Back in 2013, we were so excited when Subaru released its 2014 Forester that we ordered one right away for our long-term fleet. Nate Martinez had already been driving our 2.5i Touring for a few months when we named the Forester our 2014 SUV of the Year. Of course, this meant that only one long-term Forester just wouldn’t do. So we ordered up the 2.0XT model for a little side-by-side comparison.

I’m always assigned a large-capacity vehicle for photo-shoot purposes, and was the lucky one chosen to drive the 2.0XT for a year. At first glance, the two Foresters appear identical. They share the same seating and cargo capacity, All-Wheel Drive, and Vehicle Dynamics Control, among other standard features including a rear vision camera, USB port with iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth capability. The big differences between our two long-term Foresters are in the optional equipment and what’s under the hood.

The 2.0XT Forester sports a 2.0L DOHC intercooled turbocharged boxer engine that pumps out 250 horses at 5600 rpm. This, along with its 3622-pound curb weight, accounts for its EPA rating of 23/28 mpg city/highway. Its Lineartronic CVT comes with X-Mode (as seen on the 2.5iT), as well as Subaru Intelligent Drive, which is exclusive to the 2.0XT. SI-Drive allows the driver to switch between three modes of throttle response: Intelligent, Sport, and Sport Sharp. The latter two settings give the driver a more manual-style driving experience by letting you use the paddle shifters to transition between six or eight gears, respectively. I’m looking forward to exploring that feature more thoroughly.

Aside from the turbo engine and fancy CVT modes, our long-term 2.0XT came pretty bare-bones. We ordered it without navigation, satellite radio, power folding rear seats, or power rear hatch, among other options. And though it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles we got on our 2.5i Touring, it still covers the basics plus a little extra. This keeps our Forester 2.0XT at just under $30K after adding a cargo net, cargo tray, and all-weather floormats.

My long-term vehicles are always workhorses, doing double- and triple- duty as commuters, photo support vehicles, and weekend warriors. I suspect the Forester 2.0XT will have no trouble handling all of those tasks. Stay tuned to see if it truly proves to be a jack-of-all-trades.


2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT
BASE PRICE $28,820
PRICE AS TESTED $29,022
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L/250-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION Cont. variable auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3596 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 103.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 180.9 x 70.7 x 68.2 in
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.0 sec @ 92.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 115 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.78 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.0 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 23/28/25 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY/COMB 147/120/135 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMBINED 0.78 lb/mile