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:

    Audio control buttons (if equipped)
    Type A audio Type B audio These buttons are located on the spokes of the steering wheel. They allow the driver to control audio functions without taking his/her hands off the steering wheel. ...

    Vehicle Dynamics Control OFF mode
    This mode allows only the ABS control. This mode should be used in an emergency situation such as getting out of snow or mud. When the switch is pressed for more than approximately 3 seconds during ...

    Behavior with key lock-in prevention function operational
    With the driverТs door open, the doors are automatically kept unlocked even if the front side of the power door locking switch is pressed. ...