The Inside

The Forester's dash sits higher against the windshield than you'll find in many SUVs, which gives the cabin a more carlike feel and a lower perceived driving position. Thanks to the large side and rear windows, however, overall visibility remains excellent.

A height-adjustable driver's seat is standard, but the steering wheel in most models only tilts, and its adjustment range is limited. You have to upgrade to the turbocharged model to get a telescoping wheel, which allows drivers of varying sizes to position themselves a safe, comfortable distance from the steering wheel and its airbag. It's an unfortunate omission, seeing as both the CR-V and RAV4 have telescoping wheels across all trims.

Interior quality is good, if occasionally inconsistent. The materials vary: The upper dash panels have an upscale finish, but some of the plastics lining the glove compartment look grainy and cheap. If you like silver plastic, your day has come: The stuff has spread like foreclosures in Tampa. Here it adorns the center controls, dash, steering wheel, gearshift and doors. The steering wheel has a satisfying grip, but I found the blue-and-white gauges a bit tacky. Other controls, from the turn signals to the window switches, show sturdy construction, and overall fit and finish is respectable.

    See also:

    Emergency disarming
    If you cannot disarm the system using the transmitter (i.e. the transmitter is lost, broken or the transmitter battery is too weak), you can disarm the system without using the transmitter. The s ...

    AT OIL TEMP warning light (AT models)
    If this light illuminates when the engine is running, it may indicate that the automatic transmission fluid temperature is too hot. If the light illuminates while driving, immediately stop ...

    Power switch and volume control
    The dial is used for both power (ON/OFF) and volume control. The radio is turned ON and OFF by pressing the dial, and the volume is controlled by turning the dial. ...