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:

    Tilt/telescopic steering wheel
    • Do not adjust the steering wheel tilt/telescopic position while driving. This may cause loss of vehicle control and result in personal injury. • If the lever cannot be raised to the fixed posi ...

    Indicator lights
    Indicator lights When you select the manual mode of the driver’s control center differential, the initial limited slip differential (LSD) torque that is currently selected for the center differential ...

    Seat fabric
    Remove loose dirt, dust or debris with a vacuum cleaner. If the dirt is caked on the fabric or hard to remove with a vacuum cleaner, use a soft brush then vacuum it. Wipe the fabric surface with a ...