is the only brand with two Cheap picks, and justifiably so. Its hallmark is seamless integration of all-wheel drive as standard equipment on every vehicle it builds — save the rear-drive BRZ sports car engineered with Toyota
. The redesigned 2014 Forester is a sterling example of Subaru’s progress in providing lots of interior space within a sensibly sized exterior. To some eyes, this four-door wagon is a compact hatchback with a slightly elevated ride height. In reality, it’s a dauntingly capable compact crossover. Ground clearance, for example, is a 8.7 inches; in our Cheap group, only the Wrangler has more. And only the far larger Wrangler Unlimited beats Forester’s 74.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. Forester’s comfortable interior is substance before style: refreshingly sober, simple, and roomy. The lineup divides along engine type, 2.5i models with a capable 170 horsepower, 2.0XT editions with a turbocharged 250. Both are horizontally opposed four-cylinders and the 2.5i versions are available with a six-speed manual transmission (rated 24 mpg city/highway combined) or 27 mpg combined with the continuously variable automatic that’s standard with the 2.0XTs. Purists can delight in the manual-transmission 2.5i Premium model, not so minimalist with a power driver’s seat, 17 inch alloys, heated front seats and mirrors, Bluetooth, and a review camera all standard for just $24,320. The CVT version lists for $25,820 and adds a panoramic moonroof. With either, there’s a comfortable margin to add the $1,600 navigation-system option package. For $28,820, consider the 2.0XT Premium. It has the terrific turbo engine (25 mpg combined), steering-wheel shift paddles, sport
suspension, 18 inch alloys, larger brakes, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Add navigation, and you’re at $29,920.