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Subaru Forester Review

Rounded lines and refined detailing gave produced the best looking Subaru Forester by far.

Model Update

With new, more efficient engines, improved all-road capability and a more stylish interior, the Subaru Forester is out for its old spot as Australia’s favourite SUV.

Here in Australia it’s the Subaru Forester that’s done all the heavy lifting for Subaru. Having sold nearly 170,000 units since its 1997 debut Down Under, the Forester is the best-selling model in Subaru’s 40-year history in Australia.

The all-new, fourth-generation Subaru Forester offers more room in the front and back seats, and better vision right around than ever before. It’s also better equipped, better finished, has more fuel-efficient engines, and is quieter too.

The Subaru Forester is available with four different engines, three petrols and one diesel and in model grades that mirror the Impreza and XV. Private Fleet sampled a Subaru Forester 2.5i-S.
Powered by a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine, the range-topping (for this engine) Forester 2.5i-S with CVT (petrol-powered Forester’s are only available with a CVT, the diesel gets a manual), produces 126kW at 5800rpm and 235Nm of torque at 4100rpm. Fuel consumption is an official 8.1L/100km.

While we’re not normally fans of CVT, Subaru’s engineers have worked wonders with the one fitted to the new Forester. With a wide ratio spread it’s both quick and smooth and you get none of the ‘shift-shock’ associated with regular automatic transmissions. And it works beautifully with the engine, ensuring you’re never left wanting grunt for overtaking.

Climb inside and the new cabin looks stunning, instant proof of how hard Subaru’s designers have worked on the inside of the vehicle. There are soft touch, high-quality plastics all around.

Dominated by the three dials controlling the HVAC (ah la Impreza and XV) and the big touch-screen multi-media display just above it, the Subaru Forester is a more premium offering than its predecessor.
And it’s incredibly well equipped, with heated front leather seats, an huge electric sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity with audio streaming, EyeSight (Subaru’s anti-collision system), sat-nav, and much, much more.

But, as nice as the new cabin looks and feels, it’s the amount of room for front and back seat passengers that really impresses. The A-pillar has been pushed forward by 200mm, improving vision and creating a lighter and airier feeling cabin. The Forester’s longer wheelbase (by 25mm) means rear seat room rivals that of a limousine.

The release of the 2013 Subaru Forester sees the debut of Subaru’s X Mode and the addition of EyeSight, which is standard on the 2.5i-S that Private Fleet tested. Designed to ensure maximum traction and control on steep hills (up and down), or muddy roads and the like, X Mode is activated (it’s only available on auto-equipped models) via a button ahead of the gear selector. Once engaged, at up to 40km/h or less, key systems, like the Engine Control Unit (ECU), Traction Control Unit (TCU), Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), and Hill Descent Control (HDC) are tweaked to provide drivability in low-grip situations.
Hill Descent Control works at up to 20km/h or less, and can be adjusted up or down in 5km/h increments via a press of either the throttle pedal or the brakes. Designed so that the driver only has to worry about steering, it’s one of the quietest and cleverest systems on the market.

Subaru’s EyeSight system first appeared in Australia on the Outback, and now it’s available on selected models of Forester (standard fitment on 2.5i-S, and a cost-option on 2.5i-L). Via two cameras mounted on either side of the centre-mounted rear-vision mirror, EyeSight is able to, thanks to 3D image processing, recognise cars, pedestrians, motorcycles, and cyclists.

The new Forester sees Subaru deliver a more premium looking, feeling and driving product that sees it step ahead of the pack.

New Subaru Foresters are stylish, offer many features and are able to tackle light off-roading duties in their stride.

Sporty lines and sporty detailing have made the Subaru Forester both appealing and fun to drive. Under the hood are a range of engines – the latest additions being an efficient 2.0-litre diesel that can return an average fuel economy figure of the low sixes/100 km, and a 193 kW petrol powerhouse. The Forester is a great car for the small family. There’s plenty of room for passengers and luggage, so the getaway for the weekend adventure beckons all-the-more frequently.

Six airbags and an ANCAP safety result of five stars is part of every Forester’s standard features. Modern detailing in the cabin, plenty of luxury items, comfy seats, a refined drive – what more could you want?

Sleek lines, peppy performance and the quality that Subaru is noted for ensures that potential buyers will not be disappointed. All this tradition has been moved forward into one of Subaru’s hottest selling vehicles: the Subaru Forester.

Subaru have made some very appealing exterior designs over the years and with the 2011 Forester, they have got the chunky design just right. The chunkiness gives the Forester an impression that the car is strong, fluent and powerful. Rounded edges are tasteful, and the headlight and taillight design looks very good. Hot looking alloys and lots of silver trim make the exterior utterly gorgeous.

Subaru have one of the most stylish interiors around, too, with plenty of options like a 6-disc in dash CD changer with MP3.WMA player which is attached to a 7-speaker audio system with subwoofer, Sirius Satellite capabilities, dual-stage heated front seats, panoramic sliding glass moon-roof, leather trimmed upholstery and an optional 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat. The Forester also comes with power mirrors, electronically controlled cruise control and lots of storage throughout the vehicle. Reviewing the interior, and you’ll see that the dashboard is classic Subaru and tastefully refined. The Forester has been equipped with the same dash layout as the Impreza. So if you’re going from the bachelor-boy coupe to the family-man Forester SUV, you won’t notice the difference – well, not much anyway! The 2011 Subaru Forester offers extra cabin space for all five seats. If you’re doing carpool duty for the rugby team, even the lankiest locks will be comfy in the back seat. Each Forester comes in a variety of different alternative packages: the Forester X, the XS, the XS Premium, the XT, the XT Premium, 2.0D and S-Edition.

The Subaru Forester’s grippy handling comes from the Subaru tradition. The all-wheel-drive system that transfers power where needed to supply the best traction. It’s all automatic and on-guard all of the time.

Safety is top priority for the Subaru Forester with their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, anti-lock brakes with Brake Force Distribution, daytime running lights, dual stage driver and passenger front and side airbags and much more. Their enviable five star crash test rating is exemplary.

From the powerhouse perspective, the basic difference between these models is that the X, the XS and the XS Premium are fitted with a 2.5 litre SOHC powerhouse (126 kW of power at 6000, 229 Nm of torque at 4400 rpm), while the XT and XT Premiums carry a DOHC turbo boxer unit that pumps out 169 kW of power at 5200 rpm and a very respectable 320 Nm of twist at a low 2800 rpm. A new 2.0D version is available. And what a gem this is. I rate this as the best model – but that’s just my taste kicking in. There is also the quickest version by far: and that is the S-Edition model. The Subaru Forester S-Edition boasts power rated to 193 kW and a torque figure maxing out at 347 Nm. All Forester engines make for very nippy acceleration. In turbo form, however, this SUV can really move it! You also have the choice of either a manual gearbox or 4-speed automatic – depending on your driving tastes.

Premium build quality, reliability and performance make the Subaru Forester a roomy contender for the SUV bracket. Give the Subaru Forester a test ride today and see for yourself why a Subaru is the right vehicle for you.

Current model series include:

  • Subaru Forester X
  • Subaru Forester XS
  • Subaru Forester XS Premium
  • Subaru Forester 2.0 Litre Diesel
  • Subaru Forester 2.0 Litre Diesel Premium
  • Subaru Forester XT (169 kW)
  • Subaru Forester XT Premium (169 kW)
  • Subaru Forester S-Edition (193 kW)

For any more information on the Subaru Forester, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of Subaru dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!

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