Subaru Forester 2.5XS LL Bean Edition AWD
Comfortable seat position. Large windows for great views. Firm and stable
ride. Large trunk space. Practical and easy to use.
Box like looks. Low level of driving excitement.
conditions lend themselves well to Subaru vehicles. Offering symmetrical
all wheel drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line,
Subaru's are ready for most anything. You can also feel confident driving
on slippery surfaces by knowing that Subaru's have won many off road
rallies, making them one of the stickiest cars around. The Subaru Forester
is available in five trim levels priced from $21,000 to about $27,000. The
L.L. Bean edition is priced at $26,395 making it one of the best trimmed
relationship between L.L. Bean and Subaru is set up as follows: Subaru is
the official car of L.L. Bean and L.L. Bean is the official outfitter to
Subaru. "The partnership between Subaru and L.L.
Bean has been a great success for Subaru, because it builds on the
attributes that customers experience with both brands, including
long-lasting premium quality, ruggedness with everyday comfort and
compelling value," said Fred Adcock, Executive Vice President, Subaru of
America, Inc. "We are excited to now expand this relationship to the
Forester, which, like our Outback model, is a natural fit for the
outdoors-oriented lifestyle that many L.L. Bean customers enjoy."
The exterior design of the
Forester is box-like and square. The vehicle is taller than a standard car,
with large open windows allowing the interior to shine though. We did
wonder why someone would design a car like this, after all a box is more
1980's design while sleek and rounded is more in line with 2005. We learned
that this Forester is a "small SUV" by Subaru terminology. We call it a
large station wagon. However most of all it is a practical people and cargo
mover, which a box design provides for.
The exterior two-tone paint
scheme is classic and does remind you of other Subaru's. The front end is
dated with headlamps that went out of style a few years ago and a large SUV
style lower bumper with build in fog lamps. The tail end is also very
standard looking, something you would not look at twice. New 10-spoke alloy
wheels distinguish the L.L Bean edition from other 8-spoke wheel designs.
We did like the main big differentiating feature, the super large sunroof.
While all glass panels on this vehicle are large, the sunroof is as big as
the front and rear seating areas and this really opens up the interior for
cross country trips to scenic areas.
Interior features are
numerous and very useful. The L.L. Bean edition is equipped with exclusive
beige leather trimmed upholstery with perforated leather bolsters and L.L.
Bean logo embossed front seats. The leather is very soft and feels quite
strong as well. Soft leather is also used on the door trim as well as on
the gear shift lever and steering wheel. The generous use of a soft rubbery
textured trim on the dash and the doors also adds a rugged appearance to the
interior of the Forester. This all makes for a rugged feeling inside built
for purposeful driving.
An eight-way power adjustable
driver's seat is standard with a manually adjustable front passenger seat.
We would however like both seats up front to be powered and both to be
adjustable in their height. Overall both front seats are comfortable and
provide good support in turn due to their large backrest bolsters. Both
front seats can be heated by way of a two-position switch, a great standard
feature in this model. The rear seats are firm and provide a good straight
seating position. They fold flat quickly and easily and allow for 60/40
split folding. L.L. Bean embroidered floor mats are another exclusive touch
and they look quite nice we might add.
Automatic powered windows all around feature a driver's one
touch auto down, something we would like to have on all windows. The large
panoramic sunroof is quite amazing. It features one touch operation and
lets in a large amount of light even when closed. When fully open it truly
makes the inside feel like a convertible letting in large amounts of air.
Cruise control as well as power mirrors are also standard. Power outlets
are located in the cabin as well as in the cargo area for those adventurous
camp outs. A concealed storage area under the rear cargo floor is also a
great useful idea. We also found nice small touches of convenience, such as
four tie-down hooks and two grocery bag hooks. The upper dash also features
a large storage area under a flip down lid. A keyless entry system with
antitheft security system is also standard.
The instrument cluster is simple with enough information for
daily driving. Digital display of outside temperature and gear position is
also shown along with a digital clock. The three main dials are chrome
trimmed for added sparkle. The stereo system is adequate with four speakers
and weatherband function as well as a 6-disc in dash CD player. It is very
clean and simple to use. There are no controls for stereo functions on the
steering wheel which is a big feature lacking in this Subaru. The automatic
climate control system is also quite easy to use with three simple dials, as
we have seen on Mazda vehicles. The system works well, in cold temperatures
the fan stays off until there is enough engine temperature to provide heat,
it also does not blow hot air through the central vents, keeping hot air
from blowing into your face while heating the vehicle.
The Forester 2.5 XS is powered by a 2.5 Liter SOHC 16-valve horizontally
opposed 4 cylinder Boxer engine. It delivers 165 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft.
of torque. A standard four-speed direct control automatic transmission is
offered. An engine control module with adaptive driving habits capability
is also part of the system. Fuel economy is rated at 22 miles per gallon
city and 28 miles per gallon highway. This L.L. Bean edition is exclusively
equipped with a self-leveling rear suspension which maintains ride level
even with heavy payloads. The feel of the engine is quite good for this
large vehicle. The Forester feels light and quick. Driving up to 80 mph is
quick and effortless, after which the low horsepower begins to truly show.
Shifts are quick, and the Forester is a great daily driver for short and
All Subaru models feature a standard Symmetrical All-Wheel drive
system powering all four wheels all the time. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is
a total system that integrates a lightweight horizontally opposed (boxer)
engine and full-time All-Wheel Drive. The boxer engine and simple,
symmetrical drivetrain layout equip Forester with a lower center of gravity
than other SUVs. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive provides the safety benefit of
optimal traction for all road conditions. On snow and ice conditions we
were able to drive the Forester hard, with little slippage. The system
works very well and with the added benefit of good tires, it keeps you going
in the direction you intend almost perfectly.
All Models equipped with
4-speed automatic transmission use an electronically controlled variable
multi-plate transfer clutch to distribute power to where traction is
needed. Sensors monitor parameters such as wheel slippage, throttle
position and braking to help determine torque distribution to the wheels
with optimum traction. Models equipped with the 4-speed electronic direct
control automatic transmission feature an AWD system that utilizes an
electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch housed in the
transaxle tailshaft. This active All-Wheel-Drive uses several input sensors
to determine how weight transfer affects available traction. Under
acceleration, the system routes power to the rear wheels to maximize
rearward weight transfer. Under deceleration, the system directs power to
the front wheels to respond to potential weight transfer to the front. 2.5
XS and 2.5 XT models also include a viscous-type limited-slip rear
differential. The transmission also features slope control functions to
help maintain the proper gear on inclines and descents.
The suspension is a four
wheel independent setup with heavy duty raised shocks. Front and rear
stabilizer bars are also used along with the strut type rear suspension with
self-leveling feature. On daily drives the Forester is just right with
little body lean or dive. The suspension keeps bumps out of the cabin quite
well and delivers a great ride quality. Only upon heavy cornering do you
feel the results of a tall cabin with a bit more of body lean.
The braking system is a modern four-wheel disc system with
four-channel four sensor anti-lock braking system. It also offers
electronic brake force distribution with large 11.4 inch rotors up front and
10.3 inch rotors in back. Wheel and tires sizes are 16-inch with sticky
Yokohama Geolander all season rubbers. We found the ABS system to work well
at allowing the vehicle to turn on slippery surfaces. The tires were so
good that we could not get the car to slide on snow and ice, we highly
recommend this set of rubbers on any vehicle.
Safety features include dual stage driver and front passenger
air bags. Front seat mounted head and chest side impact air bags are also
standard. A seat position sensor on the driver's seat track detects if the
driver is sitting too close to the air bag, in which case the system would
delay deployment of the air bag's second stage. The passenger side front
seat incorporates an occupant detection module that detects weight on the
passenger seat - determining if it's a child or adult - to control air bag
deployment. Seatbelts are height adjustable for a perfect fit for short or
consistently demonstrate the commitment to safety that Subaru engineers into
all of its models. Subaru Forester earned the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety (IIHS) highest rating ("good") in both the side impact
crashworthiness evaluation and 40 mph frontal offset crash tests, and the
IIHS called Forester the "best small SUV" it has tested. Subaru Forester
meets all Federal passenger car safety standards. The 5-mph front and rear
bumpers on all Subaru Forester models exceed the Federal 2.5 mph bumper
standard applicable to passenger cars. In contrast, the bumpers on some
SUVs offer little or no protection in low-speed collisions, potentially
contributing to high repair costs.
Our LL Bean Edition starts
out at a standard base price of $26,295. Optional was an equipment group 4
with floor mats in rubber and a cargo bin for only $170. A cargo tray and
bumper cover as well as splash guards are also part of a popular equipment
group 1A for $289. Add to this destination for $575 and you get a total
MSRP of $27,329.
Overall the Forester is a
great vehicle for practical daily driving. It holds loads of cargo as well
as people comfortably. The Forester also has great driving demeanor with a
nice seating position, easy entry and exit, and large glass panels. The all
wheel drive system along with super sticky tires makes this a great car to
have in winter snow and ice. The only thing this vehicle lacks is style,
with an outdated boxish exterior design. At this price range you can choose
from a host of small SUV's however the Forester carves out a great niche for
itself being more car-like than all others. More technology inside and some
refining of exterior looks will help attract more buyers to this great car.