The Subaru Forester is a practical all-wheel-drive SUV with a good reputation for reliability. Despite the tall ride it has car-like handling but can negotiate tracks and trails better than most of its competitors. It received a facelift last year that includes new-look headlamps, tail-lights and bumpers.
The entry level Forester 2.0i-L has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and manual gearbox and features a good range of standard features, including a 7-inch touchscreen with reversing camera, dual zone air-conditioning, leather trim steering wheel, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails.
The 2.5i-L has the same standard features but a more powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine with CVT auto. The provision of Subaru’s “X-mode” traction control helps when venturing off-road or driving in slippery conditions.
The 2.0D-L carries the same equipment as the 2.0i-L, but with a 2.0-litre diesel engine instead of a petrol. Transmission choice covers a six-speed manual or CVT auto, though manuals miss out on X-mode tech.
The mid-spec 2.5i-S brings satellite navigation, leather trim, heated and power-adjustable front seats, an electric tailgate, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dusk-sensing LED headlights that swivel into corners and 18-inch alloys. It also comes with Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and active cruise control. It’s powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine with CVT auto.
The 2.0D-S is the diesel version of the 2.5i-S and shares most of its features, however, none of the diesel variants come equipped with EyeSight – an unusual omission.
The Forester XT has a more powerful 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and shares the feature set of the 2.5i-L, including a standard-issue automatic gearbox and X-Mode. Other XT highlights include a power-adjustable driver's seat and the swivelling LED headlamps from the 2.5i-S.
The Forester XT Premium has all the 2.5i-S’s luxury features plus Active Torque Vectoring, which improves drive in corners by directing more power to the outside tyres to improve grip.
- Forester 2.0i-L petrol, manual - $30,340
- Forester 2.5i-L petrol, CVT - $33,240
- Forester 2.0D-L diesel, manual - $33,740
- Forester 2.0D-L diesel, CVT - $35,740
- Forester 2.0D-S diesel, manual - $39,490
- Forester 2.5i-S petrol, CVT - $39,740
- Forester 2.0D-S diesel, CVT - $41,470
- Forester XT petrol, CVT - $41,240
- Forester XT Premium petrol, CVT - $48,240
They’re all pretty good, but the 2.0D-L in CVT auto form is the pick of the range. It’s at home in the city and country and offers good performance with excellent average fuel economy of 6.3L/100km, which means greater range than its petrol counterparts. For a country cruiser, it’s the pick.
If you want more luxury inclusions then you can make a solid argument for the 2.0D-S, though the 2.5i-S is a better choice given its stronger suite of active safety features, not to mention its lower pricetag.
- Reverse sensors - $863.53
- Rear and front corner multi-function parking sensors - $1491.54