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Better fuel economy, safety systems underpin refreshed 2017 Subaru Forester

Despite being a mid-cycle refresh, Subaru threw everything short of the kitchen sink at its cute ute.

Subaru calls it Sepia Bronze, but we all know that it's brown, and it's awesome.

Subaru

Some mid-cycle refreshes are light, focusing on small tweaks to an otherwise unchanged vehicle. Subaru took the opposite route with its 2017 Forester, loading it up with all manner of upgraded bits, improving everything from design to fuel economy to its EyeSight suite of safety systems.

As before, the Forester has four trim levels -- base, premium, limited and touring. There are two engines on offer, as well. The 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter flat-four is available on all trim levels, whereas the 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four is available on just premium and touring trims. As with all Subarus save for the BRZ, all-wheel drive is standard.

Tweaks to the powertrain resulted in a small efficiency gain for 2.5-liter models equipped with a CVT. Economy is up to 26 mpg city, from 24 mpg on previous models.

The bulk of the upgrade went to EyeSight, Subaru's suite of active and passive safety systems. It's now packing color cameras with a longer, wider field of vision. There's a new lane-keep assist function that gently guides you back into your lane, as well as new high-beam assist and steering-responsive headlight systems. Limited and touring trims also receive automated reverse braking.

Subaru also changed the car's style ever so slightly. Tweaked headlights are more in line with other new offerings from the Japanese carmaker, and 2.5-liter models are also treated to a new front bumper. Premium vehicles get a new body-colored rear spoiler, and there's an awesome new exterior color available for touring models -- brown! (No sarcasm here, just genuine elation.)

Inside, you'll find an updated steering wheel and added soundproofing by way of thicker door glass and new door seals. Touring models receive a standard heated steering wheel, as well. Infotainment offerings remain the same, with a choice of 6.2- or 7.0-inch screens, depending on trim level.