2004 Forester New Car Test Drive
There used to be a poster of Ted Turner wearing cowboy boots and a charming cocky grin, saying, 'I was country before country was cool.' The Subaru Forester could borrow that expression and say, 'I was crossover before crossover was cool.'
The Forester may have invented that style of semi-SUV in 1998, before the word came along. Now the new crossover vehicles are finding their own identities, including higher performance, but the Forester isn't letting them get away.
The new 2004 Subaru Forester 2.5 XT (T for turbo) brings 210 horsepower to the table and a dazzling 235 pounds-feet of torque for exhilarating acceleration performance.
The rest of the Forester line continues to offer reliability, fuel efficiency, cargo room, safety, and its time-tested all-wheel-drive system. Extensively revised for 2003, the second-generation Forester is roomier and more upscale than before. It has comfortable, highly supportive seats. On the road, the Forester offers excellent handling and brakes. It's a better vehicle on treacherous roads than an SUV.
The 2004 Subaru Forester comes in three versions: the basic 2.5 X ($20,895), the well-equipped 2.5 XS ($23,145), and the new high-performance 2.5 XT ($24,970). The X and the XS produce 165 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque, while the turbocharged XT raises the level to 210 and 235.
Standard features include a 80-watt stereo with CD player, remote keyless entry system, 16-inch sport wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers and a trailer harness connector.
The 2.5 XS adds automatic climate control, Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), lower body cladding, leather accents and a six-disc CD changer. Forester XS with the Premium Package & Leather ($25,695) comes with an automatic transmission, monotone exterior cladding and a large power moonroof.
The 2.5 XT adds the turbocharged engine, upgraded brakes (four-piston front calipers), a hood scoop, and 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/60 R16 all-season tires. Forester XT with the Premium Package & Leather ($27,520) includes the automatic transmission, leather upholstery, sunroof, and monotone exterior cladding.
The Forester is available with a choice of five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic ($800). All Subarus come with all-wheel drive. A limited-slip rear differential is optional. Also available are heated front seats and exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
Safety features include ABS and pedals that give way in a crash, reducing leg and foot injuries. The airbag system is extensive, including front airbags with dual stages for the passenger, and side-impact airbags in the front. Other safety equipment includes a child restraint system called LATCH and front seat active head restraints.
Subaru offers a bevy of factory-installed accessories that add to the Forester's versatility. A supporter of Tread Lightly! and the official vehicle of groups like the American Canoe Association, Gary Fisher Bicycle Components, and the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Subaru offers components for carrying bikes, skis, kayaks and canoes on top of standard roof rails.