$21,795 – $28,695 MSRP
$20,452 – $26,733 Invoice
19 / 25 MPG City/Hwy
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A mild facelift featuring new front and rear bumpers, headlights, and grille are among the obvious visual changes. Forester's standard engine is bigger and slightly more powerful, while the optional turbocharged engine receives a 10-percent power boost; still, fuel economy increases thanks to revised gear ratios in both available transmissions. Ground clearance increases by one-half an inch across the board, while revised suspension tuning allows a smoother ride. Inside, a new multi-function console, a revised rear seat that provides additional thigh support, and a fold-down rear center armrest are aimed at increasing comfort and convenience. A security system is now standard.
Although all-wheel-drive Subaru station wagons have long been considered to be the original sport utility vehicles (SUVs), dating back to 1973, the Forester is considered Subaru's first proper SUV. The Forester rides on modified Subaru Impreza underpinnings, which means that, among other things, all-wheel drive is standard, and the four-cylinder engine is mounted low in the chassis for more car-like handling than you'd expect out of a garden-variety SUV. The optional turbocharged engine means that those who need to drive an SUV can still engage in spirited driving when conditions permit.
For its $21,795 base price, the Subaru Forester arrives comfortably equipped with power windows and locks, cruise control, air conditioning, an air-filtration system, remote keyless entry, a tilt steering wheel, an AM/FM/Weatherband stereo with CD player and four speakers, an alarm and more. The available Premium Package adds four-wheel-disc brakes, a power tilt/sliding sunroof, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, and a leather-covered steering wheel, shifter handle and parking brake. Step up to the premium L.L. Bean edition and you'll receive leather-and-suede seating, a self-leveling rear suspension, special wheels and body accents, and a mandatory automatic transmission. The XT Limited model comes standard with a 230-hp, turbocharged engine.
The Forester's interior utilizes plastics that some may consider a coupee of grades harder and shinier than plastics used in its rivals. Also, the all-wheel-drive gear may aid in making the Forester feel more sure-footed in all weather conditions, but in drier climates, it may seem unnecessary for all but the most performance-oriented drivers. Also, the extra weight of all-wheel drive often results in a slight fuel economy penalty.
The Forester competes in the relatively recent-yet hotly-contested-Compact CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) segment; the number of models in the segment has doubled in the past three years and now equals 18. No less than four manufacturers offer two models in the segment: Chevrolet (HHR and Equinox), Honda (CR-V and Element), Hyundai (Santa Fe and Tucson), and Mazda (Tribute and the new CX-7).
The sales leader in the group is the Ford Escape, with 165,122 units sold in calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM The Honda CR-V was next, with 150,219 units sold in 2005, followed by the Chrysler PT Cruiser (133,740). One other model (the Chevrolet Equinox, with 130,542), had sales greater than 100,000 during 2005. The Forester sold 53,541 units in 2005, ranking the model 11th on the segment sales chart.
|2.5 X (M5)||5 speed manual||$21,795||173-hp / 2.5L 4-cyl||22/29|
|2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition (A4)||4 speed automatic||$26,895||173-hp / 2.5L 4-cyl||23/28|
|2.5 XT Limited (M5)||5 speed manual||$27,895||230-hp / 2.5L 4-cyl||19/25|