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The first impression

 

Meet a Subaru owner and immediately you notice their love for the brand. Proud, loyal and non-pretentious would be a few words to describe the club. Subaru owners are people who love to drive- ‘fast and the furious’ meets ‘get away junky’. Subaru caters for drivers and a unique set of technological credentials set the brand apart.

Subarus feature unique expensive technology that makes them drive the way they do: They feature Boxer® engines (Porsche like to make these too). They are pricey to make but designed so they sit lower in the engine bay. This gives the car a better centre of gravity. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive™ (this gives the car a greater level of grip and road security). DC³ (Dynamic Control System) technology ensures that the cars chassis is essentially more powerful that the engines output and increases tyre contact with the road, helping absorb bumps and deliver a better ride. This means better drivability, comfort and safety. Ring-shaped Reinforcement Frame™ was designed to give safety in a collision to the vehicle in every direction. The frame is designed to envelope and protects passengers much like a cage protects a bird. This prevents the cabin from deforming from whatever direction the collision occurs, resulting in an extremely safe body. In a collision the Boxer® engine submarines which stops it from entering the cabin.

 

 

The Subaru Forester on review is now in its fourth generation.  Each generation growing in size and growing in innovation for its loyal customer base. In the early days of the Forester they were all-wheel drive station wagons. Today the latest version is more SUV than crossover wagon.

From the outside the Forester features square chiselled lines. There are no convex and concave flares details which are seen on some ‘fashionable’ SUVs. The overall look is simple yet modern. As like the Foresters before, less is more, and as a result they actually age quite well.

Open up the Forester and you notice the wide opening doors and easy loading cabin. There is a large amount of space for both front and rear passengers. Headroom is impressive and the panoramic sunroof adds to the airiness of the cabin. Premium models feature a nifty automated boot function that is activated by the key fob or dash switch.  The layout of the switches is logical, if a tad on the basic side, especially since I was driving the top of the range model. The seating position is raised, giving an imperial view of the road ahead. Seats are all leather, with perforated detailing. The XT model has a sporty character and would have liked seats with greater bolstering.

 

The XT Forester features a gem of an engine, 177kW turbocharged Boxer® unit. This 2.0-litre is delicious. Acceleration is progressive, the rev needle quickly and happily maneuverers its way up and down the rev band and is as comfortable at low as high revs. I put the Boxer® engine to the test, placing a full glass of water on the centre of the engine bay and revved the baby up. Not a drop was spilt. Conclusion, they have mastered the concept of low vibrations, this baby doesn’t relate to Destiny’s Child’s song ‘I don't think you're ready for this jelly’. It’s more in tune with Ashford & Simpson’s song ‘Solid’…as a rock.

 

Let it be known I am not mad about CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearboxes! Subaru creatively call theirs Lineartronic™. Generally speaking CTV’s make cars feel robotic and almost electric. I’m happy to report that Subaru’s CVT in the XT is actually very good. They have masterfully computer programmed the unit to feel almost like a geared gearbox. The CTV is linked to three modes and also affect the throttle (acceleration) response. There is (I) Intelligent, (S) Sport and my favourite (S#) Sport Extra which makes the CVT theoretically increase from a six-speed to an eight.  

 

The facts

Highlights

  • Impressive engine
  • Fun to drive
  • Practical with great accommodation
  • Very capable vehicle on or off road
  • Top marks in the safety department

Lowlights

  • Interior is underwhelming
  • Thirsty
  • Parrot infotainment system is designed to pair with Android based phones only. As a result it’s pretty useless with other smart phones.

 

The figures

 

 

The extra stuff

The Forester comes with a 3 year 75 000km maintenance plan.

 

The verdict

The new Forester has the confidence to go anywhere and explore with a fresh-zest-for-life attitude which prepares the Forester driver for adventure. Hopefully with all that adventure you won’t notice the plain interior. If you are the fashionable type consider the RAV4. If you’re less interested in the ‘fun’ factor of the Forester consider the X-Trail. If high end quality is you’re vibe the Tiguan is for you.

 

Subaru SA website

 

 

 

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