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

Finding its element
Out on a narrow two lane, winding mountain highway, the Forester 2.5XT Limited definitely doesn't like to be flogged through the corners, and feels more comfortable at a moderate pace all around. The automatic transmission does have a manual mode, but considering the limited number of gears to play with, it seems more suited to engine braking during a descent. The engine doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in passing maneuvers, but we still manage to get around some slowpokes.

The Forester is a good car for light off-road adventures.

Off on a side road, the pavement ends in favor of dirt. The Forester 2.5XT Limited doesn't feel bothered, chunking along while its suspension damps out the bigger ruts and holes. At these slower speeds, the panoramic sunroof--a standard feature--offers a wide view for the enjoyment of the surrounding nature. Trekking through a meadow, the Forester really seems to be in its element, a perfect car for a back country picnic. This dirt road work hardly taxes the all-wheel-drive system, which would find its best use helping the Forester 2.5XT Limited tackle ski trips up snow-covered roads.

In sum
We like the general performance of the 2010 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited, its engine and handling making it a very drivable car, while the all-wheel-drive system inspires some confidence for off-road exploring. But it isn't much of a tech car. The available navigation system is useful, but similar to those available on other cars five years ago. The stereo could benefit from a complete aftermarket makeover, as the stock sound isn't acceptable. Bluetooth rounds out the tech options, but won't offer some of the more advanced features available in other cars, such as making a phone's contact list available from the car's LCD.

Spec box
Model 2010 Subaru Forester
Trim 2.5XT Limited
Power train 2.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder boxer style engine
EPA fuel economy 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Observed fuel economy 22 mpg
Navigation Optional DVD-based
Bluetooth phone support Optional with navigation
Disc player Six CD in-dash, MP3 capable
MP3 player support Auxiliary input
Other digital audio Satellite radio
Audio system Six speaker
Driver aids None
Base price 28,495
Price as tested $29,694

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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