The SJ Forester brought a few firsts to the platform. Most notable were the CVT and direct injection. New technological features like X Mode and Eyesight were also added.
With the push of a button, X Mode can be enabled. This will then transfer torque evenly to all four wheels. If traction is lost at any corner, X Mode kicks in and relieves power from that axle and distributes it where it can be used. X Mode allows owners of any skill level to safely go though extreme conditions both on and especially off road. The Eyesight Driver Assist System is another first for the platform. This is Subaru’s safety package that includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.
Of course, the improvements weren’t limited to off-roading and safety features. With the availability of the 2.0L Direct Injected Turbo FA20, the latest Forester also saw some potential for performance gains. This new platform employs higher compression, a new twin-scroll turbo, and uses Subaru’s dual active valve control system. Our 2014 FXT dyno’d at 215hp to the wheels; 15hp over the previous generation. Although the SJ has less torque than the previous model, the additional horsepower and transmission configuration make it a lot of fun to drive.
The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is a pretty polarizing feature. But, even the naysayers can’t argue with its performance potential. Our FXT with nothing more than a tune using the Accessport was able to clock a quarter mile pass into the 13s!
The SJ offers nice improvements with technology and safety features. Some folks will never get passed the CVT. Overall, it’s still a great car. What’s your favorite Forester?