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:

    High beam light bulbs
    Right-hand side 1. Use a screwdriver to undo the clips on the air intake duct, then remove the air intake duct (right-hand side). 2. Disconnect the electrical connector from the bulb. 3 ...

    Engine overheating
    WARNING Never attempt to remove the radiator cap until the engine has been shut off and has fully cooled down. When the engine is hot, the coolant is under pressure. Removing the cap while the en ...

    All-Wheel Drive warning light (AT and CVT models)
    WARNING Continued driving with the AWD warning light flashing can lead to powertrain damage. If the AWD warning light flashes, promptly park in a safe place then check whether all four tires ar ...