2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited Road Test

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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An early pioneer in the compact SUV field, the Subaru Forester was one of the first "crossover" types in existence – even before the crossover terminology had been coined.  It's always been great fun to drive and is genuinely off-road capable in lighter situations.  The Forester has evolved over its life span, continuing to improve. 

All vehicles in the Subaru lineup come standard with "Symmetrical" All-Wheel Drive (AWD), and this, the third generation of the Forester, was completely redone for the 2009 model year.  The styling elements are softer and more contemporary in nature and appearance than on previous models, but at the same time, display a bolder SUV-like face.  2010 models are based on an all-new platform with a longer wheelbase, and feature a wider track and longer suspension travel with more interior volume as well. 

Two engines are available to power 2010 Forester models: both are 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder units.  One is a SOHC, 16-valve normally aspirated engine that produces 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, while the other is a DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged and intercooled engine that delivers 224 horses while generating 226 pound-feet of torque.  There are also two transmission types: a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic with Sportshift manual shifting capability and a lockup torque converter. 

Two forms of Symmetrical AWD exist as well: a continuous All-Wheel Drive system with a viscous-coupling locking centre differential in manual transmission models, and an active All-Wheel Drive system with an electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch.  Stability and traction control are standard on all models. 

Six Forester trim levels are offered for the 2010 model year: Standard, Touring, Limited, Limited with Multimedia, and PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) and Limited plus Limited with Multimedia trim lines for the 2.5XT, which features the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Other 2010 changes include an available navigation system in Limited with Multimedia trim lines, which now includes Bluetooth wireless capability, and a new instrument cluster design. 

My test Subaru was the 2.5XT Limited with Multimedia featuring the exterior finished in Sage Green metallic, while the interior was done in Gray with contrasting Charcoal panels highlighted by Satin Silver finished trim accents.  The base price was set at $37,295.  The base price of the base 2.5X is $25,995, incidentally. 
The 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited is a practical vehicle that's fun to drive while providing a sense of security when traveling off the beaten path, as long as the trail isn't too rough.  There's good rear legroom, and the doors open at a wide angle making for easier ingress and egress.  The 60/40 split rear seat folds flat offering cargo/passenger flexibility and versatility. 

Last year's wheelbase extension delivers a smoother ride quality.  Both engine variants supply plenty of power, while obviously the turbocharged version is the more potent of the two, generating considerably more get up and go. Models with either engine variant dispense of their exhaust gasses through dual tailpipes, and the turbocharged Forester sports a functional hood scoop. 

The 2010 Subaru Forester lineup provides an even more impressive inventory of safety, technology, comfort and driving dynamics than pre-2009 models – no small feat given the levels offered by previous Foresters. 

The Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited showcases the attributes of an SUV, with the ability to tow up to 1,088 kilos (2,400 pounds), while also providing the ease of operation of a car.  Handling characteristics are crisp and positive, reinforcing the contemporary, athletic appearance.  Bottom line, this latest iteration Forester is at home in urban driving scenarios or equally "at home on the range."

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Subaru, 2010, Forester, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Subaru

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