Should we be more diplomatic with this piece of truth and send a secret note to Motor Trend, putting the truth between the lines, letting the editors there discern?
Everyone answered, No.
We determined it’s best to let loose over the Internet because quite a number of people who care about how to motor have been deceived by this result from Motor Trend! Or probably.
Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year Award 2014 to the Subaru Forester is the greatest automotive lie journalists ever told in recent times! Why, do we say that? We find out on Your Right of Way!
Of course, Jigged don’t play favorites. Brand don’t count! Yet, if a client came to us asking of Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, all 2014 models, from what we know and have tried, have also seen, and tested, we could look them right in the eye and say Go For Love – buy the Subaru Forester!
O, did we forget to add the Hyundai Santa Fe? Look, here’s a sweet car!
However, if the Lexus RX were part of the list, perhaps you know where our answer would go. Someone says but that’s luxury! Then you could also add Mercedes GLK-Class. Or BMW X5. We’d still pick the Lexus RX! Perhaps, that comes down just to style (albeit overdone) on the 2014 model RX. Are we even leaving out the Range Rover Evoque?
Well, yes, for the functionality and behavior, like Motor Trend editors highlighted, the 2014 Subaru is fun!
Lieberman explained, “I was incredibly impressed with the CVT on the XT, especially when it’s in Sport# and fakes up to 8 ‘gears.’ Subaru went ahead and programmed it as aggressively as Porsche’s PDK. When I was really flogging away on the XT, I’d look down at the gear indicator and observe that I was in ’2.’ Impressive.” Not only is the CVT good, but editors had an absolute blast driving the Forester, describing it as being “quite tossable,” and they enjoyed the XT’s road feel and sportier suspension. It was quick at the track, too, where the XT reached 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That’s faster than the Acura MDX and the BMW x1 xDrive28i.
But, interestingly, “being quite tossable” doesn’t begin to make a crossover an SUV. Yes, the Subaru Forester is carlike, it’s not an instant classic in any breath, and therefore, not a car. It’s not visually appealing – no where even near the Santa Fe. It just towers beyond what our grandchildren would be willing to pay a dear sum for in the name of classic collection.
Ask if Jay Leno would collect a Forester if he lives another 50 years from today?
But, it can be fun. Still in no definition of the term SUV – say, Sport Utility Vehicle. Yes, a couple SUV’s are “cars” – think the BMW X6, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Acura ZDX, the Range Rover Sport HSE, the Vogue, etc.
Subaru Forester is not a SUV! Simple. Here’s where the lie lies of Motor Trend’s.
Incidentally, crossover is agreeably a sedan. But jacked up to improve approach, break-over, and departure angles. Some bit of off-roading tolerated. But those attributes, they pretend to be SUVs. They’re not!
Truth is, what can legitimately be called SUV has been so manipulated, the line between sedan or wagon, and family truck (true SUV) so blurred by recent experiments by automakers, that only looking at the mechanicals of a vehicle can convince one which is which, no matter how the one looks like or actually pretend to be the other. Inordinate emphasis on rising gas prices (Efficiency) and concern over our environment beyond limits that are Reasonable and Practical (that is, if they must be gasoline!) (Ecology) have pushed automakers to hotly compete with each other over this new crossover segment, with savvy marketing to make consumers wonder how they ever put up with life before 1999 or so when Toyota trail-blazed this new way of life with its annoyingly small RAV4. It’s proportions have of necessity grown up since. The results have been even more annoying. Think the Mitsubishi Outlander meandering about body types or segments without becoming anyone anytime or wanting to be what? Outlander. Great job gone bad!
Motor Trend just made the line more blurred, in fact, to completely befuddle any non-careful consumer.
No, they’re not biased. No, Subaru didn’t pay them for it. Sometimes an entire panel just becomes too soft they get it wrong. Or so we’re thinking. We suppose Motor Trend felt like they’ve been too extreme in judgments they needed to make the boys have a little chance amongst the men. Perhaps.
Motor Trend says that the Forester nails nearly all of the six criteria for Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year – advancement in design, efficiency, engineering excellence, performance of intended function, safety, and value. That’s OK. But, that is within whatever class they decide to judge it. Therefore it should’ve been judged in the Crossover class. Better befitting. Not the SUV class! Needless to look at the lineup – the Subaru just didn’t fit!
Of course, most endeared to the Motor Trend’s editors is its value.
Lieberman noted, “The most refreshing part of the Forester is its honesty. Hey, look, cloth seats, and you get the idea that Subaru’s not ashamed of them. Not every car needs to pretend to be a luxury item. There’s something appealing about being a populist product.” Loh was equally impressed with the Forester’s value: “Jaw-dropping price on the base model: $24K with backup camera and cruise control.”
And we can go on and on quoting these guys and preaching about the goodness of the Forester. But, suffice it to say that all such goodness belongs in the realm of its being a sedan, a big sedan, a crossover, not an SUV. If “big sedan” is two words and cumbersome, let’s do with Crossover. That’s just fine! There’s a lot more appealing about being honest about who or what you are. And saying so. Not more. No, not more!
An SUV first of all is a body-on-frame (two-piece) construction for the rigidity it must possess off road. How come Lieberman himself is most impressed with the 2014 Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel and recommends it over a now unibody-constructed Volkswagen Touareg in a head-to-head? The Touareg is also now a big sedan! The answer obviates this more recent award because Lieberman confessed to not getting the true qualities of an SUV from the Touareg anymore than he did with the outgoing editions.
Don’t get us wrong – SUVs don’t have to mean cumbersome.
The second feature one certainly sees in a SUV (even sedans are featuring them these days) is adjustable and (sometimes active) suspension. Air suspension. Allowing ground clearance off-road to go as high as 10 inches and 6-8 inches low on-road. In contrast, the Suby Forester is fixed at an on-road risky-for-speed high of 8.7 inches! And stays there. Too bad.
Come on, you just jack up a sedan (or wagon) about 9 inches and leave it riding high all the God-help-us time and call it an SUV? God!
Then you start talking about limited-slip and locking differentials, low-range transfer-case gears, wheel articulation, and the rest. The Versatility of a vehicle. What things make a SUV so Capable. And Practical.
Now even if towing is not a big deal, the Subaru’s 1500-pound towability is hardly SUV territory. Even if CUV (that’s it, crossovers are pretentiously called CUVs for crossover utility vehicles) buyers are using their big sedans predominantly within cities, and may never tow for the life of them, well it makes the Forester just one of those – not an SUV. Crossover or CUV. Period.
This invalidates the Motor Trend 2009 same award to the Forester and the 2010 one that went to the Outback. Unfortunately. See why there’s need to dispute this? It could go on and on – this flagrant error in judgment!
To tolerate this Motor Trend lie of classification is to confuse body-type segmentation. Again, it could go on. Still we may just accept all the rigors gone through to come up with a verdict by saying, OK, the Suby Forester is a big sedan with lots of sports and a couple utility. But not a SUV!