2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT Long-Term Verdict
After over a year with our Subaru Forester 2.0XT, it's time for the vehicle to return to its home. The sweet little CUV has served us well for the past year and provided support through lots of fun activities over a modest variety of terrain. Despite our long-termer lacking all the luxury accoutrements of its 2.5i stablemate (read the 2014 Forester 2.5i Verdict review HERE), the XT still proved itself an incredibly comfortable and proficient vehicle with enough pep to make on-road driving as much fun as any off-road excursions.
The list of options we did not add to our 2.0XT is longer than the list of those we opted for. Premium package aside, this Forester was sparsely equipped, relatively speaking. No navigation system or satellite radio, though we still got Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming audio and Subaru's stock radio and speakers. We had no power folding seats or power back hatch, no pre-collision braking or the lane departure warning that comes with Subaru's EyeSight driver assist system. Just Subaru in its purest form, no distractions.
The main advantage of the 2.0XT versus the 2.5i is the turbo engine with sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, and larger brakes, all of which really made for enjoyable and spirited driving. Getting up to speed on freeway on-ramps was never a problem with the XT's 2.0-liter, DOHC, intercooled, turbo boxer engine. Our test team reported 0-60 acceleration numbers of 6.4 seconds and tossed the XT around our figure eight in 28.0 seconds at 0.61 g.
Lineartronic continuously variable transmission helps this Forester use the 250 horses under its hood while still maintaining decent fuel mileage. The CVT is, dare I say, more than tolerable when paired with the XT's exclusive SI-DRIVE and switched to Sport or Sport Sharp mode for six or eight "gears," respectively. To select these gears, the driver must use the steering wheel-mounted paddles, whose response times were acceptable but not impressive. But really, who needs lightning-quick shift action in a compact SUV? That said, this former WRX owner still misses the satisfaction of rowing through a manual gearbox when the drive is sporting. All other days, particularly in L.A. traffic, the CVT suited me just fine.
The 2.0XT also comes equipped with X-Mode, designed to assist with steep downhill treks via hill descent control, softer throttle response, lower gear ratios, and improved traction. Despite a few mild off-road treks through the Sierra foothills and the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, the only time I put this option to use was on the incredibly steep concrete streets of San Francisco, which the brakes surely appreciated. Although this didn't challenge the traction as much as a steep dirt trail would, the hill descent control was a welcome feature nonetheless.
Visibility was never an issue in our Forester 2.0XT. With an 8.7-inch ground clearance adding to a respectable ride height and large windows all around, the Subie had a near-panoramic view of any environment. The enormous sunroof made for easy gawking at towering skyscrapers while playing tour guide on weekends and impressive views of clouds at dusk and the moon and stars at night. The only issue I had with visibility was the two-toned interior of the windowsill causing false alarms when I checked my passenger side blind spot through the small window above the rear three-quarter panel.
Driving around L.A.'s choppy streets and awful concrete slab freeways, I came to appreciate the Forester's comfortable ride. With the firm yet compliant suspension and seating to match, the XT never caused complaints from driving through twisties to long freeway slogs. The 2.0XT has stiffer front and rear springs than the 2.5i, along with exclusive chassis reinforcements, giving the Subie a respectably planted stance through corners, albeit with a bit of understeer. Over long distances, though, I was thanking the Forester's new pillow ball joint mounts on its rear suspension and its decent front seat cushioning for the comfy long-distance ride quality. Heavier drivers and passengers complained about the seats being too firm, but I found them just firm enough to hold up after long distances without punishing my sit-bones like a wooden bench.
All in all, the Forester 2.0XT did not disappoint. Plenty of room to tote furniture, small trees, and surfboards along with enough ground clearance and comfortable ride quality allowed this Subie to be the jack-of-all-trades in the long-term fleet. Anywhere I wanted to go, I didn't think twice about the Forester's ability to tote all the gear I needed and to get me there comfortably in one piece. I'm quite sad to see this CUV leave our garage and look forward to the next version of Subaru's well-appointed utility vehicle.
More on our long-term 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT:
|SERVICE LIFE||14 mo / 24,560 mi|
|OPTIONS||Cargo tray ($75), rubber floor mats ($72), cargo net ($55)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$29,022|
|AVG ECON/CO2||22.5 mpg / 0.86 lb/mi|
|MAINTENANCE COST||$0 (2-oil change, tire rotation, inspection; 1-engine-air filter)|
|3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE*||$16,252|
|*Automotive Lease Guide data|
|2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Turbocharged F-4, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||121.9 cu in/1,998cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||250 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||258 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||14.4 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont. variable auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F;R||12.4-in vented disc; 10.9-in vented disc, ABS|
|WHEELS||7.0 x 18-in, cast aluminum|
|TIRES||225/55R18 97H M+S Bridgestone Dueler H/L 400|
|TRACK, F/R||60.9/61.1 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||180.9 x 70.7 x 66.4 in|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||8.7 in|
|APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE||23.0/25.0 deg|
|TURNING CIRCLE||34.8 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,596 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST., F/R||59/41%|
|TOWING CAPACITY||1,500 lb|
|HEADROOM, F/R||40.0/37.5 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||43.0/38.0 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||57.0/56.5 in|
|CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R||68.5/31.5 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||3.2|
|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)|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||1,800 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$29,022|
|AIRBAGS||Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||5 yrs/60,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||3 yrs/36,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||15.9 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||23/28/25 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||147/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.78 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||23.1/29.9/25.7 mpg|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|