We drove the Subaru Forester 2.0i: your companion in the woods of life…

The truth is now known to us all: to save our planet we need a lot more trees. We would add, we also need a good car to go with it: and this could very well be the clever and superbly built Subaru Forester…

It is a car which continues to surprise and amaze us. The engineering is top notch, it performs like a dream, has terrific 4WD, gets you wherever you want to go, in all seasons, in all circumstances and weather conditions, is indestructible and getting ever more frugal too.

We drove it for you, and here are our findings…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

This new Forester is stylish. Its latest shape is definitely still is unmistakably Subaru, somewhat conservative, but the proportions and contours are good, and in the silver grey livery, our test car looked the part. Stepping into the car and sliding behind the wheel, one is impressed by the gleaming round dials and the luxurious quality of the instrumentation.

Of course, all the necessary infotainment and info screens are at hand, the three spoked steering wheel houses all the necessary knobs and levers to let you command all the functions without lifting one finger from the wheel. The central touch screen leads you with excellent and easy to use navigation, and the panoramic rear and clever side view – dubbed Side View Monitor – gives you the extra eyes you need for save manoeuvring and parking.

Besides all this pleasant ease in interacting with this thoroughbred machine, you are spoiled and pampered by the excellent seats and the suave touch of the quality materials in the cabin. Indeed, this Subaru is a pleasant home for you, for years to come.

Of course, responsible safety is first. Words of praise are simply not enough for the EyeSight vision aid, which will effectively give you an extra pair of eyes when cruising with poor visibility and which also commands and guides the ultra smooth and progressive adaptive cruise control.

Pushing the starting knob will bring the thoroughbred 4 cylinder boxer to life. Thoroughbred we say here, and we mean it. We have always been a keen admirer of boxer engines, as we started our motoring life as a proud (student) owner of a 30 hp 1,2 liter boxer engined Beetle.

Of course, the Subaru Boxer puts the Porsche designed VW boxer totally in the shadow, and also the Porsche 4 cylinder boxers too, for that matter, no matter how much we (still) admire the Porsche designed engines. Could the original VW and Porsche boxers from the sixties hardly rev more than 5500 rpm, the Subaru engine is in a totally different league here. It redlines at 6500 rpm, and develops a healthy 150 HP at 6200 rpm. The four cylinder Porsche Carrera from the early sixties cannot even match this, even with its Köningswellen-driven overhead camshafts and roller bearing Hirth crankshaft. So there you are, a dream machine which sets a connoisseurs’ heart racing. It is very docile, has great elasticity and is even at very low revs silky smooth, due also to its boxer engine architecture.

The CVT transmission is in its response very well matched to the engine’s characteristics, as maximum torque of 198 Nm is situated at a rather high 4200 rpm. Depending on the throttle opening and driving style (cornering and braking) the Lineartronic CVT transmission will react by selecting the ideal ratio(s). For those who want to have a manual control with fixed ratios, the CVT has this also in store for you, as soon as you touch both gearshift paddles on the steering wheel column. Of course you have the choice between different driving modes with the Subaru Intelligent Drive system: Intelligent and Sport…

All this translates into average performance for this 1537 kg Forester. 0 to 100 is reached in 11,8 seconds. It is rather more the constant availability of power which impresses most, the CVT transmission working hard to make good use of every horsepower available…

It pays to adopt a more restrained driving style, and with the CVT transmission choosing low revs wherever possible, it is quite possible to let consumption hover between 7 and 8 liters.

Handling is another asset of this Forester. It will not protest when you take it in a spirited manner over winding roads with its Vehicle Dynamics Control, and it is especially the off road and slippery conditions which are a boon for this Subaru with its permanent 4WD. A few electronic driving aids keep also the somewhat less experienced driver in command of every thinkable situation, as the Forester comes with X-Mode and Hill Descent Control and also sports Hill Start Assist.

Practical

The Subaru offers plenty of luggage and passenger space, and as said, in the premium equipment version, it has every bout of luxury you could wish for. What to say of heated front and rear seats, and a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

But there is more, like an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Infotainment in every form is also at your disposal: Siri Eyes Free, Command Speech & One Shot, Starlink Infotainment, DAB+ radio…

Conclusion

This is the car for all those outdoor lovers and city dwellers who want a sturdy, dependable four wheel companion on every road they take in their lives. It is capable, offers plenty of comfort, is mechanically refined and frugal if you want it to. It will work hard for you, pulling loads up to 2.000 kg on every terrain, and you might be the star for your neighbours in winter, as your Subaru will always be able to drag them out of the woods or their front door parking place when they are snowed in…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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