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Old 07-22-2011, 12:24 PM
 
2,186 posts, read 6,566,575 times

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The Subaru Forester is a practical and affordable vehicle, with an appearance vaguely reminiscent of a station wagon. It costs anywhere from $21,000 to $29,000, depending on what extra features are ordered (turbocharged engine, sunroof, etc.) For people who live in cold climates, it is especially useful, since it comes equipped with all-wheel-drive (AWD), which can make the difference between staying on the road or winding up in a ditch. The center of gravity is low, also useful in dicey driving conditions. The basic model has a four-cylinder engine with a 2.5-liter gas tank. The mileage is decent - about 22 to 28 mpg, depending on the driving style.

The Forester's ride is smooth and comfortable - you don't feel every bump in the road. It handles well, with responsive steering. Visibility is excellent, with no dangerous blind spots. The rear seat is roomy enough for two adults, three children or two car seats. There is plenty of legroom and headroom for both the front and back seats. The vehicle comes equipped with both driver's side and passenger side airbags.

The air-conditioner and heater on this car actually work. It's easy to quickly cool down or heat up the car interior. The rear windshield wiper is helpful, and the rear windows also have imbedded heating threads for defogging, or to melt ice and frost. It's simple to check the oil level, with a clearly labeled dipstick immediately visible when the hood is opened. Should you have a flat tire, you'll appreciate how efficiently the spare tire and jack have been stored in the back, under the cargo area. A fitted black mat protects the cargo area from dirt and spills, and is easily removed and cleaned. A retractable cargo area cover is useful for hiding valuables from view, and can be easily detached when not needed. The back seats can be lowered flat at the push of a button, so that the entire back portion of the car can be used for hauling. The front seats recline for taking a quick nap in a rest area.

The fabric upholstery is attractive and easy to clean. Spills wipe up effortlessly. There are adequate cup holders for both front and back, and a roomy center console for storage. The control panel is attractive and the gauges are easy to see and to understand. Radio controls on the steering wheel make it safe to adjust music while driving. The emergency light is centrally located and clearly marked. The switches for both the dome light and the cargo area light are easy to find and easy to turn to On, Off, or Door, meaning the light turns on only when the door is open. This sounds like a small detail, but some car designs have ridiculous layers of complication for the simplest functions. With the Subaru, drivers find themselves sending silent thanks to the designers instead of curses.

When replacing tires, be sure to replace them all at the same time. Mismatched tires can lead to serious transmission problems over time.

A few minor problems: Dirt and dust can accumulate in the back latch mechanism, causing it to stay in the up position. When the latch is up, the cargo door won't close. The switch for the parking lights is something that could easily be left on unnoticed, and can cause the battery to drain. One negative aspect of the driver's seat is the lack of lumbar support. Frequent drivers need to equip their car with an additional lumbar pillow.

The Subaru Forester is an affordable, durable car designed with common sense and functionality in mind. With proper maintenance, it should provide years of service without costly repairs.
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