CALL it kerb appeal or showroom shimmer, some cars ooze an instant attraction.
Others have to depend on virtues of space, practicality and dependability to win friends and influence buyers.
And it's this latter category the rugged Subaru Forester falls into.
Few would regard the big four-wheel-drive estate as chic or a fashion icon, yet it has one of the highest customer loyalty records of all, and has become a byword among vets and agricultural communities for its sturdiness and go-anywhere capability.
There's a choice between petrol and diesel models, but it's the diesel that wins the day in terms of punchy low down torque, fuel economy and general ease of driving.
In fact, one of the surprising aspects of the tall, upright standing Subaru is just how well it conducts itself over both windy country lanes and motorways alike.
An excellent and informative steering rack complements a composed ride with will well controlled roll angles allowing it to be hustled confidently through curves.
Full time four wheel drive ensures there's ample grip almost no matter the road conditions.
Hill start assist, trailer stability control and hill descent control are among the electronic aids that make off-road excursions safer.
The flat four 2.0-litre diesel with 145bhp to call on is reasonably refined and pulls strongly from 2,000rpm and despatches 60mph in a useful 9.9 seconds, top speed is nearly 120mph.
Available either as a six-speed manual or an automatic, this car came with Lineartronic automatic gearbox which works well and took much of the strain out of cross country driving.
It's a seven-speed continuously variable transmission but it isn't troubled by the ‘freneticism' that spoils most CVT systems.
Passenger space, including head and legroom is generous although the boot with a high floor is more compact that some of the opposition. It will nevertheless carry 505 litres of luggage. The rear seats fold and split 60-40 but the floor isn't completely flat.
Visibility from the light and airy cabin is excellent thanks partly to slim pillars and a relatively upright windscreen.
The cabin, though well equipped, lacks a degree of flair associated with many European-styled family wagons, and can best be described as functional. Central to proceedings is a seven-inch touchscreen incorporating sat nav and the infortainment system.
There's no shortage of equipment in the 2.0D XC Premium, however. Standard kit includes roof rails, huge sliding glass sunroof, body cladding and pop up headlamp washers.
Inside, you'll find eight-way electric driver's seat, full leather upholstery, dual zone air con, keyless access, power tailgate and steering wheel mounted transmission paddles.
Despite the plethora of goodies, what impresses most about the Forester, Subaru's best selling model, is its tough and eager character.
While the engine feels literally unburstable, and the five-door estate's appetite for hard driving and the ease with which the miles are covered remains a lasting impression.