Ride & Handling

The original Forester was one of the first SUVs to adopt a four-wheel-independent suspension, and this year's model has a new double-wishbone rear setup. Several journalists on the media drive complained of excessive body roll Ч possibly the result of no rear stabilizer bar, which was standard on the outgoing model Ч but I think most drivers will find that the Forester's handling ranks among the sportier SUVs in its class. The chassis remains poised over curvy roads, and Subaru's all-wheel-drive system delivers unflappable grip accelerating out of a turn.

The steering system offers a quicker turning ratio this year. It delivers lively response, with reasonably crisp turn-in and more feedback about changing road conditions than you get in some sedans, let alone SUVs. Some SUVs accomplish this sporty feel by dialing back the power-steering assist so much that the steering wheel becomes too stiff at low speeds Ч the Mazda CX-7 springs to mind Ч but the Forester's steering is well below this threshold, and its 34.4-foot turning circle beats eight of its major competitors, some by more than 5 feet. Outstanding.

Subaru says it took extensive steps to address road and wind noise this time around, and indeed, highway noise now seems about average for a small SUV. It's not as quiet as a Honda CR-V, but it's a distinct improvement over the previous Forester.

    See also:

    Head restraint adjustment
    Both the rear window side seats and the rear center seat are equipped with head restraints. Х Never drive the vehicle with the head restraints removed because they are designed to reduce the risk ...

    Checking the brake pedal reserve distance
    1) More than 2.56 in (65 mm) Depress the pedal with a force of approximately 66 lbf (294 N, 30 kgf) and measure the distance between the upper surface of the pedal pad and the floor. When the me ...

    Programming the transmitters
    The remote keyless entry system is equipped with a special code learning feature that allows you to program new transmitter codes into the system or to delete old ones. The system can learn up to four ...