This is the latest update of the fourth generation Forester, which has been a popular mainstay of Subaru’s AWD SUV range since 1997. It has a good reputation for reliability and car-like handling but is no slouch in the dirt. The 2016 facelift includes new-look headlamps, tail-lights and bumpers.
- The Subaru Forester 2.5i-L is a step up from the base model 2.0i-L and comes with a good suite of standard features including a 7-inch touchscreen multi-function display, reversing camera, cruise control, LED daytime running lights and dual-zone air-conditioning.
- It’s goes well. The 2.5-litre petrol boxer engine produces 126Kw through the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. Unlike the 2.0i-L there is no manual option, though there are paddle shifts if you want to be a little more hands on. It has three driving modes; Intelligent (I) and Sport (S) and X-mode, which combines with the AWD system to increase traction control for when you need to drive slowly along slippery surfaces. It also has an automatic hill descent mode to get you down a tricky slope.
- It handles like a sedan and body roll is minimal despite the raised ground clearance and high roof, thanks to the flat boxer engine.
- Road noise is markedly improved over previous models.
- It’s very spacious despite not being very big on the outside. The back seats have ample legroom and you could wear a top hat while driving for all the headroom. The quality of the interior finishes, including the seat fabric, is evident even in the base models.
- The rear cargo area is good size thanks to the boxy shape, though it’s a little shallow to accommodate the full-size spare tyre under the floor.
- It is a little bland compared to other Subaru models and I think they have gone as far as they can go with the styling of this generation. The raised roof makes it look a little comical while other mods seemed to have happened just for change’s sake without necessarily improving the look. That said Subaru would be careful not to tinker too much with anything that ain’t broke.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The small SUV market is in one of the most hotly contested with almost every manufacturer putting out a competitor. In terms of get-out-of-town ruggedness and pricing, its main rivals would be the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail.