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2005 Subaru Forester Compact Sport Utility Vehicle

New Car Review of the 2005 Subaru Forester Compact Sport Utility Vehicle

Description: Compact Sport Utility Vehicle
Base MSRP Range: $21,295 - $27,395
Invoice Price Range: $19,685 - $25,237
Where built: Japan

The chassis of a sporty coupe -- Subaru's Impreza -- underpins agile Forester the sport-utility vehicle. It was rebuilt in 2003 and earned optional turbo-charged power last year, with 2005 models showing four trims including a deluxe new 2.5 XS L. L. Bean edition.

Entry issue Forester 2.5 X and upscale 2.5 XS plus new 2.5 XS L. L. Bean Edition carry Subaru's 2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder engine that achieves 165-hp. The top model -- Forester 2.5 XT -- wears a functional scoop on the hood and a turbo-charger and inter-cooler on the engine to push points out to 210-hp.

Different versions of Forester's full-time AWD system are used for manual and automatic transmissions. For the manual, a viscous-coupling device locks the center differential, while an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch works with the automatic. The electronically-operated 4-speed automatic is optional for any Forester, while the 5-speed manual is standard and includes Subaru's Hill Holder feature that blocks the wagon from rolling backward on a slope.

New XS L. L. Bean Edition shows a two-tone paint treatment, leather-trimmed cabin and self-leveling rear suspension. Forester 2.5 XS has a monochromatic exterior and eight-spoke alloy wheels.