Subaru has made a business out of catering to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts with practical crossover-style vehicles that get good fuel economy and come standard with all-wheel drive. The Forester is a key part of that legend.

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Unlike the latest Outback model, the Forester maintains SUV-like looks. Its large windows provide good visibility all around and a high roof line makes for comfortable seating inside. It's a five-passenger configuration with a cargo area in the rear.

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Subaru only offers a couple of engine choices for the Forester, both with four cylinders. The standard engine displaces 2.5 liters and produces 170 horsepower. The car can be had with a direct-injection 2-liter turbocharged engine making 250 horsepower.

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The rear seats fold down to maximize cargo space, bringing it up to 74.7 cubic feet from 34.4 cubic feet. A rubber floor mat makes the interior easy to clean.

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In Touring trim level, the Forester gets leather, power-adjustable seats. An All-Weather package comes standard at this level, too.

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With the boxy shape, the rear seats offer plenty of headroom and good outward visibility.

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Subaru uses an electric power-steering system in the Forester, but in feel it's virtually indistinguishable from a hydraulic system.

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The EyeSight option adds adaptive cruise control. A button on the steering-wheel spoke lets you set the following distance.

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The Forester has an upper LCD showing fuel economy and other vehicle information. This display shows the vehicle's current fuel economy, and can be used as a coach for more economical driving.

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Subaru has embraced continuously variable transmissions, the automatic option for the Forester. With no fixed gears, the transmission constantly seeks the best ratio for fuel economy given the current driving conditions.

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The navigation system shows up on a small touch screen, and resembles a portable navigation device in look and behavior.

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The navigation system incorporates real-time traffic data to plan routes around problems.

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Aha integration with the head unit gives you some connected features, including audio, social media, and limited location search.

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The Bluetooth audio-streaming source brings in meta tags, showing artist and track name.

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The Forester includes HD Radio, with easy access to multicasts.

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For sound settings, the Forester includes a seven-band graphic equalizer, allowing some fine-tuning for music playback.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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