2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited review: 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.6
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good With its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited offers a good compromise between power and fuel economy. Standard all-wheel-drive makes it a capable car for ski trips and light off-road exploring.

The Bad The six-speaker-audio system does a poor job with music, and there is no iPod integration. Its other tech options are behind the curve. The four-speed-automatic transmission seems primitive compared with the competition.

The Bottom Line A very drivable and capable-feeling car, the 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited's cabin tech options offer just the minimum of modern automotive convenience.

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With a size somewhere between a wagon and a small SUV, the 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited is an odd duck, yet still immensely practical as a family camper with its roomy interior and light off-road capability. The 2.5XT Limited gets a turbocharged version of Subaru's 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder engine, giving it a little extra pep when needed. However, Subaru remains steadfastly behind the tech curve, merely making available basic navigation with a hands-free Bluetooth phone system for the Forester 2.5XT Limited.

Getting into our test car, we were disappointed to see that it lacked any of the few available tech options, the head unit space occupied by the same stereo and six-disc-CD changer we've seen in other Subarus over the last few years. We have used Subaru's navigation system previously in the 2008 Impreza WRX and found it capable, but lacking in some of the more advanced features available today, such as traffic reporting.

Audio options
The non-navigation stereo uses a relatively large monochrome display suitable for showing information from MP3 CDs playing in the changer. The Forester 2.5XT Limited can also be had with satellite radio, and information from songs also shows up on the display. The only other audio source of note is the auxiliary jack, as full iPod integration isn't available.


The stereo's display is large enough to show song and channel information from satellite radio.

The audio system connected to this stereo doesn't do much for music. It is limited to six speakers, four in the doors and tweeters at the base of the A pillars, which just seem to blast out sound with no finesse or attempt at staging. Sitting in the driver seat, the left-side speakers were overly prominent, with no counter-balance from the right-side speakers. Automotive audio systems should attempt to balance out the audio experience, creating a stereo effect for all passengers.

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About The Author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.