Motor review - Subaru Forester
PUBLISHED: 00:33 08 February 2014
Tough and dependable are the watchwords of the Subaru Forester, as Syd Taylor disovers
In the world of rallying, Subaru is a byword for dependability and success in the most gruelling conditions imaginable. It’s no wonder then that the new Forester is a car that makes real driving adventure accessible as well.
Utterly tough and reliable, these cars say as much about the good sense of their owners as the top quality of their engineering as they eschew flashy style for solidity.
Renowned 4x4 technology imparts leech-like grip, tenacious versatility and ‘go-anywhere, do-anything’ confidence. There’s no trickery here; just honest ‘fit for purpose’ utility with all the added comforts one might desire, but not necessarily expect, in a car of this class.
The new fourth generation Forester is now longer, taller, wider and with more space inside and the 2.0 D XC tested - at £26,765 - comes with sat nav, a reversing camera, and a host of other features including ‘dual’ climate control.
Tough though the new Forester certainly is, the inside is packed with thoughtful touches. Warm, spacious and inviting, there’s all the ambience and quality of a luxury car, but there’s no unnecessary adornment or excess.
With lots of room for five adults and their luggage, intelligent use is made of space - and the flexibility offered by permutations of ‘seats up/down/half up or down’, means that you can change from cruise liner to cargo ship in an instant. Six airbags are there just in case - and the rigid structure of this Subaru is not so far off Challenger Tank strength.
But how does the Forester feel behind the wheel? You sit tall and enjoy good visibility - and the range of seat adjustment lets anyone from a delicate princess to Jethro the farm labourer, get comfortable.
Cars like this often wallow when the roads are twisty - but not the new Forester which displays surprisingly agile handling. Powered by a 148 bhp 2.0 litre 4 cylinder diesel engine, you can tow that heavy trailer or zip along through the gears in a sporty manner. The Forester will reach nearly 120 mph so you always have plenty of performance available.
Surprisingly, this substantial car returned more than 50 mpg overall during a week of merciless testing: the makers modestly claim just 49.6 mpg. This seems to reflect the whole ethos of the Subaru marque. Where other manufacturers make economy claims of millions of miles per gallon thanks to a following hurricane, Subaru are straight and true.