Forester XS 2.5
The 4th generation Forester still looks like a Forester, just a bit more stylish. It is so uncool that it is cool to those in the know. I love these cars. It’s not about style. It is about substance. A major criticism in the past was the fuel consumption.
The engineers at Fuji have performed wonders. They introduced an auto stop start system, adjusted the gearing, gave us more gears and improved the aerodynamics. The result a much better 8.1 l/100km for the normally aspirated 2.5 petrol XS in mixed driving. Expect less than than 7 l/100km on the open road. If you need a comfortable car with good performance, fair space, a huge boot and the capability to take jeep tracks in its stride, look no further.
The exterior of the new Forester is much less quirky than the previous generations and more mainstream. In fact the car is more mainstream than previously. This is not a bad thing. Its a handsome (but never pretty) beast now, looking more car like and behaving like a car. Of course beneath the fashionable body lurks a bit of a wolf. With the push of a button the rear door/gate opens and closes to make it easy to load luggage or shopping when your hands are full.
The new interior is much better than the model it replaces and is now about on a par with the Germans. It is and feels spacious and well appointed.
It has a premium multi-function display (with reverse camera), six speakers, full connectivity, steering wheel mounted controls, cruise control and 7 airbags. The driver’s seat is power adjustable. The interior trim for the top 3 models is leather, which includes steering wheel, gear knob and handbreak. There are a number of hooks, cup and bottle holders, storage trays and anchors. The boot is 505 litres with the rear seats up and a massive 1564 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Ground clearance is 220mm and it comes packed with X-mode on CVT models in addition to symmetrical AWD. X-Mode centralises control of the engine to make use of the centre differential, rear differential, brakes and traction control to give controlled descents in steep, low-grip terrain. The Forester goes far off the beaten track and performs impeccably on gravel roads and in the rain. The paddle gears just behind the steering wheel work very well.
There is a SI-DRIVE switch which lets you choose a driving mode to suit your driving style and conditions. You can select one of three driving profiles, ranging from gentle (economical) power delivery to a sporty mode with super sharp response. The headlights and wipers are automated.
You can tow a 750kg unbraked trailer. Top speed is 196 km/h and 0 to 100 can be done under 10 seconds. Dynamically this Forester is much better than earlier models. Handling is crisp, steering is accurate and it sits well on the road.
This Forester is a car you will grow to love. Whether you buy it as a SUV or a station wagon it does everything so well and will serve you well. Subaru’s are known for being robust and reliable.
Also look at the VW Tiguan, Audi Q3, Ford Kuga, Honda CRV, Kia Sportage and Renault Duster.
We tested the 2.5XS Premium Lineartronic CVT which costs R429 000. Power is 129kW@ 5800rpm and torque of 235Nm is available from 4100 rpm. The range starts at R329 000 for 2.0X six speed manual. The top model is the hot turbocharged 2.0XT producing 177kW and costing R529 000.
The warranty is for 3 years or 100 000 km and the maintenance plan 3 years or 75 000.