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2011 Subaru Forester: Introduction
The last few years have been difficult ones for nearly everyone in the car business. We say nearly everyone, because while other manufacturers watched sales dissolve, Subaru saw sales improve. To find out why, one needs only to take a look inside its current crop of cars.
Case in point, the 2011 Subaru Forester.
Good looking, in a quirky way, the Forester offers a comfortable cabin, suitable cargo carrying ability and a strong selection of available equipment. All of this in combination with its well-earned reputation for reliability and safety makes the Forester an enticing proposition for a number of duly suited drivers.
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2011 Subaru Forester: Exterior
Forester’s tall wagon styling nicely splits the difference between station wagon, crossover and SUV. In fact, the Forester truly falls into the unclassifiable category in this regard. Because of the tall greenhouse, outward visibility is excellent, as is headroom for even the tallest passengers.
The short front and rear overhangs give the Subaru easy soft road and mild trail ability without worrying about dragging its face or butt on obstacles. Another factor enabling this is the Forester’s 8.7-inch ground clearance. In other words, while the more extreme environments like Moab and the Rubicon Trail are best left off the table, the Forester will go pretty much anywhere else a reasonable individual would like it to.
Buyers of the turbocharged models might be put off a bit by the tacked-on look of the hood scoop. However in typical Subaru fashion, it has a purpose, as the scoop feeds the intercooler for the exhaust gasses coming out of the turbocharger.
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2011 Subaru Forester: Interior
While the exterior is ruggedly civilized, the interior is all sophistication with its pleasant mix of shapes, textures and colors. Additionally, all the latest techno features you’ll ever need are included among the Forester’s offerings.
However, by dividing Forester into two basic models with different trim levels within each model, Subaru manages to deliver the basic package’s all-wheel drive and torquey engines to a broader variety of consumers.
If you’re an urban driver in love with your Bluetooth, navigation, and satellite radio, there’s a Forester for that. On the other hand, if you just want to be able to deal with snow, muddy roads, high altitude, trails, and/or the occasional paved road as you head into to town to pick up supplies—and don’t care about electronic gee-jaws, there’s a Forester for that too.
It’s not a new strategy, but it’s one Subaru embraces better than most others these days.
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2011 Subaru Forester: Performance
Two engines are available to power the 2011 Subaru Forester. Both are horizontally- opposed four cylinder units displacing 2.5-liters. The normally aspirated version is all-new for 2011 and delivers 170 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 174-ft-lbs of torque.
While it makes the same power as before, since it is slightly larger and uses a double overhead cam system for intake/exhaust, it doesn’t have to work as hard—thus improving fuel economy. Mileage is estimated at 21-city and 27-highway, whether you team it with the four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. The turbocharged engine goes into 2011 unchanged, producing 224 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 226 ft-lbs of torque at 2800 rpm. Available only with the automatic transmission, the turbo returns 19-city and 24 on the highway.
Forester won’t be classified as fast with either engine, though there is a discernable difference with the turbo. Still though, if you live at sea level and/or rarely go into the mountains, save some money, opt for the standard engine. You’ll pay less to get the car and you’ll get better fuel economy too.
However, if you live in a mountainous region, deal with a lot of hills, and/or haul a lot of gear around (which the Forester will readily let you do) best get the turbo. Unless you’ve been paying absolutely no attention at all, you know by now every Subaru vehicle is all-wheel drive, however you might not know its all-wheel drive system is capable of transferring all engine output to a single wheel if said wheel is the only one of the four with traction.
Going down the road, the Forester serves up a pleasantly comfortable ride, while exhibiting adequate body control. Though it sits relatively high with nine inches of ground clearance, it doesn’t go all tipsy on you when asked for a brisk change of direction. Taller drivers might wish for a bit more thigh support from the seats, but headroom isn’t going to be a problem for anyone. Getting in and out of the Forester is so easy you don’t even notice how easy it is. You just take it for granted that’s the way a car is supposed to be. (We’re here to tell you folks, that ain’t always the case.) With all those tall windows, outward visibility is a strong point for the Forester as well.
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2011 Subaru Forester: Safety Features
Antilock brakes, brake assist, traction and stability control, along with side airbags for front seat occupants and curtain airbags for the folks in the back seat endow Forester with a pretty solid safety plan. That wagon body is also good in a crash, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. They gave the Forester “good’ ratings based on its crash tests of the crossover utility vehicle.
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2011 Subaru Forester: Summary
Bottom line, as family transpo, the Subaru Forester excels. If you’re an active individual who likes to get out and do things but doesn’t want to be saddled with a full-size SUV, the 2011 Forester should also be added to your shopping list. However, if your thing is image and appearance above everything else, you might consider the Subaru to be kind of gawky with its tall ride height, odd little hood scoop and (let’s face it—boxy shape).
But, if you’re about substance over style — which based on the Forester’s sales figures it seems many people are — the 2011 Subaru Forester has a lot to offer.
Pricing starts at $21,220 with destination charges.
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