Cape Town - Subaru is best known for its days as WRC (World Rally Championship) champions in the 1990’s.
And those that followed the Japanese company’s progression over the years will know that its arsenal expanded from producing only cars to also building SUVs and MPVs.
Case in point, this Subaru Forester.
It’s one of the company’s best-selling vehicles in South Africa and a proven stalwart for the automaker in difficult and trying economic times.
Here are four things you should know about the Forester:
1 WRX engine
The Forester’s engine is the same unit that’s being used in the WRX. Only in the SUV the 2.0-litre engine has been de-tuned to deliver 77kW/350Nm. The petrol motor is relatively eager to get going, but had it been powered by the same power figures as the WRX (197kW/350Nm), the vehicle would have felt a lot livelier.
But nevertheless, the Forester is not made for outright performance. Instead it’s focused on being a commuter and family carrier. In that regard the high-performance nature of the 197kW version makes way for an engine that will experience a lot less strain when pushing on. It’s a case of give and take.
The engine is a bit heavy on fuel and despite driving in a calm manner, you’d be pushing it to get 500km from a full tank.
2 CVT can be ok
Not many people are fans of CVT gearboxes, but for some reason Japanese automakers are persisting with this technology. CVTs are known to be sluggish and over-eager to rev deep into the rev range when you plant the accelerator. The Forester’s gearbox however, is not unbearable and the car will flow through its “gears” provided you don’t expect too much from it.
Gears can be changed manually, but it’s best to leave the ‘box to its own devices. A six-speed manual would perhaps have been a better fit, but at least you won’t become too frustrated too quickly when driving around.
3 Space for days
The Forester is quite a big vehicle, which results in occupants having more than enough space to move freely. With a roof that’s 1735mm high and a width of 1795mm, the vehicle is one of the biggest in its class. Comparatively, the boot may not be as big as was expected, but the 488 litres can be expanded to 1557 litres when the second row of seats have been folded flat. But with a total length of over 4.5m, at least there is more than enough legroom.
4 That ground clearance
An aspect Subaru really has the world of experience on is off-roading. Boasting a ground clearance of 220mm, the Forester can tackle any undulated road. Coupled to the Japanese company’s proven all-wheel system, the vehicle can transcend gravel and sand. It has enough firepower to give the driver a good dose of off-road confidence.Image: QuickPic