Pros Better all around visibility than ANY of the competitors which I have driven firsthand back to back from each other at a training event...The Honda CRV the Toyota RAV4 the Escape The Saturn Vue The Nissan Rogue, even the Tiguan can't compare...
Cons does need a power drivers seat in the Premium Package, a 5 or 6 speed transmission would be nice but the 4-speed does it's job adequately and has done so without problems for YEARS...little things but hey no car is ever THE PERFECT CAR!
Summary for the price, ease of use, reliability, resale value, build quality, styling, versatility, tow capacity and size it is absolutely the perfect car for anyone looking for ANY of the competitors...i challenge you to test drive one and say you don't like it, and hey even take it on a back gravel or dirt road, you'll fall in love even more!!!
Pros Very quiet, Roomy, Great Suspension, Best AWD system, SUV of the Year by MotorTrend and ConsumerReports
Cons Notchy Manual Transmission, Weak 4-speaker system in the Premium Trim which is easily solved by a simple after-market speaker upgrade. I spent $150 for high quality speakers. Everything else in the car is way above par compared to competition's SUVs.
Summary I was deciding between a CR-V, RAV-4, and then unexpectedly test drove the Subaru. As soon as my wife and I drove the car we knew we had a winner. The comfort and room in the car was the major selling point. Even tough CNET may like the CR-V's techy interior, it's engine loudness and performance is way below the Forester's. Toyota RAV-4 in V6 is a good alternative. However overall the Forester is the better car in terms of safety, features, room, MPGs, and driver satisfaction. CNET's review confirms that they should focus on reviewing technology and not cars.
Pros 1) Excellent MPG with adequate power 2) excellent visibility (large rear windows) 3) pleasing interior design 4) ample headroom and rear seating space 5) tight turning radius and fun to drive
Cons 1) Center console has somewhat cheap plastic knobs 2) Radio and heater illuminates with red lights that should be reserved for alarms 3) Rear cloth bench seats are uncomfortable during long trips (needs more cushioning).
Summary I chose the 2009 Subaru Forester over the 2008 Honda CRV in that I like the exterior design better, especially enjoying the large rear windows. During test drives, the Forester has good acceleration, whereas the Honda CRV struggled to get up to speed. The CRV has a slightly better interior with upgraded cloth seats in the EX model. I don't like the fact that you need to buy useful accessories separately after purchasing the vehicle. But, overall, the Subaru won me over. If these comments do not convince you also check out articles at Consumer Reports, Car and Driver, and Motor Trend.
Pros Amazing qualtiy- Subaru finally gets it
Cons 4-Speed automatic dated- needs 5 or 6 speed
Summary In my opinion CNET has missed the point for the 2009 Forester. This is a car designed for a segment of the populace who desire functionality, quality, and driving flexibility. The Forester easily meets the driving needs of this group of consumers. This is a vehicle that can go off road and not only serve as a soccer mom's Mini-Van replacement. I would not be surprised to see owners reviews to rate the 2009 Forester in the 8.5-9.0 point range, thus greatly exceeding the CNET review rating.
Pros Does everything well...adequate power, excellent brakes and steering, goes anywhere a sane person would want to go.
Cons Very few cons...could be a little quieter, but still not noisy as is.
Summary I own a five year old Forester and it is a great can. No problems at 59,000 miles. The only thing that I would like to have is a more room in the rear seat and the new model has that room. I think that it is the best value on the market.