2014 Subaru Forester Bows at LA

The latest generation of Subaru's popular Forester crossover will face even stiffer competition, so the Japanese automaker is upping its game with an all-new model.

It was important not to mess too much with a good thing when it came time for Subaru to redesign its all-new Forester, which is now having its North American debut at the LA Auto Show. The previous generation was a big leap forward from its predecessor and was the recipient of many awards, among them Motor Trend's coveted SUV of the Year back in 2009. Fortunately, it seems that Subaru knew exactly what to improve, what to eliminate and what to add for the new 2014 Forester.

Base power comes from a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated boxer four with 170 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, but the better engine is the optional new 2.0-liter turbocharged four with direct injection, making 250 hp and 258 lb-ft. Both engines are mated to either a CVT with either six or eight-speed manual modes or a new six-speed manual. In an effort to deviate somewhat from its suburban appeal and to please a growing customer base of outdoor enthusiasts, Subaru has given the Forester a new suspension and 8.7-inches of ground clearance to make it better equipped for off-roading duties.

Interior space, specifically rear seat legroom, has been increased along with cargo capacity. Drivers will be treated to an available infotainment system featuring smartphone integration, navigation, a rearview camera and Harman/Kardon premium audio system. Exterior styling is noticeably improved with its edgier angles and a more chiseled front end for the turbo model. Notice that the cheesy and unnecessary hood scoop, previously seen on the turbo, is now gone. Sales are expected to begin early next year.

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