Lifestyle

New Subaru Forester impresses on road test

Subaru's new Forester is at home on the dirt.
Subaru's new Forester is at home on the dirt.

IMPROVED interior space and off-road ability are the headline acts for Subaru's new Forester.

Pre-production cars were unveiled in Canberra this week ahead of the popular SUV's showroom launch next month.

Featuring a more muscular look where no exterior panel is the same as its predecessor, Subaru is arming the Forester with normally aspirated 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre petrol, turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel engines.

The 2013 Forester enters the fray in a vastly different market from when the nameplate was launched 15 years ago. SUVs are currently taking the market by storm. It's the fastest growing segment at the expense of passenger vehicles, with diesel power and two-wheel drive versions gaining favour rapidly.

Subaru's smaller XV has enjoyed amazing sales success over the past year. And there's a hint of the popular compact SUV in the Forester's styling.

Pricing will be announced closer to launch next year, but given the competitive SUV genre Subaru could undercut its current base-model price of $30,990, while the diesel may stay the same at $36,490.

Comfort

Feeling airy and spacious, Subaru has done wonders by moving the A-pillar forward 200mm and making full use of the 25mm longer wheelbase.

Those in the back will particularly appreciate the smaller transmission floor tunnel and greater elbow and shoulder room. The front seat backs are also concaved for additional knee room.

Improvements have been made in noise, vibration and harshness levels, although there was some wind intrusion in the driver's door on the models we sampled.

The seats are good to sit in over long journeys with solid support particular for the upper body.

On the road

The manual-only diesel and the 2.5-litre petrol (only available with a continuously variable automatic transmission) were available to test this week, but the latter is expected to be the volume seller.

Quiet and spritely, the petrol is a refined unit which can handle both city and country travel.

Particularly impressive is the new

X-Mode functionality for off-roading. It can be engaged at under 40kmh and makes easy work of slippery surfaces, controlling the differential rotation between the front and rear wheels - sending power to where you need it most.

We tackled a 25% gradient, up and down, where the Forester climbed and descended with ease.

The Forester has always handled dirt roads well and this latest iteration has again raised the bar. It irons out the pot holes well and feels surefooted.

What do you get?

Standard gear includes a CD stereo with MP3 compatibility and a USB connection, auto stop/start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, climate controlled air-con and cruise control.

The range-topper gets an automatic tailgate, EyeSight safety functionality, sat nav, Xenon headlights, leather trim and a smart key with push button start.

EyeSight is an impressive safety addition to the Forester, and uses technology such as radar cruise control and lane departure warning. It can also apply the brakes automatically if a collision is detected.

Other options

Key rivals with all-wheel drive include soon to be overhauled Toyota RAV4 (from $31,990), Nissan X-Trail (from $32,690), Mazda CX-5 (from $32,300), Mitsubishi's new Outlander (from $33,990) and the Suzuki Grand Vitara Urban (from $26,990 drive-away).

Running costs

Larger tyres are used on the new Forester for lower rolling resistance and it's also more aerodynamic. All models have good fuel consumption (the 2.0-litre engine is over 20% more efficient), but the diesel is the pick of the bunch for frugality.

Subaru has also consistently been rated as one of the best in terms of after sales experience.

Practicality

Thankfully the child seat anchorage points are now in the seatbacks, rather than the boot roofline, which improves load flexibility and visibility.

The boot space is good, although probably slightly impeded in depth by the full-size spare - which has become a rarity nowadays.

Funky factor

While the silhouette is still very much Forester, sheet metal changes provide a grown-up look. It's come a long way in 15 years.

The alterations deliver a muscular stance, giving it a sportier appeal especially with the new alloys.

 

The lowdown

Forester is better equipped to face a challenging genre.

It possesses the ability to tackle some difficult terrain, which is a good option for those who want to head off mountain biking, kayaking, hiking or just want to tackle the semi-beaten track.

Subaru is desperately trying to lobby for an automatic transmission in its diesel, and it's a vital addition to meet the Aussie obsession with self-shifters.

 

What matters most

The good stuff: Spacious cabin feel, off-road ability, child seat anchorage points finally in the seat backs, full-size spare.

What we'd like to seeLess interior hard plastics, automatic transmission option for the diesel.

Warranty: Three year unlimited kilometres. Servicing will be every 12,500km or six months.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Subaru Forester.

Details: Five-door medium-size all-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol generating maximum power of 110kW @ 6200rpm and peak torque of 198Nm @ 4200rpm; 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol generating maximum power of 126kW @ 5800rpm and peak torque of 235Nm @ 4100rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual (2.0 only) or continuously variable automatic (2.5-litre only).

Consumption: 7.2 litres/100km (combined average); 8.1L/100km.

CO2: 168g/km; 187g/km.

Towing capacity: 1500kg; tow ball maximum 150kg.

Engine: 2.0-litre common rail diesel generating maximum power of 108kW @ 3600rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 1600-2400rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed manual.

Consumption: 5.9 litres/100km (combined average).

CO2: 156g/km.

Towing capacity: 1800kg; tow ball maximum 180kg.

Topics:  cars forester future models subaru



Tweed teen targets Tokyo

LOADED UP: Rachel Loder after her title win.

Tweed teen wins national boxing title

Aboriginal call for crackdown on climbing Mt Warning

The sacred aboriginal site of Wollumbin/Mt Warning

"The aboriginal community feels a great deal of responsibility"

Gig Guide: What's on around Tweed this weekend

BEST BAND: The Tweed Coast's very own Round Mountain Girls will liven up the stage at Cabarita Beach Sports Club on Saturday from 7pm.

Gig Guide: What's on around Tweed

Local Partners

Students foster bush tucker label

FORMER NRL legend Preston Campbell gives the thumbs up to Banora Point High indigenous students for creating a new bush tucker food label.


Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Cooly sings out for carols

Santa gets ready to skydive into the Coolangatta Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 13. Photo: Scott Powick Daily News

Santa dropping in for Christmas Carols at Coolangatta

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Mel Gibson named Best Director at AACTA Awards

Mel Gibson poses in the media room after winning the AACTA Award for Best Direction for Hacksaw Ridge.

HIS wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge sweeps 6th annual awards in Sydney.

Mark Hamill unaware his co-stars were romantically involved

Hamill too "self-involved" at the time to notice, he said

ABC's Fresh Blood graduates are a Skit Box full of laughs

Sarah Bishop, Greta Lee Jackson and Adele Vuko in a scene from the TV series Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am.

ALL-female comedy trio hitting the mark with new sketch show.

Kim Kardashian West said to be looking for a divorce

Kim Kardashian West is looking to file for divorce from her husband

Horse haven on big acreage in Murwillumbah

55 Glencoe Road, Murwillumbah

Check out this week's feature property.

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!