Subaru of America, Inc. today announced that the Subaru Forester was named MOTOR TREND's 2009 Sport/Utility of the Year. Topping 12 other contenders, the Subaru Forester was, according to MOTOR TREND editor-in- chief, Angus MacKenzie, the judges' unanimous decision. "The Subaru Forester is the SUV for our times," said MacKenzie.

"We are proud and honored to receive this award for the Subaru Forester," said Thomas J. Doll, executive vice president, Subaru of America.  "The previous Forester had become a byword for practicality and durability and we knew the 2009 Forester had a tough act to follow.  So, we made the new Forester bigger, more powerful and more economical than ever—while retaining its legendary reliability and safety, only in a more complete package.  The improvements to the new Forester are also being reflected in consumer demand, with sales up 32% over the previous year."

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Priced from $19,995 the all-new Subaru Forester represents a $1,200 reduction over the entry price of the previous model. It is available with either a 170-hp 2.5-liter boxer engine or a 224-hp turbocharged engine. Blending utility with performance and comfort, the 2009 Forester is built on an all-new platform featuring a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase (now 103.0 inches) that improves ride and interior space, especially rear seat legroom. The 2009 Forester also features increased hip and shoulder room.

Living up to Subaru's legendary safety record, the Forester offers cutting-edge safety technology, including Subaru's ring reinforcement safety system, front, seat-mounted side, and side-curtain airbags and ABS. Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, which incorporates stability and traction control systems with a roll-over sensor, is also standard equipment.

The Subaru Forester recently received the highest possible ratings in frontal and side impact crash tests by the governments' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to a five-star frontal and side impact crash-test rating, the 2009 Forester received a four-star rollover resistance rating.

To judge contenders for the award, MOTOR TREND's editorial staff conducted exhaustive off-road, street and track testing, and carefully considered essentials such as driving performance, safety and features. MOTOR TREND'S Sport/Utility of the Year is not a comparison test. Each contender was evaluated against three simple criteria: superiority (engineering, design, utilization of resources); significance (its impact on the market), and value (what buyers get for their money versus the competition).