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Click above to view high-res gallery of the 2009 Subaru Forester

Motor Trend has gone back to the basics by picking the newly redesigned Subaru Forester as its 2008 SUV of the Year. Right off the bat, editor Arthur St. Antoine claims that the choice wasn't a reaction to high fuel prices, with the Forester posting the highest fuel efficiency in a group of contenders that includes the BMW X6, Ford Flex, Kia Borrego, Infiniti EX and FX, Nissan Murano, Toyota Sequoia, Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse, Dodge Journey and Lexus LX570. In fact, their choice may seem somewhat surprising considering that the Forester's 2.5L flat-four engine (turbocharged in the Forester 2.5XT and naturally aspirated in the 2.5X) is borrowed straight from the Impreza and makes do with only a 5-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. There's surely lots more innovation in this field of SUV contenders, but MT gave the Forester credit for being a Swiss Army Knife in a drawer of specialized cutlery. The rest of the field each does its own particular thing well, but according to MT, the Forester often equals or betters the field in some surprising areas like space efficiency and ground clearance. It lacks a lot of whiz-bang gadgets, but was appreciated by MT editors for keeping it simple and doing many things well. By virtue of this last quality the most, they deemed it the winner seemingly because it stretches the family dollar in more ways than just good-for-an-SUV fuel economy. Click the source to read MT's reasons in their own words, and let us know in the comments if you think it was a good choice.


[Source: Motor Trend]


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  • 47 Comments
      Janis
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have owned a new subaru every 3 or 4 years since 1982 including several foresters, I have never had to repair anything other than brakes and tires and one or two timing chains on the ones I drove the most (over 120k) I have one of the longest steepest driveways in central ny area where I live and this gets me to my door in most bad weather, carries a lot of stuff including my large dog crate for 80lb dog etc. handles well and corners well, has good pickup on steep hills. I highly recommend Subaru vehicles--they are very popular here in Ithaca NY
      • 6 Years Ago
      Right.... all those other SUVs are much more desirable than that turd of a Subaru. Since when are these awards given for "stretching the family dollar", did these magazines get soft or something? Make the fastest, coolest looking thing on that list the winner, the pointless BMW X6 if you dont know...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, sounds like a turd. That's why it got first place...
        • 6 Years Ago
        MT isn't getting soft, they are just responding to the current times. The one where manufacturers are seeing same period sales down 30%...
      • 6 Years Ago

      I thought the Dodge Journey was a crossover not a SUV.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How horrible!!! Motor trend has gone soft!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would rank the Forester 3rd, RAV4 2nd, and CR-V 1st in overall value.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well-deserved. Capable, spacious, powerful, reliable. And great Sumo wrestling commercials.
      (http://goodcarbadcar.blogspot.com/2008/06/subarus-advertising.html)
        • 6 Years Ago
        good choice yes. this is ugly as tehy get, but does what it asked to do.

        Now reliable, I don't know last I looked Subaru was at hte end of the least for being reliable.

        This is kept very simple by Subaru, so maybe it's their other offering that push their reliability down

        as much as I want to like this little SUV, it's just way too UGLY
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Now reliable, I don't know last I looked Subaru was at hte end of the least for being reliable."

        What crackhead list have you been reading? JD Power?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ligor, I don't know what sources you read from, but from the sources I've read from they've always been near the top with Toyota/Honda.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So if the question is why do the domestics get so much hate spit at them, the answer (according to at least one commenter) is that they use dated technology such as 4 speed transmissions (though there are very few domestic vehicles with 4 speeds any more). Meanwhile, the Forester gets a pass and wins SUV of the Year with a 4 speed auto and a "back to simplicity" lack of any technology at all.

      It doesn't do anything really that well, it can't tow, it can't haul, more than 4 people inside is uncomfortable, it has no style, no technology. Yet somehow it's better than the rest. Not real sure I get this one. Oh wait, it's Japanese, now I get it, it wins by origin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't hate Suburu, I certainly think that the little bit of style that some of the STIs and the like once had is a history lesson now and I would never buy one but that doesn't mean I hate them.

        I'm simply calling out all of the hypocrytical commenters that ream on domestic products for one reason or another and then fail to call out foreign ones (or even applaud them) for the same things.

        Also, the Forester isn't exactly a lightweight (more like average) in it's class, the Escape, for example weighs 3461 lbs and gets better fuel economy- probably because it does have a 6 speed auto.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think someone needs to calm down and read the MT article.

        "It's not enough to simply credit its feathery 3447-pound curb weight (lowest of all contenders) or new control-arm rear suspension. We must mention the engine again and highlight its compact, horizontal cylinder arrangement, which allows it to sit low in this high-riding chassis, reducing the center of gravity. Plus that new rear suspension not only smooths out the ride, but its layout also means less cabin intrusion and all that extra room in the cargo area."

        Talk about having hate spit at them. Everyone keeps complaining about cars, trucks and SUVs being too heavy. The Forester weighs less and drives and handles like it weighs less than its competitors. A company does weight right in an SUV and they get trashed for being too simple and Japanese or whatever.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sorry but this thing is sorely lacking gears, styling(which looks like the Outlander..) and the interior is cheap, I don't understand why this thing won, they're other much better and more meaningful vehicles worthy of that title. There is nothing special about it, same AWD, same boxer, same gear lacking automatic, and bland interior found in the Impreza.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Its a great choice. Subaru puts utility first and wiz bang second in all of its products. (Even the STI has four doors, and it sure as hell does its job well)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nice! Real Nice! But NOT as nice as my Subaru Brat. It's redeeming feature is that it is paid for.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well... the EVO does it better. I personally would buy a base manual 335i sedan... not that much more money, but you get RWD and a better car IMHO.
        • 6 Years Ago
        RWD is for drawing on pavement.

        AWD is for driving. Enjoy your 335i in the winter.

        And personally the Evo STI comparison is a wash. The STI does stuff better than the Evo, while the Evo does other things better. I would rather 6 speed and be able to tolerate highway speeds, not to mention trunk space and actual utility on a car that can go like crazy.

        BTW: 08 Sti Owner and Evo Test Driver here.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A base 335i...

        Not for me, when Legacy GT Spec B or 3.0R Limited comes LOADED for less money than 335i's base price before any options.

        And Legacy has real AWD, and a 5-speed automatic in the 3.0R models, and the Spec B has a 6MT, and GT limited has a choice of manual or auto at or below $30k, and the turbocharged cars are a computer tune and exhaust pipe change away from >300hp, and a lighter car than the BMW.

        Not to mention Subaru's reliability, and maintenance cost differences from a BMW, especially out of warranty.

        Subaru has it's downsides, and I am usually the first to call them on them, like Impreza's styling, and Legacy's lack of advertizing and available accessory options, and some other issues...

        But, regardless of the state of the economy, SUBARU's fundamentals are VERY strong, and the cars they do sell work very well.

        Since I have no need for NAV, and can live without some of the other toys, but really like the way my Legacy puts the rubber to the road, and the fact that it is affordable (affordable enough for it to be paid in full, in my case) it makes a lot more sense than some other AWD and RWD, and pretty much all FWD sedans.

        If the Forester does it's SUV thing as well as my Legacy does it's sport sedan duty, then it is no wonder it was chosen as SUV of the year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good choice.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm trading in my Mazda3 Hatchback for this one probably will go for the Turbo version but what bothers me is that it's still 4 speed auto and I can't drive manual.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, this is a good pick. Not only is it a solid performer in everything it does, but it is a car a normal person can afford. Congrats Subaru
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well deserved.
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