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2014 Subaru Forester Review

The 2014 Subaru Forester has standard all-wheel drive, plenty of rear-seat cargo room, and great drivability. However, its tech features underwhelm, and a poor reliability score may cost you in the long run.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Spacious back seat
  • Large cargo area
  • Good fuel economy


  • Navigation system is hard to see
  • Substandard reliability rating


Rankings & Research

The 2014 Subaru Forester's #8 ranking is based on its score within the 2014 Affordable Compact SUVs category. Currently the Subaru Forester has a score of 8.1 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.2
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2014 Subaru Forester Overview

Is the 2014 Subaru Forester a Good Used SUV?

If you want standard all-wheel drive, a roomy interior, and excellent fuel economy, the Subaru Forester is worth a look. On the other hand, many of its rivals have higher dependability ratings.

The 2014 Forester’s standard four-cylinder engine is more powerful than many rivals’ base engines. The 2.0 XT models' turbocharged four-cylinder engine adds power. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard. Some models have a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic. Paddle shifters come with 2.0 XT models. Fuel economy is good for the class, ranging from 22-24 mpg in the city and 28-31 mpg on the highway. The Forester has a smooth ride and carlike handling, but body lean is evident around corners. All-wheel drive comes standard, and there’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Read more about Forester performance »

The Subaru Forester's cabin has high-end materials and seating for five. There is abundant passenger space in both rows, along with one of the largest cargo holds in the compact SUV class. Visibility is terrific all-around. There are two complete sets of child-seat anchors for the outboard rear seats and a tether-only connection for the middle seat.

Standard features include a four-speaker stereo, USB and auxiliary ports, and Bluetooth. Other models come with a power liftgate, push-button start, automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof, and navigation. The navigation system uses a small screen that’s hard to see under direct sunlight.

Read more about Forester interior »

Used 2014 Subaru Forester Prices

Prices for a base 2014 Forester 2.5i start at around $17,000, while a top-of-the-line 2.0XT Touring model costs about $24,000. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, location, and mileage.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2014 Subaru Forester?

The 2014 Subaru Forester earned a reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. This is a below-average score for the compact SUV class – and in general.

How Safe Is the Forester?

The 2014 Subaru Forester has better safety scores than most compact SUVs. It received the highest score of Good in all five crash test categories from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also earned five out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There are plenty of advanced safety features available for the Forester, but they don’t come standard. A rearview camera is standard in all but the base model. If you want adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning, keep your eye out for a Touring model.

See Forester safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Forester?

The Subaru Forester’s fourth generation began in 2014 and continues through the 2017 model year. The 2015 Forester includes a rearview camera as standard equipment in all models – including the base – as well as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning in the Premium trim.

Compare the 2014 and 2015 Forester »

Which Used Subaru Forester Is Right for Me?

Models with the 2.5i designation have the base four-cylinder engine, but 2.0 XT models have the more powerful turbo-four, which is the better option. The 2.5i comes as the base model, Premium, Limited, and Touring trims. For the 2.0 XT, there’s only the Premium and Touring trims.

The Limited trim delivers features like heated front seats, perforated leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and a power liftgate. However, the more expensive Touring trim's safety features make it the best choice for most. This trim also adds navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system, remote start, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

For added peace of mind, you may want to buy a certified pre-owned Forester. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Subaru extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each vehicle must pass a 152-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Subaru warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Pieces of Data Analyzed

As with all of our reviews, we did not base our Forester advice off our own opinions. Rather, we used data like fuel economy estimates, reliability ratings, ownership costs, and reviews from credible sources. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how the Subaru Forester stacks up against the competition.

Why You Can Trust Us

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, minivans, wagons, and SUVs for a decade. To remain impartial, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

2014 Subaru Forester and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2014 Subaru Forester or 2014 Subaru Outback?

The Forester's wagon stablemate, the Subaru Outback, has the same base engine. The Outback offers a V6 rather than a turbo-four as its available engine, but the horsepower is about the same in both. However, fuel economy suffers with the Outback’s V6, which makes the Forester's turbo-four a more appealing upgrade. Both models have balanced handling, a comfortable ride, standard all-wheel drive, and similar cabin dimensions and features. Unfortunately, that includes the troublesome navigation-equipped infotainment system. Because both models offer many of the same benefits, it really boils down to whether you want to drive a wagon or a compact SUV. For most people, the Outback’s better track record for reliability should tip the scales in its favor.

Which Is Better: 2014 Subaru Forester or 2014 Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V’s base engine won’t knock your socks off, but the CR-V is still a better choice than the Forester. The CR-V has a reliability score of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates, which is much better than the Forester’s subpar rating. Both models provide a smooth ride, stable handling, and good fuel economy for the class. All-wheel drive is standard in the Forester, while it’s only available in some CR-V models. On the inside, the CR-V and the Forester each have a large cargo hold and ample passenger room in both rows. Like the Forester’s navigation system, the CR-V’s is cumbersome.

Which Is Better: 2014 Subaru Forester or 2014 Ford Escape?

The Subaru Forester and the Ford Escape both have acceptable base engines, more powerful available engines, excellent fuel economy, and low reliability scores. The Escape has nimbler handling, but it lacks the Forester’s standard all-wheel drive. Both offer a spacious interior, though the Forester’s seating feels wider. Like the Subaru’s upgraded infotainment system, the Escape’s has an unwieldy interface. There’s an extra 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the Forester. Overall, you’re better off getting the Forester than the Escape.

Compare the Forester, CR-V, and Escape »

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