2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site

Subaru Canada

Review and photos by Michael Clark

Photo Gallery:
2009 Subaru Forester

The quirk is dead. You know the one; that general weirdness that has plagued the flanks of Subaru products since Malcolm Bricklin brought the first ones to these shores. (Yes, THAT Malcolm Bricklin.) The Forester, with a previous-gen face that only a Fuji Heavy Industries engineer could love, has given way to conventional curves and angles, best known for their ability to attract customers. While you still may be experiencing bouts of “Crying Game” showers from their Sumo wrestler/manatee car wash campaign, the burning question at the Inside Story desk is whether or not the new skin chimes with the within.

2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Click image to enlarge

This week’s lucky contestant is the Forester 2.5X Limited package, with an MSRP of $32,395. (Pricing shown does not include freight or regional incentives.)

The Cockpit

The familiar Subie three-spoke wheel presents itself, with one of the best industry examples for cruise and audio control tab integration. The column provides both tilt and telescoping travel. While the headlamp switch on the turn signal lever offers no indication of an Auto setting, the lamps work as such, with no annoying chimes, bells, or dead battery. Instrumentation is spartan, with no engine coolant temperature sweep,

2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Click image to enlarge

unless you include the ‘Cold’ idiot lamp that was de rigueur on my ’66 Biscayne. The driver’s door pod includes an Auto-descent for the driver’s window only. Both front and rear wipers receive intermittent sweep, with the front units nestled in a heated grid for frosty mornings. The exterior mirrors also benefit from electrical toasting, as well as power positioning.

The Centre Stack

Ambient blue LED light cascades from above, and within the centre stack for high-end night-find of various features, including a six-CD stacker audio head unit, and automatic climate control dials. The first of three 12-volt DC powerpoints is found below the fan speed control. Directly above the audio head unit is the clock display, which also includes a fuel consumption meter, as well as exterior temperature. The Limited package is strictly an automatic shift, with a manu-gate for spirited inputs.

Cubbies!

2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Click image to enlarge

The locking glovebox seems overwhelmed with its task of literature storage. Both front and rear doors include side pockets with bottle holders. Rear seatbacks incorporate storage sleeves, while the rear cupholder is revealed by the flip of a seat cushion, with a resulting snack/stuff gully. The centre console lid reveals two removable compartments, as well as a 12-volt DC powerpoint and auxiliary audio input. The front cupholder is an embarrassment, with no cinching system.

The overhead

The upper sunglasses holder is ample, with flock lining. Visors sport dual vanity mirrors, with no backlights. The oversized moonroof incorporates a robust wind deflector. Roof rails are standard fare, requiring dealer-added attachments for your stuff.

Seat treat

The driver’s seat swings 10 ways in the power positioning department, including a power lumbar bolster. Front seat passengers benefit from four-step dial control heat, while the rear passenger seatbacks can recline for added comfort, with a centre fold-down armrest.

Cargo embargo

The first thing you’re going to do with any rear cargo area is muck it up. Subaru includes an extra measure of protection; a removable cargo area tray. The retractable cargo cover includes a spring-loaded screen at the front, which can be fine-tuned for Prying Eye protection, regardless of which recline angle is chosen for the rear seatbacks. You’ll flip out over the abundance of bag hooks throughout the cargo cavern. A 12-volt powerpoint is at the ready for accessories in need of DC. Beneath the sturdy cargo floor plank is a Styro-Biscuit, with additional gullies of good depth. The rear bumper gets a rub strip for rooftop access. Most importantly, the rear seatbacks fold completely flat for your cargo conundrums.

Spare care

The space saver spare uses an anti-rattle biscuit to contain the jacking tools. Subaru will change it for you, during the first three years of ownership, with no mileage restrictions.

The mill

The hood is held aloft with two beefy gas struts, revealing the 2.5-litre 170 horsepower boxer four.

2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Click image to enlarge

The horizontally-opposed design allows good access for major components, with no concerns for fluid fill points.

The Verdict

For a guy who still misses the Baja, one would expect a slo-mo Hollywood-style “NOOOOOOOOOO!!” for the Forester’s new-found conformity. While it may blend more into the background amongst the cute-ute’s at the local soccer pitch, the Forester retains the practicality that made it so endearing to those who appreciated its personality, before the extreme makeover. I’m willing to go five stars, providing that Subie adds a proper front cupholder in short order.

Next week: Acura TL

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