The Subaru Forester is something of a shape shifter which started out life as a crossover estate in 1997. Fast forward to 2013 and the latest fourth generation has transformed into a crossover SUV. Four trim levels are available and three 4-cylinder boxer engines range from a 2.0 litre petrol, 2.0 litre turbo-charged petrol and 2.0 litre diesel. Prices start from around £24k for the entry level 2.0 diesel X and up to £30k for the range topping, turbo-charged, 2.0 litre XT petrol. Compared to the 3rd generation the 4th is now wider and longer by as much as makes little difference.
That minor increase from 3rd to 4th gen does benefit interior space which is abundant, the tall windows and panoramic sunroof make the cabin space feel light and airy. The whole interior feels solidly put together but isn’t the last word for those seeking a premium workhorse. It isn’t exactly cutting edge exterior design either, the ”chunky chip” dimensions are well proportioned but understated, its a case of a plain chip with no salt&pepper or HP Tomato Sauce. The 60/40 split rear seats extend the standard boot space from 505 litre’s up to 1,592 litre’s.
The Forester range comes equipped with AWD, Self-Leveling rear suspension, Stop/Start with some specs featuring ‘X-Mode’ which works with the Hill Descent Control system to basically control the brakes/engine/transmission on steep inclines. The 2.0 XE petrol on test came fitted with a CVT gearbox, these units are lighter than traditional manuals or automatics and benefits fuel economy. Traditionally CVT’s struggle at low revs requiring excessive amounts of rpm to gain modest straightline speeds which all but cancels out any gains in efficiency, in truth they are compromised. That said I was getting nearly 40mpg out of the Forester. Perhaps for the first time I didn’t have an issue with the CVT box either, it performed its shifting duties adequately well. But give me an auto or manual any day.
The suspension has been beefed up for better handling however the Forester feels docile and prefers to waddle through corners, the ride comfort is at least …comfortable. A generous equipment list includes climate control, cruise control, USB, auxiliary/Bluetooth connectivity, and heated mirrors. Sat-nav is only standard fit on XE Premium. The 5 year 100,000, anti-corrosion warranty ensures peace of mind for private buyers, overall the Forester is a capable 4×4 all rounder that doesn’t set the world on fire.