Ended up buying a 2014 Forester XT: Part 4 (b)

Six months later—Top 5 things I like

Back on the 5th of January I posted part (a) of this series “Six months later—Top 5 things I like” about the 2014 4th generation Forester. In part (a) I covered the CVT transmission and the cabin quietness. If you want to check out part (a) you will find it here.

So here I am, one day short of a perfect month, posting part (b). In this part I am going to cover the the third of Top 5 things I like.

(3) Low centre of gravity—equals great handling

Something that has set every Forester apart from all other SUVs since Subaru brought out their first SUV in 1997 (released in Australia in 1998) is the very low centre of gravity. This low centre of gravity has provided the Forester with enviable sedan-like handling in an SUV format vehicle.

I can clearly remember back then test driving the Toyota RAV4 and then the Subaru Forester. I had basically made up my mind to buy a Rav4. I loved the look of the RAV4. I had even gone to the expense of renting one for a long weekend and driving it around. I thought it was great. I wanted one. Then I test drove the Forester. Somewhere I have pictures of a much younger SCN and her sister in the back of the hired RAV4.

It was like chalk and cheese. For an experienced driver the Forester was amazing on the road. It made the RAV4 back in 1998 feel like a tank. It has almost none of the body role the RAV4 had. It cornered so much better. It flattened out bumpy roads like a sedan. As a bonus the Forester had better ground clearance and the basic model was AWD (All Wheel Drive)! And back then the Forester was, model for model, cheaper than the RAV4.

As much as I had set my mind on a RAV4, it only took one drive of the Forester to change my mind.

With the Generation 4 CVT automatic 2014 Forester the engineers at Subaru have managed to drop the centre of gravity almost 4” lower than it is is the 2007 Gen3 model, and almost an inch lower than the 2005/Gen2 automatic Forester—which is considered by many to be the best model Forester every produced.

How can they do this?

This incredible engineering feat in a car that is some 3” taller than the Gen2 unit is almost all down to the boxer engine. The boxer engine in not called a ‘flat’ four for nothing. It is flat! Unlike the engines in all other SUVs which are are upright. The engine is by far the heaviest component of any SUV and if the engine has a high centre of gravity then that is going to raise the centre of gravity of the overall car. Has to. So the 4s and 6s and V6s in all the other SUVs are upright with a corresponding much higher centre of gravity.

Also the ‘automatic’ Forester has the CVT. The CVT is smaller and lower sitting than a normal automatic transmission. To a much lesser degree the CVT transmission assists in keeping the centre of gravity low.

No other SUV on the market in Australia under $55,000 can match the relative low centre of gravity of the Forester that makes it a superb open road sedan-like touring car as well as an amazingly capable semi-off road unit.

The downside with the Gen4 Forester is that it has kind of got a little expensive here in Australia. However, for my American readers, the Forester is about half price over there (compared to what we pay here).

In part (c) I plan to cover the last two items in my “Top 5 things I like” about the Gen4 Forester.