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2010 Subaru Forester

The 2010 Subaru Forester is a crossover vehicle that blends many of the best attributes of a sport-utility vehicle with the ride and driving dynamics of a car.  It got a complete redesign last year, so there are minimal changes for 2010. A new 2.5 X Premium trim adds popular features to the entry-level 2.5 X, including alloy wheels, privacy glass, body-colored exterior mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a power driver seat with lumbar support. Also new for 2010, the available navigation system adds integrated Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Forester offers Subaru's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, as well as a versatile rear cargo area with liftgate, under floor storage and up to 68 cubic feet of cargo capacity. The Subaru Forester, was first rolled in 1998, and is now in its third generation. This generation is larger and more similar to all the other car-based compact SUVs out there, including the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

Powering the 2010 Forester

All trim levels are equipped with a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine; in "X" variants, the engine is naturally-aspirated and produces 170 horsepower, while both "XT" variants generate 224 horsepower, compliments of an intercooled turbocharger. The 2.5 X and 2.5 X Premium get a 5-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist, while all other trims are mated to a 4-speed automatic with manual shift mode.  There's a huge difference in torque between the two available engines, especially felt on the freeway, where the 2.5X works to keep up, despite the fact that the normally aspirated SOHC engine has been refined to deliver more low and mid-range torque than before.  The four-speed automatic transmission and the 170-horsepower 2.5X is a weak combination where a five speed would do much better.

Subaru Forester Design

Where previous Forester models looked more like tall wagons than SUVs, the newer Forester more closely resembles a traditional SUV. The Forester is 179.5 inches long and 70.1 inches wide. Driver visibility is excellent in all directions, thanks to careful pillar design.  Ground clearance is 8.9 inches. Fog lights are optional and turbo versions are distinguished by a hood scoop that funnels cooling air into the intercooler just under the hood. The Forester seats five people and has standard all-wheel drive.

Driving a Forester

The engine of the 2010 Forester is mounted 0.4 inch lower than the last generation, thus lowering the center of gravity and making it a safer vehicle. Because the engine is designed for safety to be pushed back under the car in a head-on crash, this four-tenths of an inch counts more.  The rear suspension does a good job.  It allows a rear frame height to be the same as a sedan, but ground clearance is unaffected. The most recent improvement in rear suspension made the Forester quieter. The highway ride is comfortable with no harsh spots.  The stability control is programmed to allow the tires to spin a bit, under acceleration, so the throttle won't cut out on dirt roads. The Forester excels in off road abilities when compared to competitors. As far as all-wheel drive systems go, Subaru says the automatic comes with Variable Torque Management, which shifts power to the front and rear axles by monitoring throttle position, battery voltage, generator rpm, wheel speed, brake status, lateral g-force and automatic transmission fluid temperature. The manual Forester has a simple viscous coupling that's reactive rather than proactive.

Inside the 2010 Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has a good amount of room inside. Legroom is excellent, increased by 4.3 inches, on a wheelbase increase of 3.6 inches, and there is a couple of inches more shoulder room as well.  The rear seat in the 2010 Forester reclines in all but the 2.5X base model, and includes a retractable center tray with fixed drink holders. The front door is wider than before, and the rear doors now swing open 75 degrees, making it easy to get in and out. There's a slit over the center stack with digital display for time and temperature. The center console is deep, and slides forward four inches to make an armrest. The cloth seats are comfortable.  The seats are available in gray or black, and are on the conservative side rather than sporty. 


The 2010 Forester is available in five trim levels: 2.5 X, 2.5 X Premium, 2.5 X Limited, 2.5 XT Premium and 2.5 XT Limited.  Notable features include a panoramic glass sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, 6-disc CD changer, automatic climate control, heated front seats and leather upholstery. An optional touch-screen GPS navigation system is offered on XT variants. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability and traction control systems, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist, active front head restraints, front side-impact airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor. The door openings are large, and the rear window is larger than on the previous Forester.  The best things about the 2010 model are its spacious, no-nonsense cargo area, its comfortable seats, excellent rear visibility, good brakes and a low starting price.

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