Confidence inspiring Subaru Forester

Despite their last wins being over a decade ago Subaru are still known for their numerous wins in the iconic WRC Impreza models. However, the company has always had more appeal than just rallying with models defined by their flat-four boxer engines and all-wheel-drive.

Originally a traditional estate car the Subaru Forester has morphed into a crossover and a very capable one that can tackle surprisingly tough off-road situations. It’s permanent all-wheel-drive offers power to the wheels that have most traction.

It also has additional tricks in its armoury with what Subaru call X-Drive that includes hill descent control and management of everything on the all-wheel-drive so you just steer your way through the off-road terrain. While no Land Rover I know from personal experience this is a very capable machine.

The Forester is available in a very mild hybrid form. Even with this it isn’t the most economical though and rivals will offer better figures. The mild hybrid has a small battery and electric motor which recovers energy under deceleration from braking and coasting, and then deploys it to assist the petrol engine as you accelerate.

Considering its size, it is big, the Forester doesn’t feel unwieldy on the road. With tidy handling it feels light and responsive and has one of the better CVT transmissions. It’s not going to set your driving senses alight but this is a very comfortable, exceptionally practical and well equipped car.

Prices start from £36,335 for the 2.0-litre e-Boxer model and that nets you all-wheel-drive, keyless entry and start, steering lights with high beam assist, the usual function filled sound and Bluetooth features, heated front seats, powered and heated door mirrors, windscreen wiper de-icing, cruise control and satellite navigation to name a few.

There are only two trim levels and the next level up gains leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats and steering wheel. The entry level model arguably looks the better bet on price and equipment. Mechanicals stay the same irrespective of model.

This is one of those cars that just grows on you and inspires confidence on the road. I don’t think there are many cars, as opposed to off-road SUVs, that you would feel able to take on any terrain and conditions the weather can muster. The Forester is more of an intelligent choice, a proper lifestyle vehicle for all conditions.

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