The Subaru Forester is arguably the original crossover. It boasts solid build quality and four-wheel-drive as standard but lacks the interior and exterior flair of more main stream rivals.
The Subaru Forester comes with a choice of one petrol engine and two diesel options with varying all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrains. The petrol option is a 2.0i XE four cylinder engine with 150bhp mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The two diesel options consist of the same 2.0 DX or XC engine with 147bhp mated to a choice of a 6-speed Lineartronic manual or the 6MT 7-speed CVT automatic transmission. All models are AWD but the DX and XC diesels come with differing systems. Those looking for the most performance from their Forester should choose the more torque fuelled diesel options.
The Forester is fitted with all-wheel-drive as standard and it provides huge amounts of grip on the road. This does not benefit driver enjoyment however and the steering feels pretty lifeless with little feedback. It is a sterling performer off-road however with a suspension setup and ride height that allows it to tackle and conquer pretty much any rough terrain you set it too. The trade-off for this off-road capability however is quite a firm ride in normal road driving environments. Overall it is a good all-rounder.
The Forester is available with a choice of XE (Petrol) and DX & XC (Diesel). Like the rest of the Subaru range, standard equipment on these models is very generous. Specification includes headlamp washers, power folding mirrors, UV protectant glass, heated front seats, Bluetooth, roof rails, 17 inch alloy wheels, electric windows and automatic air-conditioning. There are also some handy off-road touches like cargo and luggage hooks and a retractable cargo cover. Higher spec model include items like an electric sunroof and dual-zone climate control.
With Subaru’s there is no doubting the level of attention and build quality of their products, but there is also no denying that they lack interior flair compared to their rivals. More attention is paid to things like visibility and passenger comfort. While the dashboard may not be as stylish as it competitors, ergonomically it is user-friendly and takes a ‘less is more’ approach like its XV sibling. All of the controls feel robust and solid to the touch leaving you with an interior that may not be the best to look at, but will stand the test of time.
The Forester like its XV rival again, is a very safe family SUV. It scored the maximum five star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing and it comes with a generous level of safety equipment as standard. This includes electronic stability control, vehicle dynamics control system, cruise control, whiplash reducing front seats, front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, ISO-FIX and brake assist system.
The Forester really puts it up to its competitors when it comes to practicality and interior space. Space in the rear is impressive too with enough shoulder room to fit three adults. Leg and headroom is also good. Storage throughout the cabin is also impressive with large door pockets and a decent glovebox. There is also a cubby located under the central armrest. Boot capacity is an impressive 505 litres with rear seats that also fold forward to open up the full cabin. This creates a huge 1592 litres of space beating competitors like the Ford Kuga and Volkswagen Tiguan.