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Redesigned-for-2014 Subaru Forester joins our test fleet and makes a good first impression

Consumer Reports News: March 15, 2013 02:08 PM

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The Subaru Forester is one of the most researched cars on the Consumer Reports website. Consequently, buying the first redesigned-for-2014 Forester that we could get our hands on was a top priority. And it just arrived at our Auto Test Center.

Our Forester is the most popular trim: a Premium model with the continuously variable transmission. Since we live where it gets cold, we added the $500 all-weather package, which includes heated front seats and mirrors. Not like we had much choice, anyway; basically every Forester Premium sold around here brings these heated accoutrements. Our Forester also has various add-ons, like a $272 self-dimming mirror, a $75 cargo tray, and $147 splash guards. The sticker came to $26,814—pretty much right in the sweet spot for small SUVs nowadays.

Just how vital is the Forester to Subaru? One sign is my email inbox, which has several "The 2014 Forester Is Here!" messages from local Subaru dealers. With all the excitement, you'd think the Forester was a SRT Viper or something. Another sign: a local dealer is already offering the Forester for $500 under invoice. That's crazy for a car that is still warm from being driven off the transport truck. Then again, you can't throw a stone in New England without hitting a Subaru dealer, so competition fuels the deals.

We're starting to accumulate break-in miles on our new blue Forester. Like many of our readers, we're eager to see how it stacks up against other new and freshened small SUVs. There's a redesigned Toyota RAV4 and a reinvigorated Mazda CX-5, all competing against our 2013 small SUV Top Pick, the Honda CR-V. We'll find out soon how the Forester does in this skirmish. Until then, enjoy our first drive video for the 2014 Forester.

Tom Mutchler

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