Subaru cars last

forever

Subaru Forester, 2016, front
Subaru Forester, 2016, off road
Subaru Forester, 2016, interior
Subaru Forester, 2016, X-Mode display
Subaru Outback, 2016, front
Subaru Outback, 2016, interior
Subaru Outback, 2016, boot
Subaru XV, 2016, front
Subaru XV, 2016, interior
Subaru XV, 2016, rear
Subaru Levorg, 2016, front
Subaru, 2016, Chris Hawken, marketing director

ALMOST every Subaru sold in Britain in the past 10 years is still on the road.

An astonishing 99.3 per cent of the 36,603 models the Japanese car maker has sold in the UK since 2005 are still registered as road worthy.

And while that speaks volumes for the durability of the vehicles it makes Subaru's UK bosses scratch their heads.

Top of the pile is the Forester SUV with only 40 of the 10,496 sold in the past decade no longer around.

That's followed by the mighty WRX STI and Impreza Turbo - cars loved by enthusiasts for their hot credentials and rally pedigree - with some 6,000 still going strong.

In fact, the average Subaru clocks up around 200,000 miles in its lifetime, or eight circumnavigations of the world.

However, Subaru is very much a bit player on the UK car scene and its latest - the all-wheel-drive Levorg estate - may have notched up a 100 per cent retention score since its launch last year but only 347 have been sold.

Chris Hawken, Subaru UK's new marketing director describes the brand as bi-polar.

"Most people think of us making rally cars and performance models," he said adding that less than a third of motorists thought of Subaru as a 4x4 brand.

Subaru as a whole sold almost a million vehicles worldwide last year but in Britain so far this year its sales are around 3,000 giving it a market share of just 0.13 per cent.

Its current line up of the Forester, Impreza and Levorg is joined by the latest Outback - an alternative to the likes of the Audi A4 allroad - and the XV crossover SUV as well as the BRZ sports car, the sister ship to the Toyota GT86 which Subaru actually produces under a collaborative deal.

To prove the point about their abilities - and not just their durability - we have just put a selection of the latest Subarus through their paces on and off the road.

All Subarus have four-wheel-drive, use low centre of gravity flat-four Boxer engine and have a genuinely sporty take on driving - and that's despite the estate cars and the SUVs having excellent ‘go-anywhere' ability.

Automatics make use of a home-grown Lineartronic CVT transmission which is smart enough to adapt itself for performance driving while still being able to deliver good traction in muddy off-road circumstances.

They also have what Subaru calls X-Mode which is an electronic traction system to give added bite and keep the vehicle in check on slippery slopes.

The Forester can mix it with the best 4x4s and showed its mettle ploughing over an off-road course without drama during the recent rainstorms.

It's at the heavy duty end of the Subaru range and the 2.0-litre diesel we sampled was priced from £26,995.

Rugged but stylish is a characteristic of all the models and while the interiors have a traditional take they include plenty of technology with touchscreen controls, sat nav, Bluetooth and online connectivity.

The Outback and Levorg - which carries on the mantle from the previous Legacy estate - are more upmarket, handle in a very accomplished and sure-footed fashion and proved very economical.

The 2.0-litre diesel Outback we tried actually exceeded its official 46.3mpg fuel figure, returning a fraction more than 47 to the gallon on our run.

Of the four models the XV is more trendy-looking and priced from £23,495 is a fine alternative to the likes of a Nissan Qashqai.

The Levorg - which is available only with a 1.6-litre petrol engine and the Lineatronic transmission - costs from £27,495 while the Forester is priced from £26,995 and the Outback £30,995.

The Outback and Levorg also come with what Subaru calls its EyeSight driver assistance system which uses stereo cameras rather than radars to spot potential hazards and avoid them at speeds of up to 28mph.

It has already impressed ADAC, the German Automobile Club, which gave the system top marks for pedestrian, cyclist and night driving safety.

For those who need a car that can be multi-purpose and take the rough of the big outdoors as well as handling everyday needs all will do the job in a most competent fashion.

They also come with a five year/100,000 mile warranty and as the figures released by Experian show if ever a car was built to last then it's a Subaru.

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