It’s obvious Subaru knows what its buyers want, considering this is the second win for the Forester, which first took home the calipers in 2009. For 2014, the Forester was significantly refreshed with even more of what people want: better efficiency, added power, and increased cargo volume. And it accomplishes all this while still being fun to drive. We tested the 2.5i Premium with a six-speed manual and the turbocharged 2.0XT with a CVT, along with variants of every other SUV of the Year contender on the same loops with the same drivers.
While most enthusiasts groan over CVTs, several of our judges were pleasantly surprised with the one in the 2.0XT Forester. Senior features editor Jonny Lieberman even said he had as much fun driving the Subie as much he did in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and Audi SQ5, but what really hit it home for him was that the Forester cost significantly less than those two.
It’s here where judges checked value off the list, and also engineering excellence, as its sportier suspension made it quite “tossable.” As for efficiency, the highly efficient 2.5 Touring got the best-of-test fuel economy at 21.9 mpg. The Forester also proved capable off-road, while boasting impressive safety features, which allowed it to be one of the first to earn a top score on the IIHS small overlap test.
Subarus have never been stunning vehicles, and the Forester is no different. So although the Subaru Forester didn’t excel in advancement in design, it exceeded expectations in all other categories, which is it’s the 2014 Motor Trend SUV of the Year. Get the full 2014 Motor Trend SUV of the Year winner story right here and then tell us: Do you agree with our choice?