The 2014 Subaru Forester is larger in every direction compared to the 2013 model, but familiar proportions help keep the new generation from looking engorged. Taken on its own, the Japanese CUV looks fairly compact, but with its tall ride height and more capacious greenhouse, the model can’t help but appear beefier than competitors like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. Both the base Forester and the XT now feature more squared-off styling front and rear, and the result is a more masculine mini SUV.
The base engine continues to deliver 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 174 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm, but the new beating heart behind the XT puts out 250 horses from 5,600 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from a foolishly low 2,000 rpm. That’s a jump of 26 hp and 32 lb-ft of torque over the outgoing turbocharged 2.5-liter engine. While the base 2014 Forester gets to enjoy an all-new six-speed manual transmission, as well as a new continuously variable transmission option, the XT rides with an all-new high-torque CVT of its own. The new transmissions translate into some impressive fuel economy figures, with the base model returning 24 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway by Subaru estimations (the EPA has yet to officially weigh in). The XT, meanwhile, now meets the 2013 base model’s numbers with 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, and the turbo no longer requires premium fuel. Those are impressive numbers considering the Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive.