Before we all wanted SUVs and Crossovers there was Subaru. They offered all wheel drive (AWD) in their cars for customers who had a mix of driving requirements - one of which required off-road capability but not necessitating full blown 4WD. It was a fertile market for Subaru. Then along came the Crossovers that looked like they could go anywhere but were in fact predominantly 2WD. It was a con, purists were shocked, but buyers didn’t care with only a small percentage opting for the AWD versions. We wanted the image of being able to go anywhere but not necessarily the ability. The rugged looking Forester, being the real deal, certainly looks like how an SUV should look.
Subaru steadfastly remained committed to their ideals with only a late nod to the diesel fashion and if they hadn’t they’d have been proved right with our return to petrol.
The Forester here is still the car to turn to for toughness, reliability, and off-road performance. The addition of technology, ergonomic improvement and better materials has refined the Forester proposition making it feel more upmarket but not quite premium. It offers the driver an exceptional amount of reassurance and security in all driving circumstances. It is now a very refined car and keeps most of the intrusions from the weather and roads out.
I had the 2.0I XE CVT petrol model costing €38,995 with that magical 150 PS power figure – the optimum choice. It wasn’t economic, returning me 9.1l/100kms and not helped by having an automatic CVT transmission. It handles beautifully though and the petrol punch rewards the driver. There is a diesel engine available and with the eco jury still to definitively decide it may well be the choice for now.
There is a mix of manufacturers and extended warranty which for this renowned, reliable car should be 5 years from the manufacturer.
The car also has Subaru’s suite of safety features called EyeSight for collision avoidance, lane keeping and active cruise control. You also get hill descent and a trailer stability system a must when the car’s inherent ability is being used.
The Forester, now in its 4th generation here, is still the go-to AWD vehicle if you need extra grip off-road but not all the time and would be my very first choice. It’s more expensive but, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for.