SUBARU FORESTER REVIEW
VEHICLE STYLE: 4WD Wagon
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-diesel boxer four
Outputs: 108kW / 350Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Official fuel efficiency: 6.4 L/100km
On test fuel efficiency: 7.4 L/100km
CO2 emissions: 168g/km
Available in two trim levels, we tested the high-spec Forester 2.0D Premium version.
- Quality: Plastic quality is average, but the cabin is pleasingly rattle-free. Square cupholders however do a poor job of holding cups.
- Comfort: Front leather seats lack support, but are comfortable on short to medium-length drives. Leg and headroom, in both front and rear, is surprisingly good for a relatively compact car.
- Equipment: The Forester 2.0D Premium gets a trip computer, sunroof, cruise control, climate control, power driver's seat, power windows, a six-stacker CD player with auxillary input, 17-inch alloys and xenon headlamps as standard.
- Storage: With the rear seat-back raised, there's 460 litres of luggage space. Seats folded (which can be done via two electric switches in the boot), there's a sizable 1610 litres available.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: Car-like steering and plenty of torque make light work of most urban driving, and all-round visibility is good. The lack of an automatic transmission is a definite shortcoming, but the clutch is light and the shifter is smooth.
An all-wheel-drive SUV with good ground clearance and a proven drivetrain, the Forester is capable of lighter forays off-road. It is best considered however a versatile, safe and sure-footed family wagon.
- Refinement: Noise and vibration from the diesel transmits into the cabin at idle, but isn't too overbearing once underway. Wind noise however can be a little intrusive at highway speeds.
- Suspension: The suspension is set up to be soft and compliant, and it delivers a smooth ride without being too ‘wallowy’. The Forester is very comfortable on most road surfaces, although there is noticeable body-roll when cornering.
- Braking: Pedal feel is quite soft, but the disc brakes have no issue slowing the Forester's 1600-odd kilos.
- ANCAP rating: 5 Stars
- Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, and all seats feature three-point seatbelts. ABS, EBD, stability control and traction control are also standard.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3 year/unlimited km new car warranty.
- Service costs: Service intervals are every six months or 12,500km, with the first two services costing under $250. The first major service is due at 24 months/50,000km and costs just under $500.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Holden Captiva 7 CX diesel - $41,490: Boasting seven seats and an automatic transmission as standard, the Captiva 7 is better value on paper. However, poor interior quality and unrefined mechanicals let it down. (Click for Captiva reviews)
- Peugeot 4007 ST HDi - $41,490: Essentially a diesel-engined Peugeot-faced version of Mitsubishi's Outlander, the 4007 comes with either a six-speed manual or an excellent twin-clutch auto. It also produces more power (115kW) and torque (380Nm) than the Forester. (Click for 4007 reviews)
- Nissan X-Trail TL – $42,990: The most expensive of the Forester's competitors, the X-Trail TL also packs in the most equipment for the money, with sat-nav, a reversing camera, DVD player, power/heated front seats, iPod connectivity and keyless entry/ignition all standard. (Click for X-Trail reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Forester 2.0D Premium may not be the plushest light-duty SUV around, but unlike most of the competition (with on-demand AWD), it has a proper 4WD drivetrain and generous ground clearance.
The absence of an automatic model may be its undoing, but the basic package makes for a competent – and relatively fuel-efficient - family wagon.