Drive This, Not That, Sept 2013

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Winner: 2014 Subaru Forester XT

Subaru and the gay community have been deeply enmeshed for a long time, and generally, I really enjoy their products. But alas, I enjoy some more than others. So for this month’s DTNT matchup, I put two similarly priced Subarus, a loaded XV Crosstrek and a moderately equipped Forester XT—both crossovers with mild off-road capability head-to-head.

The Crosstrek’s advantages include funky exterior styling (especially in orange), more features for the money, and fuel economy. But the Crosstrek’s extra infotainment and navigation features, for example, are not as usable to use due to the small screen, tiny info graphics and unintuitive interface. Particularly disappointing is the interior, which is rife with cheap plastics and exceedingly drab in appearance. The Forester’s exterior styling is more aggressive and just as cool, and the more spacious interior is somewhat more upscale-looking, even without a navigation screen. More importantly, the Forester’s zesty, turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets up and boogies, whereas the XV Crosstrek’s non-turbo engine is droney, less responsive and generally unpleasant. The Forester’s sunroof is also freakishly huge. Sure, the fuel economy difference means you’ll be paying a bit more to gas up the Forester XT, but you’ll be smiling each time you step on the go-pedal. And that makes it more than worth the extra coin in my book.

The Scorecard (««««« = best)

 

2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Limited

2014 Subaru Forester XT Premium

Price as Tested

$27,420

$28,820

Styling

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Acceleration

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Handling

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Interior décor

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Interior space

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Cargo Space

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Value

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“Joie de Vie” Quotient

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Fuel Economy, city/hwy

25/33

23/28

Renowned automotive journalist and gay car geek Steve Siler has turned his life-long love of cars into a fruitful and enthusiastic career traveling the world to test thousands of new vehicles as they are introduced. Siler is s regular contributor to Car and Driver Magazine, Edmunds.com,AutoTrader.com, AOL Autos and Yahoo! Autos, and also pioneered automotive writing for the GLBT community more than a decade ago.


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