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:

    Operation
    If the driver and/or front passenger have/ has not yet fastened the seatbelt(s) when the ignition switch is turned to the “ON” position, the seatbelt warning light(s) will flash for 6 seconds, ...

    Tire labeling
    Many markings (e.g. Tire size, Tire Identification Number or TIN) are placed on the sidewall of a tire by tire manufacturers. These markings can provide you with useful information on the ti ...

    Climate control panel, audio panel, instrument panel, console panel, switches, combination meter, and other plastic surface
    Use a soft, damp cloth to clean the climate control panel, audio equipment, instrument panel, center console, combination meter panel, and switches. NOTE Do not use organic solvents such as paint ...