indulging · travel

Subaru Forester Review Part 1

This post is sponsored by Subaru.

Subaru Forester Road TripEvery day, my email in-box is full of companies wanting me to try their products, send me samples, or making me offers I simply can’t refuse.

Every once in a while, I get a pitch that I say yes to. When Subaru contacted me recently to ask if I’d like to try out one of their 2014 Foresters, I said yes. It was easy for me because as I told them, I’m already dedicated to their brand.

My husband and I have owned and driven a 1993 Subaru Impreza since we bought it new in 1993. My husband’s parents owned not one but  two Subarus when I met them and my parents owned one also. You could say we’re Subaru people.

We drove the Subaru Forester 2,600 miles (yes, with a comma) and we worked it over! The car arrived sparkly and new smelling and I’m afraid to say that is not how we returned it! New car smell? Gone! Sand, dirt and crumbs between the seats? Yes! So much dust you could write, “Wash Me!” on the window? Yes – definitely!

Subaru Forester Camping Adventure
Subaru Forester Camping Adventure: Crater Lake, California

Our itinerary included 5-days of camping in Oregon and California (Subaru Forester Review Part 2 – link to follow) and 5-days of beach and surf fun in Carlsbad, California with a 17-hour long drive home (Subaru Forester Review Part 3 – link to follow).

What I really liked about the car:

  • It has a good amount of space for passengers in both the front and back seats. Our 1993 Subaru is very short on leg space for back seat riders – who are usually teenagers and are basically our size. Yes, I can feel their knees in my back when I’m driving my old Subaru.
  • The back cargo area had enough room for all of our camping gear – including our water supply. We camp light without much gear and after eating through the food, there was even more room.
  • The air filtering system (or whatever it’s called!) worked very well. Our travels through southern Oregon and northern California were around the wildfires that were (and still are) happening and we didn’t smell it at all inside the car.
  • The moon roof – I loved this! It’s huge and opens up but was too bright for the back seat occupants, “Mom, that sunlight is too bright!” Only kids born in Portland, Oregon complain about there being too much sun.
Go Gingham Wild Fires on Road Trip
Wild fires along I-5 in southern Oregon

What I would change about the car:

  • The car has a camera that automatically turns on when backing-up. While I found this hard  to get used to, it also came with a much smaller rear window. It seems like the current trend to have a small back window but with all of the visibility in the front, more visibility out the back window would be nice. Earlier models of Foresters have larger windows but no cameras.
  • The beeping when you cross a line or get too close to the car in front of you. I realize this is part of the extra package but it was too distracting for me. “What’s beeping now?” is something we all said. Again, something I’d probably have to get used. It’s like a built in back seat driver who nags about your driving!

Here’s a video from our trip:

Subaru gave us a Go-Pro camera (don’t feel bad if you don’t know what this – I had no idea but my teens thought this was very cool!) and a $50.00 gas card. All around, it was an extra fun road trip and I appreciate the use of the car. It would be great if Subaru would return the car to me after it gets more test drives.

Disclosure: I participated Subaru of America’s Forester Blogger program. I have been asked by Subaru of America to review their products in exchange for the use of a short-term vehicle loan. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.My disclosure policy can be found here.

Go Gingham related links:

Camp cooking supplies and what I cook with
Meal planning for campers
Travel packing in a little suitcase and a chart

8 thoughts on “Subaru Forester Review Part 1

    1. Kris, I wore the same outfit for 5-days of camping including sleeping. We all did! It’s not pretty when we camp but we do pack lightly 🙂
      It was very fun…!!


      1. It seems like whenever we go camping, we have to prepare for big temperature shifts–a couple of weeks ago it was warm enough to swim when we arrived at our campsite (and the kids did!) but then it was positively frosty. I end up packing lots of layers. I somehow forgot to pack jeans for myself so I ended up wearing the same sweatpants for several days in a row. Oh well, it was still fun!


  1. I hate camping, But I like the sound of the car, although, I too cannot bear the back-up beep or small window. Actually, I have a Nissan Rogue and will not buy another, as I cannot stand the lack of rear visibility. Maybe we are too “old” to appreciate the camera & beeping things. P.S. I am still trying to forgive you for not waiting in S.B. for us to return. Oh, wait, you can drive the Subaru back here.


  2. What a great adventure! I have to say I at first mocked the back-up camera that came on my car, but now it is one of my FAVORITE features. It does not beep. I recently had a rental car on a trip, and it was an adjustment to not have the camera. It is excellent for city driving and when turning around on a narrow forest road, too (exactly how close am I to falling into the ravine?). Think of it more as a new tool to learn to use.


    1. Ohhhh….I like the attitude! And, we’ve been close to going into a ravine in a rental car so that MAY have come in handy!! Good to know it’s your favorite feature and when Subaru returns the car to me (hint, hint!!), I’ll get used to it! 😉


  3. Now that sounds like a sweet ride 🙂
    The beeping part does sound annoying, personally it would make me cranky! Then again, its a safety feature, one can get used to it quickly.


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