• 2014 Subaru Forester XT Muddy Off-Road Drive & Review

    Subaru-Muddy-YTThe new 2014 Subaru Forester XT is a family hauler with the ground clearance of a Jeep Wrangler and Subaru’s well know symmetric all-wheel-drive system.

    Recently we took the 2014 Subaru Forester off-road in one of the worst Colorado snow storms of the year and we quickly go the Forester stuck.

    Without proper snow tires, this unfair to the Forester so we waited a few days until the snow melted and tried again in the mud.

    How did the new 2014 Subaru Forester XT do when the trail turned muddy and very wet.

    Watch this off-road review to find out.

    You can also watch our snowy misadventure review HERE.

    Roman Mica
    Roman Mica
    Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he’s not reviewing cars or producing videos, you can find him training for triathlons and writing about endurance sports for EverymanTri.com as our sister blog’s publisher. Mica is a former broadcast reporter with his Master’s Degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He is also a presenter for TFLcar’s very popular video review channel on YouTube and AOL.

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    11 thoughts on “2014 Subaru Forester XT Muddy Off-Road Drive & Review

    1. Let me admit my jealousy right….now. That trail looks sweet! And let me premise this by indicating that I am a long-time fan of your reviews:

      Roman, since the Navi system is optional (and only on the top [non-volume] trim), how do you feel about the Forester otherwise? How are the front seats? How’s the power delivery? It’s sort of funny – you had a ‘press’ car – i.e. optioned in a way that can’t be had by consumers (Premium XT with Navi and no Eyesight). Probably would have been smarter of Subaru to give you one without the Navi unit.

      On the 2009-2013 model, you seemed to love the car, but for a few rough edges here and there…this one seems to excite you far less – is it really just the CVT? Comparing this CVT to others you may have driven, how does it compare? Obviously you prefer a manual, or even the feel of a conventional automatic, but does the CVT really detract from the car so much because of feel and noise? I fully respect your opinion – I just want to know if it’s a journalist’s point of view, or whether consumers will feel the same way…the way this video comes off is that the entire car is let down by the CVT – you’d only lease it, after all (then again, my Forester’s leased…). Is it THAT bad?!

      1. Hi Roman,

        Did you ever get around to a Colorado altitude 0-60, with that 2014 turbo Forester?

          1. Hi Roman,

            The Forester will probably be about 2 seconds slower here at altitude. Maybe less, like 1 to 1.5 seconds slower. Too bad you did not get time to do a real 0-60 here at altitude. Really would have liked you do a 0-60 test on wet, slick roads. Will the computer slow you down with unwanted breaking and corrections or will it assist traction and get you out of harms way?

      2. Took the swedish version of the XT for a quick spin mainly on highways but also on some smaller back roads and I actually loved this new CVT. It’s something completely different than the previous versions for the lesser petrol engines. It is a much quieter overall experiance because of the way it uses the torquier engine of the XT. It can be a bit confusing with all the different si modes and manual/drive gear selector but set the mode to s or maybe s# and keep it in drive and then the feeling is much more like a traditional auto or even a dubble-clutch in the way it uses simulated steps if you step on the gas. I would suggest a test drive to fiddle with the different modes, you might just like it, a lot.
        Now, I’m just waiting for Subaru to bring the CVT to the. EU Diesel version of the Forester, as they already have in the Outback…


    2. I haven’t been impressed with recent Subaru audio systems, either. It seems Subaru gave up after the McIntosh days. Even the Harmon Kardon in a new Limited I drove was a letdown.

      1. Bose systems found in Chevy Trucks, Nissan Altima’s and a few others are nothing to write home to Mom about either. Really most new stereos in the under 35,000 categories have been tech heavy, sound deficient…

        I long for the days of Infinity car audio from 20 years ago…

    3. Hi Roman,

      How does this XT drive through canyons, rural, suburbs and the city areas? You know, a few hundred pounds of junk/trash, stop and go, icy roads, merging, etc. Just normal driving by normal folk. Real world.

      Seems as though the Forester is a decent off road vehicle considering it still has short tires, limited travel and no full time lockers but what about the other 95% of the time in the real world?

      I think a lot of potential Subaru Forester owners like the off road every now and again but for most people it is a daily commuter?

    4. Hi Roman,
      Great review as always.
      I understand that Subaru probably doesn’t want you to change the tires on their vehicle for the review but ever thought about putting on some chains for the off road / winter review. This would give you more confidence to climb the entire mountain. If I’m lazy, I just lay the chains in front of the tires if I get stuck and I can leave my shovel at home.

    5. Nice review and followup! I owned earlier ’09 series XT and have found ’14 a big improvement in every area (Subaru does seem to listen to customers), and in many ways has a Euro feel (XT rode better on Oregon roads than the Audi Allroad!) I know you folks dislike CVT’s but the XT’s hi-torque version’s far more responsive then the older XT’s 4 speed automatic, and Subaru has never been able to sell enough XT’s with manuals to make them profitable!
      Granted, the ’14 Nav screen’s rather klugey, but steering wheel’s left-spoke controls manage basic functions like volume, mode and stepping through stations. The voice recognition system’s weak, though. Perhaps Subaru will offer a software upgrade to improve the nav interface. Also, while not quite Bose class, Harmon Kardon option’s big step up from base radio.

      Would be good if later this year you and Nathen (sp?) could do mashup pitting Honda CRV and Toyota RAV-4 against the “XT.

      Bridgestone Duelers have had long history of terrible snow/ice performance – no surprise you got stuck. Nokian WRG2’s made huge difference on snow.

    6. Hi Roman!
      I really enjoy your reviews. Please pass along regards to Nathan – it’d be fun to hang out with you guys.

      My comment is that, here in the mountains of British Columbia and in other provinces, winter tires are the law! Here it is, the first of May, and the main 4 lane highway to the coase was closed for 2 nights earlier in the week because of blizzards. The point I’m making is that “real world” conditions in the winter include proper winter tires. Anything less isn’t gonna cut it. Also, lets see how the mghty jeeps do on the muddy road with street tires like you’re using on the subie – fair is fair, right?

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