The Subaru Forester builds on a long reputation for being one of the best-rated compact crossover wagons for safety. It was already a longtime Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick; but the 2014 model does even better, with one of the top comprehensive ratings that the IIHS has awarded, and its best rating among what it calls 'small SUVs.'
The IIHS called it the best-performing vehicle yet, at the time that it was run in the agency's new small overlap frontal test. It's the only model in its class to earn a top 'good' rating in that test, and only one of two in its class to earn the new Top Safety Pick+ accolade. It does very well in federal tests, too, earning five stars overall--though due to its four-star frontal result it doesn't quite pull off a perfect sweep.
Subaru claims to have reinforced its structure in many key places to give the '14 Forester even better occupant protection.
The automaker also considers its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system to be a safety asset; although the system is laid-out differently depending on whether it has a manual transmission or the CVT, it distributes its power independently of the stability system (unlike many other modern AWD systems)—an advantage for stability
Available active-safety features in the Forester will now include adaptive cruise control (ACC), running at speeds from 25 mph up to 90 mph, while the Forester gets the EyeSight system for spotting road hazards with a camera-based system, up to 80 meters ahead, and potentially avoiding an accident by braking at up to 0.4g. Furthermore, in X-Mode, Hill Descent Control automatically deploys to keep speeds slow and safe down steep, slippery slopes.
Visibility is also a step ahead of both the previous Forester and most other compact crossovers, because of two changes: Subaru moved the A-pillars forward a bit, then moved the side mirrors back from the pillars and added a small partitioned front windows ahead of the window glass. Bringing the hoodline down in XT Turbo models (where there used to be a big air scoop) also helps.