Sam says it ditched the mom jeans
When I first drove the Subaru Forester in previous years, I thoroughly enjoyed the car. The only thing that bothered me about it was its distinctive station wagon look. In the same way that sedans are slowly but surely losing their appeal, I feel the same way about cars with a station wagon look. To use an analogy, just because you are a mom, does not mean you have to wear mom jeans.
Increases were made to the width, length and wheelbase of the car yet the height is 5mm lower than before. This created a more robust and sturdier stance with more interior space and legroom. The rear section also now includes split rear taillamps with a more pronounced C-shape. Black rear cladding now extends higher than before.
Other changes include improvements to the LED headlamps, a new series of 17 and 18-inch alloy wheel designs a redesigned grille, fog lamps, roof rails and there is a new underguard treatment for added protection during off road excursions. Hence, the Subaru Forester has most definitely ditched its mom jeans.
Moving on to the more important considerations when purchasing a vehicle, the drive of the Forester is sturdy, comfortable and confident, as always. It is responsive and keeps up with traffic and overtakes well.
The car features a new direct-injection 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre Boxer engine that delivers 115 kW of power and 196 Nm of torque. This is delivered through a Lineartronic CVT gearbox. I was impressed with the CVT gearbox as there was much less noise, or at least sound insulation, than what I have experienced with CVT in the past.
To me, when travelling in traffic, long distances and even with the tax vehicles put on the environment, fuel efficiency is something I always watch very closely. I believe a measure of a man’s [car’s] worth is its fuel consumption.
With a mixture of open highway driving and traffic driving, I ended up using 8.6L/100km. Some of the smaller hatches are close and even well above this, so needless to so I was impressed. The claimed figures sit at 7.6L/100km which I believe is achievable, or at least very close to it. Subaru says they have improved their fuel consumption by 13%.
One of my favourite aspects in most Subarus is the focus on safety because it is so forward-thinking and precise. In particular is the EyeSight driver assist safety system. It works like a second pair of eyes for the road ahead, using a pair of stereo cameras to capture colour images with image recognition up to 110m ahead—nearly as capable as the human eye.
It can spot potential danger such as other vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles or motor cycles and warn the driver in due time or even apply emergency braking if need be to prevent a collision or at worst, reduce the damage of a collision.
A first for the Subaru range as a whole, is the automatic mirror tilt-down function on the premium spec model when the driver engages reverse gear. This assists with viewing blind-spots while reversing and parking. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and reverse cameras also complement the view of the vehicle’s rear.
Of particular note was when I tried to connect to Bluetooth. Someone tried to connect my phone to the Bluetooth while I was driving and we were promptly informed that we could not connect a phone while driving. Good on you Subaru.
In general, I enjoyed all the tech in the Subaru Forester even though tech is not necessarily a selling point for me. It all works well and simply makes driving easy. A colleague laughed my observation off until I he got into the car with me. All he said was, “Ok, I get it.”
The rear passengers are not forgotten with their own air vents and USB points.
Should you buy it?
The best news about the Subaru Forester is that there has been a price drop bringing the vehicle down to less than R500 000. Subaru has updated all the important areas making the Forester a great option for buyers in the mid-SUV market. Better looks, first-class safety and a great drive to boot.
A note from Driving Expressions’ Eugene Herbert
“I recall driving a manual version of the older Forester and must admit to preferring that to the new model’s CVT transmission. That aside, the vehicle has great balance – thanks to the ‘boxer’ engine – and quality is also unsurpassed.”
Good to know
Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 115 kW
Torque: 196 Nm
Claimed fuel efficiency: 7.8L/100km
Price: from R429 000
Warranties: Five-year or 150 000km warranty and a three-year/75 000km maintenance plan.
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