It is well known in my circles that I am prepared to drive many miles for Rossi’s ice cream. One taste a long time ago on the Southend seafront and I was hooked. You can extol the virtues of your modern, exotic-flavoured, nature’s own ice-extravaganzas as much as you like but I will always, always say, ‘Make mine a Rossi’s’. I love it because all trends and fads pass it by like so much floating ephemera. It does not try to be something it isn’t. Rather conveniently like the Subaru Forester 2.0L XC diesel 4×4 featured here.
A Proper SUV
Like a galleon entering a harbour full of oligarchs’ yachts, it makes no allowance for fashion. In its fourth incarnation it is now a proper SUV and no longer a beefed-up estate car. Perhaps not the prettiest, this car is handsome in a chunky highland knitwear sort of way. The shape of this type of vehicle has always been governed by what it is required to do. Thus the Subaru Forester, with its roof rails and deep rear spoiler, will do the job be it on road, track or trail.
When it comes to reliability, Subaru vehicles are almost impossible to fault. Yes, as with other cars recently tested – the BRZ (here) and the WRX STi (here) – there are issues concerning the attractiveness of the cabin for some reviewers. It is clear that this car is very well screwed together but the approach is again no nonsense. Personally, I like the dashboard; it is uncluttered, easy to use and everything I need is there. Criticisms from elsewhere find it austere and plain. Horses for courses I guess. As long as it has the functions I need…
With SUV Space
The seats are very comfortable front and back. No leather this time but the fabric seems robust. There’s plenty of room for all and the boot is spacious. The tested motor came with a big sunroof which makes the cabin a bit lighter but you have to actually push the blind back by hand, if you can believe such a thing. This to me again says Subaru. Why fit yet another motor to do a simple job and add more to the asking price? This car costs around £28,000 which is a good deal. Why pay for fripperies?
The Subaru Forester comes with tons of kit included as standard including self-levelling rear suspension, climate control, a CD player, cruise control and heaters for the front seats, mirrors and windscreen wipers. No sat-nav on the tested model but it is available. Our car did have driver’s electric seat adjustment though.
Doing SUV Things
When it comes to gearboxes, I’m all at sea with CVT. I can’t get on with the things. They may be cheaper to make and keep the engine spinning at peak efficiency but the constant buzzing instead of the rise and fall of revs pecks at my head. Subaru’s ‘Lineartronic’ system is better than most but nevertheless I breathed a sigh of relief when I poked my head in and spotted a proper six-speed manual shift. Old fashioned maybe but it made me happy.All versions get symmetrical four-wheel drive system for confident all-weather grip. It also gives the Subaru Forester decent off-road ability; maybe not to true mud-plugging standards but certainly able. It’s not a performance car but it gets up the road well enough for most folk’s speed need. Certainly it will satisfy, say, the rural driver who needs robustness in a vehicle. Aspirational lifestyle types would do well to look elsewhere.Over time it may have become clear that I like a Subaru. Out of the range the Forester would not be my first choice but then I don’t live out in the countryside or have to transport many children. I’d go for Outback or possibly the Levorg GT, but only if they fit the manual ‘box it is crying out for. One day, drive out into a rural area and play ‘spot ancient Subaru’s still plugging away’. This is why this brand has a devoted, if small, following in the UK. Tired of automotive fads and fashion? Get a Subaru. Geoff Maxted