2014 Subaru Forester XT Six-Month Road Test: What's New For 2015

April 8, 2014

 We're just starting our third month behind the wheel of our 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT, and change is in the air--not just the change from snow and slush to epic layers of pollen. The Forester's headed to our upstate New York bureau for an extended look at spring--and Subaru's already issued information on the 2015 Forester, from pricing to feature content.

MORE: Read our 2015 Subaru Forester review

 We've updated our current Forester review to reflect those changes, but in case you missed it, Subaru's priced the 2015 Forester from $23,045 including destination. That's for the base 2.5i with the manual transmission. For a vehicle outfitted with the turbocharged flat four, you'll be looking at the Forester 2.0XT, which is priced from $29,345.

Those base prices don't include additional equipment, which includes the continuously variable transmission (CVT) on non-turbo models. However, for 2015, all Foresters now come with a rearview camera and a color information display as standard equipment. Turbo wagons with the premium package and the manual transmission have added a standard moonroof, while turbo Premium wagons now get the All-Weather Package included as standard.

Regardless of powertrains, Forester Touring models get pushbutton start and high-intensity discharge headlamps, and an option for Subaru's navigation system, which sometimes has us reaching for our simpler smartphones and their cleaner interfaces.

If you're concerned most about safety, there's more good news. For the 2014 model year, the Forester was one of only two small SUVs to merit the Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Crash scores aren't enough: vehicles must also have some sort of forward-collision prevention system at least on the options list to qualify. The Forester hits all the crash-safety targets--and for 2015, the EyeSight stereo-camera collision-prevention system is now $500 cheaper.

The EyeSight system integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane-departure warnings, all to detect impending accidents and to prevent some of them. In general, we've become more appreciative of the system in our Forester, but with some mild reservations. The audible blips it emits each time it detects a potential obstacle are slightly distracting, in and of themselves.

Also, it's not enough to depress the turn stalk lightly to signal change lanes. In that case, you won't avoid a lane-departure warning even though you're activating the signal--you must depress the stalk all the way through its travel into its detent. The stereo cameras are disabled when they get a hit of direct sunlight, so some early-morning and late-afternoon drives will depend entirely on your obstacle-avoidance skills.

In our experience, the Forester's mildly autonomous talents trigger some deeper questions about the goals for autonomous driving. What happens if the lead car is driving too slowly? How predictably will autonomous-piloted cars interact with "regular" cars? How realistic is it to hope for even 50 percent of American roads to be maintained well enough to permit long-distance use?

We'll explore those questions more over the next four months. Next week, we'll be shuttling the Forester to New York. Before then, we'll update you on our driving time over the first four months--different opinions, recorded gas mileage, and more--and whether we've missed anything in naming the Forester our Best Car To Buy 2014.

Follow along for the ride--and connect with us below if you have a task or a question in mind for our six-month test.


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