Editor’s note: You may also want to read Autotrader’s 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018 Subaru Forester review as well as our in-depth article Buying a Used Subaru Forester: Everything You Need to Know.
The 2014 Subaru Forester was completely remade for the 2014 model year and saw significant improvements over the 2013 Forester. Even with the overhaul, however, the Forester still isn’t as seductively styled as a Kia Sportage or Ford Escape, nor is it terribly advanced in the areas of infotainment and audio systems. But what the 2014 Forester does have going for it is the stuff used car buyers love, namely high marks for quality, reliability, fuel economy, safety and outstanding resale.
The Forester is larger than most compact SUVs, with tall side glass that permits excellent visibility and long rear doors making it easy to load in large items like a child safety seat. Base and Premium models offer a manual transmission, although most used Foresters will come equipped with Subaru’s excellent CVT automatic. The Forester also comes standard with Symmetrical All Wheel Drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance, allowing it to tackle some pretty nasty off-road situations. There’s even a turbocharged model for those who feel the need for speed. See the 2014 Subaru Forester models for sale near you
What We Like
Excellent safety ratings; good fuel economy; powerful turbocharged model; roomy interior; real off-road ability; available EyeSight collision avoidance system
What We Don’t
Base engine isn’t terribly powerful; stiff suspension sometimes make for a bumpy ride; outdated audio and navigation systems; bland styling
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The base engine in the 2014 Forester 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited and 2.5i Touring is, to no one’s surprise, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine producing 170-horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. With the 6-speed manual transmission, this engine earns an EPA estimated 22 miles per gallon city and 28 mpg highway. The CVT automatic ups those figures to 24 mpg city and 31 mpg hwy.
The XT Premium and XT Touring models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the turbo is rated at 23 mpg city and 27 mpg hwy. Premium fuel is recommended but not required.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Forester comes in two models and four trims, which include 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring.
The 2.5i includes a 6-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a rear wiper/washer and a 4.3-in color multi-information display. Options for the base include a CVT automatic transmission and an alloy-wheel package.
The 2.5i Premium adds a power moonroof (CVT only), rear backup camera, 6-speaker audio, 17-in alloy wheels, HD radio, a 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, reclining rear seats, rear privacy glass and the All-Weather Package (manual only) that adds heated side mirrors, heated front seats and windshield wiper de-icers. Optional on CVT-equipped is the AWP, navigation and satellite radio.
The 2.5i Limited adds X-Mode with hill descent control, leather seating, automatic climate control, the All-Weather Package, fog lights, auto headlights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a power rear tailgate. The navigation radio is also optional.
The 2.5i Touring adds Harmon Kardon audio with navigation, 1-touch folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, integrated side-mirror turn signals and polished 18-in wheels. Options include the EyeSight collision mitigation system with adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning, keyless access and start plus HID headlights.
The 2.0XT Premium brings a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, sport suspension, 18-in wheels, a high-torque CVT automatic with SI-DRIVE, X-Mode and dual exhaust pipes. The All-Weather Package is not available with this trim.
The 2.0XT Touring adds all the 2.5i Touring features to the 2.0XT Premium.
The 2014 Forester retains excellent resale values, with the Premium and Limited trims holding slightly higher values than the manual transmission and turbocharged XT models. Even high mileage Foresters demand a premium, especially in areas prone to snow. To get a good idea of the Forester’s price range, we suggest using the used car values at KBB.com. You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has issued the following recalls for the 2014 Subaru Forester:
A recall was issued for a curled driver’s side floor mat that may interfere with the pedals.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you. You can also check the NHTSA website; simply enter your vehicle’s identification number for a list of performed recall repairs.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
In area of safety both NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the Subaru Forester high marks. NHTSA gave the Forester a five star overall rating, with four out of five stars in front-end and vehicle rollover tests, and five stars in the side-impact test. The IIHS calls the 2014 Forester a Top Safety Pick +, earning Good ratings in every crash test category except side impact, which earned a Marginal score. The Forester also earned a Superior rating in the crash avoidance and mitigation test when equipped with the optional EyeSight system.
All Subaru Foresters for 2014 left the factory with a fully transferable 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. If you purchase your Forester through Subaru’s certified pre-owned vehicle program, the car undergoes a 152-point inspection, offers 24/7 roadside assistance plus a three month free trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio (on model so equipped). The CPO powertrain warranty period is extended to seven years and 100,000 miles, and owners have the option to buy plans that will cover electrical, steering, suspension, brakes, air-conditioning and fuel-system parts.
Other Cars to Consider
2014 Honda CR-V — Because it offers the option of front-wheel drive, a comparably equipped Honda CR-V can cost significantly less than the Forester. The Forester does have more interior room and better fuel economy, plus the option of a turbocharged engine. Both SUVs have excellent reliability and resale ratings.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe — Hyundai’s SUV is more stylish than the Forester and offers more features and much better audio and infotainment options. The Santa Fe’s base engine isn’t very powerful and its fuel economy isn’t as good as the Forester’s. Rear visibility is also somewhat hindered by the wide D-pillars. However, buying a CPO Santa Fe sees the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty reinstated.
2014 Ford Escape — The Escape will cost much less and offers three engine options as well as a number of trims and upgrades. The Escape drives better than the Forester and its audio and infotainment option are superior. Regrettably, the Escape’s repair and recall history is somewhat dubious and its interior seems almost diminutive when compared with the Subaru.
We think you’ll find the Premium trim is the best bargain. It offers a lengthy standard equipment list, the option of a manual or automatic transmission and really good fuel economy. If you’re looking for more power, the XT Touring would be our pick, as the XT Premium doesn’t offer many features including heated seats, mirrors or wipers.