Powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve engine, the 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium Crossover SUV offers 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. While this certainly will not win you any races, it will give you a nice break at the pump as it returns 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. This is a standard all-wheel drive vehicle that gets a five-speed manual transmission. If you choose, there is a four-speed automatic transmission available, which is obviously pretty outdated. Accelerating zero to 60 mph takes 10.1 seconds, making this one of the market’s slowest small crossovers. Surprisingly, with this little amount of power, this vehicle can still tow about 2,400 pounds, which is perfect for a couple snowmobiles or jet skis. What this sport utility vehicle lacks in power, it makes up in the ride and handling. The four-wheel independent suspension ensures a smooth ride to all passengers while the small turning circle and crisp steering makes it easy to maneuver and park. The ride is surprisingly comfortable for the price point, but the cabin is a little noisy.
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• Audio - A four-speaker audio system is standard with CD player, USB port, auxiliary jack and Bluetooth audio streaming. There is also an optional six-speaker system as well.
• SiriusXM - If you want to enjoy more than 100 digital channels of commercial-free music, news and sports broadcasts, you will want to add a subscription for SiriusXM satellite radio.
• Bluetooth - Send, receive and end calls by simply tapping the controls at your fingertips that are placed on the steering wheel.
• Rear Vision Camera - This optional feature allows you to see what is behind you when you put your vehicle into reverse.
When tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2013 Forester 2.5X Premium received a “Good” rating in roof, side and front crash tests. It also did well in braking, taking a respectable 122 feet to stop from 60 mph. Safety features include:
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• Reverse assist sensors
• Vehicle dynamics control
• Brake assist
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Rollover sensor
• Seatbelt pretensioners
• Rear door safety locks
• Child seat anchors
• Engine immobilizer
• Antitheft security system
• Keyless entry system
• Traction control
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
The styling of the Forester 2.5X Premium is simple, but interesting enough to appeal to a diverse selection of buyers. The shape is boxy and the lines are clean, but the body-colored side mirrors, raised roof rails and 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels add a few points of interest.
You may feel as though you’re stepping back in time a little when you enter the passenger cabin. Although highly functional, it is definitely dated. The use of low-quality cloth upholstery and hard plastic definitely cheapens the ambiance. That being said, the controls are neatly placed and gauges are easy to read. Both the front and rear seat have plenty of leg and head room, but the middle seat in the back isn’t practical to use unless you have to. The seat does recline to offer maximum comfort, but the position is a little higher than what most would prefer. The driver does enjoy a 10-way power seat to ensure they have good command of the road.
The great thing about the Forester is that its boxy styling allows you to load large or bulky items with ease. Behind the rear set is 33.5 cubic feet, but fold the seat down and you get 68.3 cubes.