Subaru Forester -

Used Car Review

Subaru Forester, 2018, side
Subaru Forester, 2018, front
Subaru Forester, 2018, rear
Subaru Forester, 2018, interior
Subaru Forester e-Boxer, rear seats
Subaru Forester e-Boxer, boot

THE latest Subaru Forester is a petrol/electric hybrid that was launched in 2020, so it's a little recent to feature on the used car market.

I'll concentrate on the previous model available between 2013 and '19, which was regularly updated and refined throughout its life.

Some owners of large 4x4s like the fact that they have lots of metal around them. But such big vehicles are often thirsty, quite slow and difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces.

If you want the all wheel drive capability in a smaller and more car-like package, the Forester could be just what you're looking for.

It's worth mentioning also, that Subaru has an enviable reputation for long lasting reliability.

The Forester is an estate that's easy to drive and to handle in confined spaces, and should you need towing or off-road ability, it's well ahead of any two wheel drive car with excellent traction and decent ground clearance.

There are three engine options, and all come with four wheel drive (4WD) security. I'll start with the 2.0-litre turbo diesel, which is likely to be the most common secondhand.

It has 147bhp and takes 9.6 seconds to cover the 0 to 60 miles an hour sprint, while managing a best of 49mpg economy

It's lovely and flexible with plenty of power from low revs so that there's no need to change gear too often.

Like the petrol models, it comes with the choice of six speed manual or Subaru's ‘Lineartronic' CVT automatic gearboxes.

Petrols start with a 150bhp 2.0-litre that comes with start/stop and covers the 60 sprint in 10.3 seconds. It is capable of 40mpg at best.

Although it's available with the CVT auto, this really blunts the performance and because the engine operates at higher revs much of the time, it's also noisier.

Top performer is the Direct Injection Turbo (DIT) 2.0-litre that's only available in top models and that sprints to 60 in 7.3 seconds, through the standard Lineartronic auto.

It has no less than 240bhp, which is enough for excellent acceleration from any speed whenever it's needed, but economy is a rather low 33mpg.

This is an SUV that strikes a good balance between on- and off-road ability. On the road, there's less body roll than in most large 4x4s, and this makes it more comfortable through the corners. This cornering ability is partly due to the flat four engines being mounted low in the chassis, giving a better centre of gravity. Comfort is very good over all surfaces on the road and at all speeds, so that it takes speed humps easily in town and also cushions the occupants well against rough road surfaces.

The steering is direct and reasonably informative but can take some acclimatisation as it is pretty light. Despite it being so road friendly, the Forester is much better off-road than many other SUVs, and has excellent ability to handle the worst of winter conditions on the road.

Lineartronic auto models are all fitted with Subaru's ‘X-Mode' offroad driving system, which sets up the engine, gearbox and traction control to best handle the rough or slippery stuff.

And all models come very well equipped - long a plus with Subarus - but the engines are only available in particular models, which is a bit strange. A five star safety rating means it will take good care of you if the worst comes to the worst.

Mid-range XE (petrol only) spec includes parking sensors, climate control, alloys, alarm, traction control, headlight washers, audio remote controls, heated seats with electric adjustment for the driver and an electric sunroof.

Pay about £15,900 for an '18 18-reg XE (petrol), or £15,560 for a '19 19-reg XC 2.0D diesel.

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