The Subaru Forester is a pretty good SUV. It’s one of few models in the class that features standard all-wheel drive, yet it still achieves good fuel economy.
Before so-called crossover cars were trendy, there was the Subaru Forester. The Forester was one of the first cars to combine some of the best attributes of a sport-utility car with the ride and driving dynamics of a car. Since its introduction for the 1997 model year, Subaru’s somewhat oddly proportioned Forester has been a welcome alternative to more traditional SUVs, thanks to its uncanny ability to handle the road like a car, and work cargo like a small SUV. The second generation Forester from 2002 through 2008 is a favourite.
Undeniably the Forester looks like a small SUV. Its large headlights give it a solid look while hefty bumpers add to its substantial appearance. It comes standard with sport rims, but looks like it could do with larger wheels and tires that would fill out the wheel wells more effectively. With the Subaru, there are two camps, those who like its looks and those who simply do not.
There is the bonnet scoop that allows a flow of air to directly enter the engine compartment specifically the intercooler to cool down the turbo and engine bay basically the same way air cools a radiator. This scoop gives the Forester a sporty Impreza look. In fact Subarus are among the few cars that have hood scoops that actually function.
The Subaru Forester is not a tall car, compared to the typical SUV. Yet its seating position is high, providing more of the commanding view that many buyers seek in an SUV. Forward visibility is less likely to be obstructed by other cars than it is in the typical sedan. Indeed, visibility is great in all directions. Materials inside the Forester have been steadily upgraded over the years, to the point where all are decent quality.
The instrument panel and controls are efficiently designed. Three big knobs make it easy to adjust temperature and airflow. You shall get one with either the leather seats or cloth. While there is naturally a preference for the former, the cloth quality in the Forester is quite good looking and feeling stylish. Despite its compact dimensions, this car accommodates the needs and physique of a wide range of people. Despite all these pluses, it still looks extremely tasteless compared to competition from Toyota and the Germans.
All-wheel drive, as with every Subaru model, is standard on the Forester. With Impreza lineage, you shall notice that the stiff suspension reduces body roll in corners. The Forester is stable at high speeds and has strong brakes to effectively tame it.
Subaru remains one of only a few carmakers using horizontally-opposed engines, with the cylinders laid flat so the pistons punch outward aka boxer engines. Only other manufacturer with this engine setup is Porsche. This model of the forester comes in a 2.0L and 2.5L versions with some turbocharged variations. The 2.5L being the most common. One of the flaws of the engines in the timing belt that has to be replaced at 100,000Kms. If not replaced it is on the verge of snapping and destroying the engine valves leading to high repair costs.
Value for money
The Forester is one of those cars that inspires higher owner loyalty than just about any car beyond emotionally and blindly driven loyalty. A fact proved by Steven Ntambi from Bukoto who has had all the models since its introduction in 1997. This is quite easy to understand as Forester delivers the SUV features its buyers want, including a high seating position, reliability and a superb all-wheel-drive system with a relevant measure of off-road capability. It is perfect for treacherous roads most of us encounter when we venture off the main roads once in a while or daily as we head home. Still the Forester also offers good fuel mileage and ride comfort, in a compact, manoeuvrable package.