2002 Forester New Car Test Drive
Subaru's Forester is not a sport-utility vehicle in the traditional sense, though it provides cargo utility and off-highway capability. It drives more like a car than a truck. That means it offers superior handling to trucks in all but the roughest terrain. There's nothing to fear from snow, mud, dirt, gravel or wet pavement with Subaru's well-designed suspension and excellent all-wheel-drive system. Yet crisp throttle response and competent handling make the Forester fun to drive on dry pavement.
There are two all-wheel-drive models, the Forester L and sporty Forester S. Both use the efficient 2.5-liter sohc 4-cylinder boxer engine producing a healthy 165 horsepower, and come with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
Forester L ($20,295) comes with a high level of standard equipment, including ABS, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, digital temp gauge, multi-reflector halogen headlights, fog lights, roof rack, rear window defogger, trailer harness connector, reclining front bucket seats with adjustable lumbar support, tilt steering, tinted glass, AM/FM/cassette stereo with its antenna laminated in the left-rear quarter window, and last but not least, 24-hour roadside assistance. Three-point seatbelts are provided for all five seating positions, including force limiters in front and height-adjustable shoulder belt anchors for front and rear outboard positions, plus rear seat headrests for all three seating positions.
Forester S ($22,895) adds a viscous limited-slip differential, rear disc brakes, 16x6.5-inch alloy wheels with 215/60R16 tires (the L uses 15 x 6-inch steel wheels), upgraded moquette upholstery, heated front seats with net storage pockets in back, dual vanity mirrors, heated sideview mirrors and keyless entry. New equipment for 2001 includes Titanium pearl paint for the bumpers and cladding; 6-disc in-dash CD sound system; leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and handbrake handle; variable intermittent wipers with de-icers and driver's side fin; and the five-spoke alloy wheels. Our test model was equipped with the optional Premium Package on the Forester S, including monotone paint (Sedona Red Pearl), power moonroof, front side-impact airbags, and gold accent wheels. Other options were the automatic transmission, $42 chrome tailpipe cover and $183 auto dimming rearview mirror with compass, bringing the sticker price to $25,412 including $525 delivery.