On paper, the powertrain of our 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT contender is nothing new or particularly special. Forester models receive a version of the 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder found in the Impreza sedan. Transmission options are even less stunning: a carried-over five-speed manual or four-speed automatic for entry-level 2.5X models; auto only if you opt for the turbocharged 2.5XT variant. - Edward Loh