Out of the 13 new or updated crossovers and SUVs in contention for the award, the 2014 Forester came out on top thanks its value, fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive attitude. Rather than a head-to-head battle, the utility vehicles are all judged on six criteria (design, engineering, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function). Other vehicles on the consideration list included the Acura MDX, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Toyota RAV4.
Scroll down for a video report from Motor Trend as well as a press release from Subaru.
-Subaru is first (and only) manufacturer to win SUOTY three times
-Most wins in Sport/Utility category
-Only automaker with back-to-back wins in category
Cherry Hill, N.J. - Motor Trend announced today that the Subaru Forester won Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year for 2014.
Subaru is the only manufacturer to win this title three times, the most wins in the Sport/Utility category. In the past six years of competition, Subaru has had three winners – the 2014 Forester, 2010 Outback, and the 2009 Forester. The 2013 XV Crosstrek also ranked as a finalist in 2012.
MOTOR TREND editor-in-chief Ed Loh, said, "The 2014 Subaru Forester beat a highly competitive field of SUVs because it best met our award's six key criteria. Smart design, thoughtful engineering, and a compelling performance on road and off were the keys to the Forester's win. Our editors were particularly impressed by the powerful yet efficient turbocharged engines, the intelligent and sporty CVT transmission, and the excellent visibility and interior package found within the Forester. Practical, affordable, efficient and fun-to-drive - Forester truly ticked every box".
In addition to the Subaru Forester, the 2014 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year competition included twelve other all-new or significantly updated SUVs:
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Mini Paceman S ALL4
"We are honored to receive the MOTOR TREND Sport/Utility of the Year award for the third time," said Thomas J. Doll, president, and chief operating officer, Subaru of America, Inc. "Our product, engineering, sales and marketing teams all work hard to provide the best products and experiences we can for our owners. Receiving this distinction from MOTOR TREND truly adds credence to our mission."
MOTOR TREND's Sport/Utility of the Year is not a comparison test, and is only open to all-new or substantially upgraded vehicles that have gone on sale in the 12 months from November 1 of the previous year.
To judge contenders for the award, MOTOR TREND's editorial staff conducted an exhaustive three-phase testing process. Phase one includes a full tech check and weigh-in, then full track testing to establish baseline data for acceleration, braking, and handling. Phase two involves three days of road loops offering a range of road surfaces and traffic conditions to evaluate ride and handling, engine and transmission smoothness and responsiveness, wind and road noise, and ergonomics. A dirt-track section tests traction, stability, and braking control systems. In the third phase the judges debate and deliberate. The judging criteria include the following categories:
Design Advancement - well-executed exterior and interior styling; innovative vehicle packaging; good selection and use of materials.
Engineering Excellence - total vehicle concept and execution; clever solutions to packaging, manufacturing and dynamics issues; cost-effective tech that benefits the consumer.
Performance of Intended Function - how well the vehicle does the job its planners, designers, and engineers intended it to do.
Efficiency - low fuel consumption and carbon footprint, relative to the vehicle's competitive set.
Safety - a vehicle's ability to help the driver avoid a crash, as well as the secondary safety measures that protect its occupants from harm during a crash.
Value - competitive price and equipment levels, measured against those of vehicles in the same market segment.
Priced from $21,995, the Forester is offered with a new 250-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection turbocharged BOXER engine or a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder BOXER engine. A Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) is standard in the 2.0XT models and available for the 2.5-liter models, which features a standard 6-speed manual transmission. The Forester jumps to the head of its segment in all-wheel drive fuel economy, with the 2.5i model achieving EPA estimates of 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway/ 27 mpg combined (with CVT).
The 2014 Forester has received a Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Forester is the first vehicle to ace every aspect of the challenging small overlap front crash test conducted by the IIHS. The Forester is the only one of 13 small SUVs to earn an overall rating of good in the test.
The recognition from MOTOR TREND validates the sales success of the 2014 Forester, which is up 46% year-to-date over 2012. Forester's strong sales performance mirrors the growth of the Subaru brand overall, which is on track to achieve its fifth-consecutive year of sales increases and top 400,000 vehicle sales in the US market in 2013.
For more information about the award, judging process, and the contenders check out the December issue of Motor Trend or visit www.motortrend.com.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit www.subaru.com. Media can visit www.media.subaru.com.