2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium – Click above for high-res image gallery Adequate dynamics, very capable, super handy. That about sums up the last ten years of the Subaru Forester. And yet – once the sportier turbocharged version put rally-bred heat under the skinny pedal, the Forester was no longer just the squishy, squeezy Official Car of Vermont. It was suddenly possible to haul the family Newfoundland to the groomer and scorch the doors off more prestigious iron by flattening that Birkenstock. Eat our dust, punctuated by a "Be Green" sticker. More luxurious appointments were also put on offer, there was once even a Nardi edition. For all that, the Foresters were still little funk machines. For 2009, Subaru's Forester retains and expands what has historically been great about this Fuji Heavy crossover, but the rough edges have been hammered flat. Click past the jump to see if that's impacted the Subie's appeal. %Gallery-64803% Photos Copyright ©2009 Dan Roth / Weblogs, Inc. A crossover before the term existed, the Forester began life as Subaru's stab at the still-burgeoning SUV market of the late 1990s. Grabbing the handiest platform, the little truck wound up riding on Impreza hardware. Basing its compact SUV on a car continues to be one of the Forester's biggest assets. The personality stays driver-friendly, and the lower center of gravity and modest weight make the Forester responsive instead of lumbering. Now noticeably larger, the Forester will still please Goldilocks with its just-right dimensions. A giant moonroof on our tester acted like a skylight, making the Forester's cabin feel airy and open, and light colors inside enhanced the cheerful feel at the helm. One common complaint about the Forester has been interior cheapness, and for 2009 materials are improved. Better, but still not Lexus grade, those that molest the dashboard's contours with finger prods and knuckle rapping may be disappointed. The Tribeca's silvery swoop motif is echoed handsomely by the Forester, bringing a welcome dash of style to a cockpit that previously lacked design whimsy. Seat fabrics no longer look like leftover stock from the 1970s. Squishy padded and devoid of much bolstering, the seats will not be mistaken for anything sporty. Long trips might make some drivers fidgety, too, necessitating stops to walk around and uncramp lumbar regions. The ergonomics inside are faultless. Rather than go silly with jog dials and digital control schemes, simplicity wins the day. Subaru's done such a good job inside that the Forester just works. No need to crack open the manual, nothing to gripe about, just easy, logical functionality. Temperature controls are a knob each for temperature, fan, and airflow – does it get more intuitive? At the top of the clean center stack is an eyebrow that houses an inconspicuous LCD showing time, trip computer data, and outside temperature. Directly below that little telltale, which manages to hide in plain sight, is the radio. Packing a lot of functionality into a clean interface, the audio system follows the same …
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|MPG||19 City / 24 Hwy|
|Transmission||4-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||224 @ 5200 rpm|
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