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Subaru Forester 2.5i-S review
- Vital Stats
The Subaru Forester has long been a favourite of adventuresome drivers who like a little luxury while they're roughing it, and the fourth-generation Forester is simply the latest upgrade on an already winning formula.
Style & drive
We were really excited to test drive a Forester, as it has a great reputation as a solid, reliable car with loads of room, flexibility and comfort. All perfect ingredients to keep a young family of four sane on weekend outings and occasional longer road trips.
The Forester is available in 10 different spec levels with both diesel and petrol options, ranging from the 2.0i manual at $30,990 to the 2.0XT Premium auto at $50,490. All models feature All Wheel Drive (AWD). We test-drove the 2.5i-S auto which retails for $43,990 plus on-road costs.
The 2.5i-S comes with a 2.5-litre horizontally-opposed Boxer petrol engine with Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), employs auto start-stop technology as a fuel-saving measure, is equipped Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) and also has X-mode.
X-mode is for drivers who actually take their SUV off the beaten track. Switch it on and the car's traction/stability control, hill descent control and ABS combine to make ascending or descending unpaved roads safer and easier for the driver. For regular city and freeway driving the Forester is responsive and smooth. Parking is easy with the help of the reversing camera. The interior feels very spacious due to the high ceiling and sun roof, both front and rear seats are very comfortable, and the design's functional and attractive.
The 2.5i-S is packed full of great features including Subaru's new EyeSight technology, 18-inch alloy wheels, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a reversing camera, satellite navigation, electric sunroof, keyless entry and keyless start, a six-speaker audio system with MP3/WMA/iPod and USB connectivity, Bluetooth, eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, electric folding rear seats, power tailgate, and dual-zone climate-controlled air-conditioning.
The Forester has a five-star ANCAP rating, and comes with has a total of seven airbags, including dual front airbags, dual side airbags, full-length curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag.
Subaru's EyeSight System uses a number of different safety warning systems including adaptive cruise control, lane departure and lane sway warning, pre-collision braking and brake assist, pre-collision throttle management and electronic throttle control. The car will apply the brakes automatically to avoid a crash at low speed if an object's detected, and will also warn you if the car in front moves off and you aren't paying attention. The object detection system seemed to be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it would go off if we came up on another car too fast, and at other times it wouldn't kick in.
Active safety systems include a Vehicle Dynamics Control system with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA), Hill Start Assist, Traction Control System (TCS) and TCS Limited Slip Device. The Forester has a reverse parking camera, and three child seat anchor points, and also has latch hooks for ISOFIX car seats.
2.0i Manual - $30,990
2.5i Auto - $32,990
2.0i-L Manual - $33,490
2.5i-L Auto - $35,990
2.5i-S Auto - $43,990
2.0D Manual - $35,490
2.0D-L Manual - $37,490
2.0D-S Manual - $43,990
2.0XT Auto - $43,490
2.0XT Premium Auto - $50,490.
Fuel consumption: 8.1L/100km
CO2 emission: 187g/km.
Describe the car in 3 words:
Hardy, practical, adventurous.
What are the best things about this car?
The Forester is a compact SUV that you really can take off road. It's not a pretender.
And the downsides?
The boot isn't all that roomy.
What does it run on?
Yes! If you like to get out of town for the weekend; have a couple of kids, or have lots of gear, the Forester is a great car. It's the ultimate all-rounder.
If personified, who would this car be?
(Review by Georgia Bartlett.)