My trip was so quick, I didn't even realize I was in Tokyo. Arrive Friday, drive Saturday and head home on Sunday. That's a brutal, sleep-depriving, time-zone-crimping turnaround, but I was game, because the 2014 Subaru Forester is an important product. In fact, in the last 15 years or so, it's arguably become the heart of the Japanese automaker's American range in our crossover-crazed nation.
Subaru had arranged a whirlwind tour to give a handful of journalists, including Autoblog, a chance to see, hear, touch and drive the new Forester before it goes on sale overseas this month. American dealers won't see this CUV until early next year, and we won't even get our first view of it in the metal and undisguised until the LA Auto Show in two weeks - we were only afforded a brief drive in disguised prototypes, so more in-depth impressions will have to wait until we have more time with the car.
Unbeknownst to Subaru, though, I was probably one of the few people it didn't want driving its new model - especially with jet lag. After all, I find the current Forester overrated and underpowered. Yes, it comes with a unique boxer engine, all-wheel-drive capability and hippies in sandals touting Subaru love, but still I detest it in all nine factory colors. Its oversized greenhouse, gangly stance and the tacked-on hood scoop on the turbocharged model has never sat well with me. To me, the Forester has always been a vehicle never quite done.