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:

    Under the rear floor
    1) Jack handle A) 4-door models B) 5-door models 1) Under-floor storage compartment (if equipped) (Refer to Under-floor storage compartment.) 2) Tool bucket 3) Spare tire A) 4-door models ...

    Safety precautions
    - For safety reasons, avoid operating the cell phone while driving. - Do not make a phone call while driving. When you have an incoming call, stop the vehicle in a safe location before ta ...

    Front passengers seat (if equipped)
    1) Seat position forward/backward control switch To adjust the seat forward or backward, move the control switch forward or backward. 2) Seatback angle (reclining) control switch To adjust the an ...