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One more time, Motor Trend has turned to Subaru for a coveted vehicle-of-the-year laurel – this time being Subaru’s 2014 Forester SUV of the year.

A performance leader ever since it entered the U.S. market 25 years ago, thanks to its superior all-wheel drive system and acceleration rates, Subaru enjoys a loyalty record as a champion whose restyling marks do not detract from its under-the-hood amenities. These include off-the-road capabilities such as a sportier suspension, reaching 60MPH in 6.2 seconds, (faster than the overpraised Acura MDX and BMW Xi drive 28i, and a 5-star safety citation from NHTSA. A stability control system was one of the first on any small SUV. Leave it to Subaru to keep fun-to-drive on all its lineup!

Sooner than high-profile SUVs like those from Hyundai Santa Fe or Audi Q5, Subaru has packed the Forester with a 6-speed manual, turbocharged 2.0 XT and continuously variable transmission in the performance column and such safety goodies as a backup camera, 7 airbags and a brake override system and pre-crash fuel system cutoff to go with it.

Once a small SUV at birth, the Forester for 2014 and 2015 now boasts a rarely awarded HIS Safety-rating – on front end crashes -one of the few baby SUVs to land the honor of SUV of the year.

All of the above plus for a unchanged base price of $24,320 and “loaded” price of $28,820.

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