WITH the best will in the world you would never label the Forester as the most svelte vehicle in Subaru's impressive line up.
With its upright stance and large windows it makes few concessions to aerodynamics.
But what it lacks in styling it more than makes up for in interior space, ride quality, refinement and general go anywhere ability.
With its super smooth Lineatronic gearbox - a variable system which finds the perfect ratio for your speed - and an almost silent cabin thanks to additional sound proofing it's a vehicle you can't help but like.
Its qualities make sure long motorway journeys become more of a pleasure than a chore and its low centre of gravity and all-wheel-drive ensures it has the kind of road holding and cornering ability that puts a bit of sparkle back in to driving.
And if you need to take your car off-road this 4x4 with its X-Drive system has the traction to make sure you don't get stuck. Bring X-Drive into play and the already efficient symmetrical four-wheel-drive system offers even better hill climbing ability and hill decent control.
Opt for the Premium model and you get a host of nice touches including leather upholstery, heated front seats (with the driver‘s electrically adjustable), a glass sunroof and a powered tailgate.
And beneath that tailgate is enough space for everything including the kitchen sink - not to mention a mountain bike - when you fold down the rear seatbacks. To be exact there's 550 litres of room with the seats in use and a whopping 1,573 litres with the seatbacks folded.
The Forester, thanks to its SI-Drive, comes with two switchable driving modes. Intelligent for normal, balanced performance and smoother driveability and Sport for when you want to liven things up a little.
And if you want to you can also add to the sports mode by using the paddles behind the steering wheel for manual gear changes.
The Forester is also packed with a host of safety features including EyeSight, a system which uses a pair of cameras located behind the rear view mirror which is capable of detecting vehicles or people ahead and taking action where necessary to avoid a collision.
Less high tech but just as valuable in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky for longer are the extendable sun visors, which allow you to block out glare when it hits the middle of the windscreen.
On the road the Forester with its traditional flat four engine purrs along in a relaxed, refined manner which helps create stress free driving.
It's not the fastest car away from the traffic lights and noise levels do increase dramatically when you try for a sharp get away but accelerate normally and let the Lineatronic system do its own thing and progress is smooth and satisfying.