Long before sport-utility crossover vehicles became all the rage, Subaru had already moved miles ahead of the curve way back in 1995 with its outback, followed two years later by the Forester. Both have been bona-fide marketplace success stories and the 2006 Subaru Forester wagon appears to be building on that success with several significant upgrades-particularly in the drive train and suspension departments.
On the outside, the Forester's now familiar tall and uncluttered profile remains unchanged, giving the driver an elevated seating position and excellent visibility in all directions. The exterior sheet metal has been freshened up just a tad without sacrificing Subaru's road identity.
There are three trim levels available: 2.5x, 2.5x L.L. Bean, and the 2.5 XT Limited. Even the base level "X" model of the Forester is a well-equipped automobile with such features as power windows, locks, and mirrors, air conditioning with air filtration, cruise control, tilt-steering wheel, and key less entry. The goodies keep on coming with the premium package which includes alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, a limited slip differential, and heated seats just to name several extras. In fact, the list of standard and optional equipment on the 2006 Forester is extensive to say the least.
The interior space, especially in the front seat area, is roomy and comfortable and leather-equipped Foresters can easily be described as luxurious. With the rear seat folded down, there's 57.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
The 2006 Forester comes with either a normally aspirated horizontally opposed dour-cylinder engine that now boasts variable-valve timing, which takes its peak horsepower from its previous 165 rating to an improved 173. Go for the 2.5 Turbo 4-cylinder engine and you'll get a 20-horsepower increase from last year's entry. Naturally, all Foresters come with full-time all-wheel drive and can be ordered with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Upgrades to the suspension and a full 8-inches of ground clearance give the Forester excellent road manners and impressive off-road performance in both wet and dry conditions.
And there's plenty of occupant safety built into every Forester with 4-wheel anti-lock brakes standard on all Foresters while 4-wheel disc brakes are all standard except on the base X model. The full complement of passive restraints on the Forester helped in giving the crossover wagon exceptional results in the latest government conducted crash testing. The Forester is definitely a car which you should consider if safety is a high priority in your buying decision.
The suggested manufacturer's base price of the 2006 Subaru Forester wagon in 2.5 X trim with the 5-speed manual transmission is $21,795. Remember, there are two other trim levels to choose from and a long list of options to consider when deciding on your Forester.
Subaru came up with a revolutionary idea with its popular Forester wagon in 1997 and one indication of how big a winner it has become is how many other manufacturers have adopted the crossover concept. The latest Forester has everything it needs to continue its reign as a category pacesetter.