The Forester has reasonable road manners, but the steering feels a little lifeless...
After first being introduced in 1997 the new fourth generation Subaru Forester went on sale on the 1st May 2013, priced from £24,995.
There is a choice of six trim levels, ‘X’, ‘XC’, ‘XC Premium’ for diesel models and ‘XE’ and ‘XE Premium’ for the 2.0i petrol and for the 2.0 litre DIT there is only one spec, ‘XT’.
At the time of this test there were three engine options – all horizontal opposed boxer units - a 2.0-litre turbo-charged diesel producing 147PS/350Nm, a normally aspirated 2.0-litre 150PS/198Nm petrol available with a manual or Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission and a high performance ‘XT’ 2.0-litre petrol turbo-charged engine producing 240PS/350Nm with Lineartronic transmission.
What we tested
We tested the Subaru Forester 2.0D XC diesel with six-speed manual gearbox finished in Marine Blue Pearl paint finish, which at the time of testing cost £26,995 plus metallic paint.
Driving and Performance
The Forester we were testing was powered by the 2.0-litre (1998cc) turbo-charged diesel boxer engine, which is only available with a six-manual gearbox and four-wheel-drive. The flat boxer engine produces 147 PS at 3,600 rpm, with 350 Nm of torque between 1,600-2,400 rpm - which makes it capable of 0-62 mph in 10.2 seconds with a top speed of 118 mph.
The six-speed manual gearbox is rather mechanical yet precise and inoffensive. It is a far better option than the CVT Lineartronic transmission fitted to the Outback we tested at the same time.
Subaru quote that the 2.0-litre boxer engine with manual transmission that we were testing is capable of 40.4 mpg urban, 57.6 mpg extra urban and a combined figure of 49.6 mpg (NEDC figures) – we were achieving around 35 mpg during school and short shopping runs, rising to 46 mpg touring, which is not too bad. CO2 emissions are recorded at 150 g/km.
The Forester has reasonable road manners, but the steering feels a little lifeless but there is plenty of grip to reassure you and the body roll with its firm ride and low centre of gravity is kept well in check – it handles well.
All models feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system ensuring power is supplied equally to all four-wheels, with manual cars it features a centre differential coupled to viscous LSD where the CVT versions have an active torque split system.
You are not going to be able to venture too far from the beaten track but it will cope well with country lanes and farm tracks. It lacks the low ratio box of the old Forester to go off into the wilds but it will happily transverse farm tracks and compliant fields with some reassurance.
There is 220mm of ground clearance, with an approach angle of 25 degrees and 26 degree departure. The braked towing capacity for the diesel model is 2000kgs and 1800kgs for the petrol models.
In summary the boxer diesel engine is a little gruff at start but it soon settles down when it has warmed up and works well in the Forester – don’t be tempted by the petrol, it is not that great. The handling is very good and you can make good progress on county lanes where the Forester is in its element.