Subaru Forester Review}

Submitted by: Stephen Donald

One of the great things about New Zealand for travellers is the unique ability to be able to drive from sandy beaches to snow-capped ski fields in a matter of hours. This distinctive advantage in our geography lends itself to a nation of sports and scenery mad outdoors people offering the ideal demographic for car manufacturers designing mid-sezed SUVs.

Subaru New Zealand has a proud history of aligning itself with the rough and ready, adventurous Kiwi lifestyle, and the companys latest Forester is receiving great recognition for offering the versatility and features to best complement that outdoor-loving spirit. Just witness the parade of Subaru vehicles on New Zealand roads and you’ll understand that New Zealand has a love affair with this brand.

Baring resemblances to the new Impreza, the Forester doesnt offer the most jaw-dropping of interiors particularly when it comes to the mid spec XS model which showcases unsightly faux wood grain. However, while presenting a distinct SUV appearance, the Forester does look and feels as though it belongs on the gravelled back roads of New Zealand. Sound and simple, theres little to distract from driving with its well designed and comfortable lay out, making it an ideal choice for fleet purchasers looking for an all-road vehicle at a reasonable price.

The basic essentials include fog lamps, a tilt/telescopic steering column, ISOFIX child restraints, six-airbags (front, side and curtain), stability control (VDC), roof rails and a hill hold and dual range transmission with the five-speed manual.

Alloy wheels are now standard on all Forester models, and there are also the added creature comforts of a MP3 compatible CD player with auxiliary jack and cruise/audio controls on the leather bound steering wheel.

Progressing through the range, the XS offers climate control, a seven speaker, six stack CD player, metallic door handles and privacy glass, while the XS ltd also offers leather upholstery, electric seat adjustment and sunroof. The sportier XT features larger wheels and turbo power plant to the XS specification… and is minus the undesirable wood grain.

And adventurers and campers wont be disappointed when it comes to space. Whether you need to take your snowboard, camping gear, surfboard or the kids cycles with you on the road, the Forester offers a whopping 450 litres of luggage capacity which quickly converts to 1660 litres with the 60/40 seats folded.

If youre on the road or off it, the Forester feels steady and hugs the road nicely, with constant all wheel drive and the boxer engine’s low centre of gravity. Its certainly not top-heavy despite appearances, but while pulling power is adequate, it has to be said that the performance, refinement and economy is flawed by the somewhat outdated four-speed automatic transmission.

On the flipside, low-ratio gearing in the manual versions is a fantastic addition when negotiating snow or slick boat ramps. With prices ranging from $36,990 to $45,990 the Forester also caters to a range of budgets, making it an ideal choice for Kiwis who love the outdoors and all its varying terrains.

About the Author: Stephen Donald is a passionate motoring enthusiast and writer living in New Zealand. This review of the

Subaru Forester

was written for the New Zealand Automobile Association.


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