Forester 2.0i XT CVT
its smarter all-new
SUV still sports its all
symmetrical all-wheel drive and the
easy-to-live-with practicality thats
made it one of Subarus
The biggest difference is that this
latest Forester comes with an all-new
237bhp turboed engine...
FIRST, THAT NEW 237bhp powerplant. Naturally it's a flat-four 'boxer'
the horizontally-opposed format that is part and parcel of Subaru's engineering
And this particular all-aluminium, petrol-drinking, 2.0-litre flat-four serves
up a 237bhp and 258lb ft main course that will satisfy most appetites. In use,
you'd never know the engine is a horizontally-opposed four-pot as its aural
signature is well masked by a strong garnish of refinement. Revenge may well
be a dish best served cold, but the Forester's tasty 237bhp is a dish best served
hot good then, because this engine likes, and responds to, being
torque is on hand between 2,400 and 3,600rpm and the Lineartronic CVT ensures
'quick off the line' acceleration and easy pick-up whatever your road speed,
and makes town driving a totally stress-free experience. Paddle-shifters on
the multifunction leather-rimmed wheel allow you to flick manually between six
pre-set ratios to instantly call up extra urge or engine braking whenever it's
Revenge may well be
a dish best served cold,
but the Foresters
tasty 237bhp is a dish
best served hot
because this engine
likes, and responds to,
being worked hard...
many cars manage to meet, let alone get anywhere near to, their EU mpg figures.
But this new Forester does: a week's fairly hard driving on a real-life mix
of roads and in wet and dry conditions saw an average of 32.4mpg
impressively close to the official 33.2mpg combined cycle figure. Factor in
the very respectable performance and full-time four-wheel drive, and you really
If fuel economy is a big issue, then you can choose from two other boxer engines:
a less powerful naturally-aspirated 2.0i petrol unit outputting 147bhp with
40.9mpg and which costs from £25,496; or a 144bhp 2.0D turbodiesel that should
deliver 49.6mpg, priced from £24,995.
The top-of-the-range 137mph XT only comes with Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic
gearbox with paddle-shifters. No manual transmission is offered but you do get
SI-Drive short for Subaru Intelligent Drive, it lets you
select different driving modes to match the road conditions. Its three settings
are Intelligent, for normal throttle and transmission responses best suited
for everyday traffic (the school run, the daily office commute, etc). Sport
mode enlivens throttle response and offers six driver-selectable pre-set ratios
selected via the selector lever or the paddle-shifters.
Sport Sharp goes one better by 'sportifying' engine response and making the
CVT act as though it really is a sharp-shifting eight-speed auto. Downshifts
made in Sport Sharp are immediate — slam the pedal to the metal and the 'box
drops as many gears as necessary to fire you forward as fast as possible.
on the Forester's long-established all-weather appeal is Subaru's quick-thinking
full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
normal road conditions it apportions drive in a default 60:40, with the rear
pair of wheels taking the 60 percent. The torque-split, of course, varies according
to changing road conditions the moment any slip is detected the
centre differential's viscous-coupling distributes torque to the axle with the
The new Forester has
lines for some
those without the
emotional need to drive a
status-badged SUV or
crossover will appreciate
the subtle yet
Lineartronic CVT also features X-Mode; this further boosts the Forester's all-terrain
ability for when you want to tackle ice and snow on-road as well as for more
demanding off-road conditions.
works in concert with the Forester's electronically managed all-wheel drive
to enhance all-terrain capability in slippery road conditions as well as to
provide more control off-road along with modifying the throttle
mapping, selecting appropriate lower gear ratios, and running a stability-control
program that optimises traction, it also calls up the hill descent control feature.
engine and all-wheel traction aside, how does the new Forester look? Actually,
pretty good especially when finished in the Satin White Pearl
paint of our test car. The new model has traded-in some of the previous-gen's
boxy lines for some softer curves. Those without the emotional need to drive
a status-badged SUV or crossover will appreciate the subtle yet characterful
the high (220mm) ground clearance, entry and exit for both kids and their parents
is easy. Inside the five-door, five-seater Forester it's all extra space, light
and generous proportions. Best of all, from a driver's point of view, is the
commanding driving position that makes best use of the first-rate visibility,
helped by the deep glasshouse and in particular by the
slim A-pillars framing the large windscreen, as well as the good-sized third
side rear windows.
And, although the new Forester may be a tad wider than the superseded model,
it's a no-brainer to thread it along winding country roads or through town traffic.
The front seats are big but you don't slide about thanks to good bolstering,
especially on the seatbacks. Sitting in the every-which-way powered driver's
seat, you can easily see over the sculpted bonnet to both front wing-top corners
placing the Forester accurately on the road is easy.
switchgear and analogue dials are all clear, well marked and sited for easy
use; the handbrake is a traditional item which will please most drivers; and
the multifunction wheel offers control of the SI-Drive, audio, phone, cruise
control, and driver's info (a lot of information is available including tyre
pressure monitoring, range, mpg, etc). The paddle-shifters are mounted on the
horizontal spokes for the best usability.
Travelling by Forester
is a comfortable
body rigidity and
have resulted in a
ride, further improved by
the supportive seats.
rate blacktop is barely
Forester's interior packaging has been very well thought-out. Along with masses
of passenger space in all directions, you'll find plenty of storage space for
personal items: bottle-holding door pockets; cupholders, large open bins and
trays on the centre tunnel; a deep box under the sliding armrest between the
front seats; and an overhead glasses case. A nice touch are the sun visors that
extend inwards to cover the normally missed 'dazzle spot' around the rear-view
seat passenger can really party, even six-footers; there's plenty of leg and
knee room and plenty of room for size nines (and bigger). A wide, drop-down
comfy centre armrest with cupholders is also provided. And the cabin is quiet
at speed. A decent backrest angle also ensures lounging is on the menu. Two
adults will be in clover; even three will be happy sitting side-by-side.
All Foresters come fitted with power windows, power-operated and heated door
mirrors, multifunction driver's display, HiFi and CD player, Bluetooth, USB
and Aux-in jacks, tilt-adjustable telescopic steering wheel, front and rear
fogs, pop-up headlamp washers, roof spoiler, stability and vehicle dynamics
control system, Hill Start Assist, and Trailer Stability Control along with
a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, a full set of airbags (front, front-side,
knee, and curtain) plus a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
The top of the range XT adds leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable
driver's chair, two-stage heated front seats, cruise control, rear-view camera
system, powered full-length tilt-and-slide sunroof with electric sunblind and
one-shot operation, automatic dual-zone AirCon, SatNav, Start-Stop button, keyless
entry and locking, leather multifunction steering wheel, heated and power-folding
door mirrors, privacy glass, three-mode SI-Drive, powered tailgate, aluminium
pedals and footrest, auto lights and wipes, windscreen wiper de-icer, roof rails,
and 18-inch alloys.
before fashion has always been one of the Forester's strongest points, and something
that has endeared it to its loyal customers. And the new model's increased cargo
carrying capacity is more than practical a 505-litre boot should
satisfy most people's luggage needs; dropping the 60:40-split one-touch folding
rear seats expands the already spacious boot to a 1,592-litre loadbay with a
flat cargo floor.
via the mid-thigh load sill is good, and made much easier by a powered (open
and close) tailgate a 'first in class' feature. There's also some
extra oddments space under the boot floor around the 'tyre repair' kit. And
a tailored tray to hold the removable luggage blind when it's not being used.
Over-egg it and youll
find yourself in a
safe zone of understeer;
in fact youd happily
let your mother drive this
new Forester hard!
by Forester is a comfortable and agreeable experience. Improved body rigidity
along with upgrades to the fully independent suspension have resulted in a noticeably
compliant ride, further improved by the supportive seats. Pothole-infected second-rate
blacktop is barely noticed inside the cabin a much appreciated
quality on today's jarring, poorly-maintained roads.
is equally competent. The Forester is sure-footed and composed over all surfaces
and in all weather conditions, thanks principally to the unrelenting grip provided
by the permanent all-wheel drive; corners are cut through athletically, with
good body control. Over-egg it and you'll find yourself in a safe zone of understeer;
you'd happily let your mother drive this new Forester hard!
Adding to the enjoyable driveability mix are the responsive electric power-assisted
rack-and-pinion steering and hefty ventilated disc brakes at each corner that
deliver nicely controlled stopping power.
So what do you get for your money? A comfortable-riding family vehicle with
punch aplenty that will take your tribe camping in the wilds as effortlessly
as it will get them to school on time. Add to that its tried-and-tested all-weather
capability, practicality, decent fuel economy, and towing ability (fit its removable
tow-bar and it will pull a braked 2,000kg) and it's as plain as the nose on
your face that this fourth-gen player will convert even more drivers to the
Subaru Forester 2.0i XT CVT
Maximum speed: 137mph | 0-62mph: 7.5 seconds | Test Average: 32.4mpg
Power: 237bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2 197g/km