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Subaru Forester review

With a 2014 redesign, this fuel-efficient small SUV now tops its class

Consumer Reports magazine: July 2013

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The small-SUV category is like a rugged, rocky mountain that has proved difficult to scale for many hopeful models. For the past decade, the Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester had maintained a vigorous rivalry while scrambling for the top spot. But recent redesigns to the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and RAV4 have reshuffled the class. Now the Forester has undergone its own redesign for 2014, and its lofty road-test score of 88 has left it alone at the summit with its competition far below.

What’s its secret? Sticking to the basics. This new Forester embodies the saying  “a steady pace wins the race.” It has always been a sound, practical vehicle, although its plain, unpretentious demeanor hasn’t helped it stand out to car shoppers in this crowded field.

With its redesign, Subaru has continued putting function in front of form. It resisted the contemporary trend toward making SUVs look like sports coupes with descending rooflines and curvaceous bodies, instead focusing on the fundamentals with a space- efficient design, large windows, and big square doors. That recipe has resulted in the easiest access and the best view out of almost any vehicle, and one of the roomiest rear seats in the class, with copious head and leg room.

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