corners, enhancing its already admirable poise. Yet the Forester has just enough give, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance—especially useful for negotiating deep snow or climbing up a modest trail to a camping spot.

Conclusion

Handling and poise are still strengths for the 2011 Subaru Forester, though its old-tech four-speed automatic is a weak link.

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