Motor Trend magazine, which pioneered the concept of Car of the Year awards in 1949, has named the new Subaru Forester as its Sport/Utility of the Year for 2014.
Subaru is the only manufacturer to win this award three times, having won also with the 2010 Outback and the 2009 Forester.
According to Motor Trend, "The 2014 Subaru Forester beat a highly competitive field of SUVs because it best met our award’s six key criteria."
The judging criteria included: Design Advancement; Engineering Excellence; Performance of Intended Function; Efficiency; Safety; and Value.
Smart design, thoughtful engineering, and a compelling performance on road and off were the keys to the Forester’s win. MT's editors were particularly impressed by the Forester's turbocharged engines, CVT transmission, excellent visibility and interior package.
"Practical, affordable, efficient and fun-to-drive – Forester truly ticked every box," said Motor Trend editor-in-chief, Ed Loh.
Other vehicles tested in the magazine's Sport/Utility of the Year competition included:
> Acura MDX
> Audi Q5
> BMW X1
> Buick Encore
> Dodge Durango
> Hyundai Santa Fe
> Jeep Grand Cherokee
> Kia Sorento
> Land Rover Range Rover Sport
> Mini Paceman S ALL4
> Mitsubishi Outlander
> Toyota RAV4
The contenders for the award were subjected to a three-phase testing process.
Phase one included a full tech check and weigh-in, followed by track testing to establish baseline data for acceleration, braking, and handling.
Phase two involved three days of road loops offering a range of road surfaces and traffic conditions to evaluate ride and handling, engine and transmission smoothness and responsiveness, wind and road noise, and ergonomics. A dirt-track section tested traction, stability, and braking control systems.
In the third phase the judges debated and deliberated to decide upon the winner.
Click here to read our FIRST DRIVE report on the 2014 Subaru Forester.