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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