With a base price of around $21,000 for the entry-level 2.5X model, the 2013 Subaru Forester offers very good value for the money when you consider that every Forester (and just about every Subaru) comes standard with all-wheel drive. The base 2.5X also includes power windows and locks, a tilt-adjustable steering column, cruise control, automatic headlights, and keyless entry.
The 2.5X model, which denotes the base 170-hp engine, comes in four trim levels: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. The five-speed manual gearbox only comes with that engine; if you step up to the more powerful 2.5XT turbo engine, you get the four-speed automatic. The turbocharged 2.5XT comes only in Premium and Touring models.
For 2013, Subaru has slightly tweaked some of its features and options. All models, even the base 2.5X, now offer a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity for mobile phones and audio streaming, along with a USB jack and iPod control capability. It also now has Bluetooth and audio controls built into the steering wheel.
Also for 2013, the 2.5X Premium trim level now offers an optional Value Package that combined the popular All-Weather package (heated front seats and exterior mirrors. plus a wiper de-icer) with fog lights and a display-type audio system. Among other features, the Premium level adds a panoramic sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheels. Above that, Limited model bundles in upgrades for all six speakers, HD Radio, and a backup camera with a 4.3-inch display in the dash.
The top-of-the-line Touring models feature chromed roof rails, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, plus dual-zone climate control,instruments with electroluminescent displays, and a single-touch folding seatback for the rear seat. Fully decked out, though, the 2.5XT Touring model--which starts at around $30,000 with delivery--can climb toward $35,000, at which price it may be worth considering the larger and more refined Outback mid-size crossover model.
Sensibly, Subaru has bowed to the realities of the fast-changing in-car navigation market. It now offers a $595 TomTom portable navigation system that can be removed from the car. This option has to be ordered together with the All-Weather Package. There remains a more traditional in-dash touch-screen navigation system, with a larger 7-inch display, at the more traditional price of $1,800.