New Subaru Forester

Subaru has a very loyal customer base and this has kept them going over a lean few years.

Subaru has a very loyal customer base and this has kept them going over a lean few years.

It seems of late that they talk less about their great motors sport heritage as Rally Champions and more about cars that are practical and purposeful.

So it is with their range, now really made up of just Crossovers and SUV’s.

The Forester is not new but this car is fully revamped for 2014 and I have been driving the Forester 2.0 XC to see whats on offer.

For a start entry to the range kicks off with the 2.0 X at €34,995.

The new Forester has moved away from the more car-like style of its predecessor to that of a bigger bolder looking SUV. Its taller, wider and longer than the old car.

It will not win any beauty contests but it looks fine with a good street presence.

My test car, the higher grade XC came with a fabulous panoramic glass roof which adds great light to the otherwise dark (all black) interior.

The layout of all the controls and instruments is fine but I could not help but feel that it looked a little lacking in the quality you are getting nowadays even in a mainstreamToyota for example.

Loyal Subaru buyers always bought their cars for their “under the skin” attributes and not designer interiors, but they could do better here!

The specification is very good n the XC tested.

Apart from the aforementioned glass roof, you get, heated seats, dual zone air conditioning, electric seats, Bluetooth with audio streaming, rear parking camera, cruise control, and the usual electric windows and so forth. Its a good package.

On the safety side there is a host of airbags, ABS, stability control, traction control and of course that very good permanent four wheel drive.

The cabin is very roomy with loads of leg and headroom both front and rear, a huge load area and split fold rear seats.

That now famous flat four horizontally opposed “Boxer” engine powers the Subaru Forester.

Its a 147 bhp 2.0 litre turbo diesel and proves quite lively giving the Forester a very respectable 0 to 100km time of 10 seconds.

I found the 6-speed manual gear box to be good and on the economy front it did ok at just 6.2 litres per 100km over my test.

The XC costs €570.00 to tax for a year.

They need to work on those emissions as that is not competitive nowadays.

On the tarmac it proves light and easy to drive.

I did notice a tendency for it to understeer mildly when taking very slow corners in the wet, for example a roundabout.

However apply a little power and the four wheel drive will pull you through the corner very safely. Its the natural tendency of permanent four wheel drive to feel that way.

Its quiet and quite refined too. A brief sortie off-road showed the prowess of the Forester. Its really at home here.

The new Forester will appeal to those more concerned with rugged off road ability, good practicality, and great specification rather than dashing style.

The Forester XC is priced at €38,295.

It is up against some stiff competition in this segment, but if its abilities are what you require its hard to beat!