Lifestyle

New Subaru Forester impresses on road test

Subaru's new Forester is at home on the dirt.
Subaru's new Forester is at home on the dirt.

IMPROVED interior space and off-road ability are the headline acts for Subaru's new Forester.

Pre-production cars were unveiled in Canberra this week ahead of the popular SUV's showroom launch next month.

Featuring a more muscular look where no exterior panel is the same as its predecessor, Subaru is arming the Forester with normally aspirated 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol, turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel engines.

The 2013 Forester enters the fray in a vastly different market from when the nameplate was launched 15 years ago. SUVs are currently taking the market by storm. It's the fastest growing segment at the expense of passenger vehicles, with diesel power and two-wheel drive versions gaining favour rapidly.

Subaru's smaller XV has enjoyed amazing sales success over the past year. And there's a hint of the popular compact SUV in the Forester's styling.

Pricing will be announced closer to launch next year, but given the competitive SUV genre Subaru could undercut its current base-model price of $30,990, while the diesel may stay the same at $36,490.

Comfort

Feeling airy and spacious, Subaru has done wonders by moving the A-pillar forward 200mm and making full use of the 25mm longer wheelbase.

Those in the back will particularly appreciate the smaller transmission floor tunnel and greater elbow and shoulder room. The front seat backs are also concaved for additional knee room.

Improvements have been made in noise, vibration and harshness levels, although there was some wind intrusion in the driver's door on the models we sampled.

The seats are good to sit in over long journeys with solid support particular for the upper body.

On the road

The manual-only diesel and the 2.5-litre petrol (only available with a continuously variable automatic transmission) were available to test this week, but the latter is expected to be the volume seller.

Quiet and spritely, the petrol is a refined unit which can handle both city and country travel.

Particularly impressive is the new

X-Mode functionality for off-roading. It can be engaged at under 40kmh and makes easy work of slippery surfaces, controlling the differential rotation between the front and rear wheels - sending power to where you need it most.

We tackled a 25% gradient, up and down, where the Forester climbed and descended with ease.

The Forester has always handled dirt roads well and this latest iteration has again raised the bar. It irons out the pot holes well and feels surefooted.

What do you get?

Standard gear includes a CD stereo with MP3 compatibility and a USB connection, auto stop/start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, climate controlled air-con and cruise control.

The range-topper gets an automatic tailgate, EyeSight safety functionality, sat nav, Xenon headlights, leather trim and a smart key with push button start.

EyeSight is an impressive safety addition to the Forester, and uses technology such as radar cruise control and lane departure warning. It can also apply the brakes automatically if a collision is detected.

Other options

Key rivals with all-wheel drive include soon to be overhauled Toyota RAV4 (from $31,990), Nissan X-Trail (from $32,690), Mazda CX-5 (from $32,300), Mitsubishi's new Outlander (from $33,990) and the Suzuki Grand Vitara Urban (from $26,990 drive-away).

Running costs

Larger tyres are used on the new Forester for lower rolling resistance and it's also more aerodynamic. All models have good fuel consumption (the 2.0-litre engine is over 20% more efficient), but the diesel is the pick of the bunch for frugality.

Subaru has also consistently been rated as one of the best in terms of after sales experience.

Practicality

Thankfully the child seat anchorage points are now in the seatbacks, rather than the boot roofline, which improves load flexibility and visibility.

The boot space is good, although probably slightly impeded in depth by the full-size spare - which has become a rarity nowadays.

Funky factor

While the silhouette is still very much Forester, sheet metal changes provide a grown-up look. It's come a long way in 15 years.

The alterations deliver a muscular stance, giving it a sportier appeal especially with the new alloys.

 

The lowdown

Forester is better equipped to face a challenging genre.

It possesses the ability to tackle some difficult terrain, which is a good option for those who want to head off mountain biking, kayaking, hiking or just want to tackle the semi-beaten track.

Subaru is desperately trying to lobby for an automatic transmission in its diesel, and it's a vital addition to meet the Aussie obsession with self-shifters.

 

What matters most

The good stuff: Spacious cabin feel, off-road ability, child seat anchorage points finally in the seat backs, full-size spare.

What we'd like to seeLess interior hard plastics, automatic transmission option for the diesel.

Warranty: Three year unlimited kilometres. Servicing will be every 12,500km or six months.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Subaru Forester.

Details: Five-door medium-size all-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol generating maximum power of 110kW @ 6200rpm and peak torque of 198Nm @ 4200rpm; 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol generating maximum power of 126kW @ 5800rpm and peak torque of 235Nm @ 4100rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual (2.0 only) or continuously variable automatic (2.5-litre only).

Consumption: 7.2 litres/100km (combined average); 8.1L/100km.

CO2: 168g/km; 187g/km.

Towing capacity: 1500kg; tow ball maximum 150kg.

Engine: 2.0-litre common rail diesel generating maximum power of 108kW @ 3600rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 1600-2400rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual.

Consumption: 5.9 litres/100km (combined average).

CO2: 156g/km.

Towing capacity: 1800kg; tow ball maximum 180kg.

Topics:  cars, forester, future models, subaru


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

New councillors ready to start work

NEWCOMERS will be assigned their roles within council this Thursday

Sailors defend title in China

Maryborough Easter Sailing Regatta - 125's Swish and Oddly Enough. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

A team of sailors from the Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club left for China

Green Army to head to Kin Kin

GREEN ARMY: The Green Army participant Michael Helerdine maintaining the trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail

Six Mile and Kin Kin catchments are about to face a green invasion

Latest deals and offers

Playford reviewing system to stem council complaints

Retired mayor Noel Playford is to form a local government review panel to ensure complaints against serving councillors are handled in a transparent manner.

New councillors ready to start work

NEWCOMERS will be assigned their roles within council this Thursday

Sailors defend title in China

Maryborough Easter Sailing Regatta - 125's Swish and Oddly Enough. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

A team of sailors from the Noosa Yacht & Rowing Club left for China

Green Army to head to Kin Kin

GREEN ARMY: The Green Army participant Michael Helerdine maintaining the trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail

Six Mile and Kin Kin catchments are about to face a green invasion

Flood map reveals Noosa’s future

The coastal flood mapping for Noosa Heads.

Noosa flood maps from climate change revealed

Noosa Council set to fly rainbow flag

Event organiser Robin Bristow with Noosa Shire Councillor Frank Wilkie. Photo Sophie Meixner / Buderim Chronicle

Noosa will be flying the rainbow flag for equal rights.

Lake Kawana welcomes world to outrigging event

OUTRIGGING: National Sprints and Va'a World Sprints Qualifiers, Lake Kawana. February 7, 2016. Open womens OC6 finals. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily

Lake Kawana will host the Va’a World Sprint Championships

Spectacular Crash as Corvette Flips at Drag Races

Corvette flips at 350kmh.

Driver walks away from 350kmh crash in Texas.

Star Wars: Force Awakens told in Emojis

Disney has released an emoji version of The Force Awakens.

To commemorate Star Wars Day, Disney releases emoji version of film on a smart...

NYPD join dance challenge

New York Police respond to NZ dance challenge.

New York's finest accept Kiwi dance challenge.

Jail for real estate boss

Noosaville real estate agent boss will spend 14 months in jail

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog