It’s long been the default utilitarian runabout but in its latest form the Forester has taken a step upmarket, with improved interior quality, infotainment and on-road ride and handling. Subaru’s trademark off-road ability remains, however – its permanent Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and accompanying X-Mode drive mode make light work of terrain that would trouble most conventional family SUVs.
The Forester is powered by just one engine, a 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder that features Subaru’s latest e-Boxer mild-hybrid tech and powers all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Unlike conventional hybrid systems, the e-Boxer technology helps to compliment the Forester’s engine and gearbox, improving throttle response and torque – especially in off-road situations – while helping to slightly increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. All-electric drive is possible only at very low speeds.
The Forester is an impressively capable and practical SUV, and it’s nicer inside than Subarus of the past, too. The ride and handling are good, and it’s got a tonne of clever safety kit.
Both trim levels in the Forester come with a very decent amount of equipment. The entry level model has fabric upholstery on heated, electrically adjustable front seats, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control and dual-zone air-conditioning.
Safety and reliability are Subaru’s strong suits. The Japanese firm has placed a focus on making its cars some of the very safest on sale in recent years, while expertise gained from decades of producing hard-wearing cars has found its way into the brand’s current line-up