Equipment & Pricing

Given that all-wheel drive is standard, the Forester packs impressive value. Subaru shaved some $1,200 off the sticker price for 2009, so the 2.5X now starts at $19,995 without the destination charge, including a temperature/gas mileage display, A/C, cruise control, a CD player with an MP3 auxiliary jack, power accessories and remote keyless entry Ч albeit with Subaru's dated, flimsy keyfob.

An automatic transmission costs $1,200 Ч a bit much, considering the Escape's automatic costs $1,000 and the last Forester's automatic was $800. The Premium Package adds alloy wheels, a panoramic moonroof and more for $2,500. An automatic comes standard on the 2.5X L.L.Bean ($25,995), which includes heated leather seats, automatic climate control and a power driver's seat. Turbo models start at $26,195 and top out close to $30,000. A navigation system is optional with either drivetrain.

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