On the face of it, the Subaru Forester may look unremarkable in a virtual sea of SUVs, but looks can be deceiving, and there is far more to this vehicle than you might expect. Some family SUVs don’t have the flashing styling touches; they just need to be an ideal car to use during the week and for adventures at the weekend. Let’s take a deeper look at the new Forester 2.5i-L and see what it has to offer.
At a Glance
The space of passengers and cargo is very generous, this car has been designed to be functional for a family, and there is plenty of safety tech onboard. However, it has maintained much of the previous model’s styling elements, making it a refreshed, yet familiar vehicle. As one would expect, the Forester has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
The Subaru Forester
Traditionally, people that buy Subaru Forester medium SUVs are looking for function over form. That doesn’t mean to say that the Forester looks ugly; it looks like a medium SUV should, with that extra touch of glamour that you might have seen in recent European and Japanese releases. The Forester is a thoughtful release; it’s a family SUV with a firm focus on space, comfort, practicality, and safety. This makes it a solid release that’s worthy of your consideration when you’re looking for a new medium SUV.
The Forester 2.5i-L Exterior
The styling is fresh and some have said that it has a level of sexiness that you may not see on other SUV releases. There are some nice touches and flourishes here and there to break up the clean lines. The tailgate is an upright configuration with a tall glasshouse for plenty of visibility. Even with a full boot, it’s easy to see to the rear, and many modern SUVs cannot even get close to matching this practical touch.
The Forester 2.5i-L Interior
This the Forester 2.5i-L specification, which puts it a step up from the entry-level base model. Both the 2.5-L and the base models share equipment in common, such as cloth seat trim, proximity entry, keyless start, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, adaptive LED headlights, automatic wipers, electric folding heated door mirrors, a full-sized spare wheel and 17” alloy wheels. The infotainment is handled with a 6.5” touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, digital DAB+ radio and a Harmon Kardon stereo system feeding a six-speaker sound system.
The touchscreen isn’t as large as the premium models, but it does a great job at gathering the info the driver needs, and there is a smaller supplementary colour screen at the top of the centre stack for even more driver feedback. The steering wheel has plenty of buttons, this can be a little intimidating at first, but the controls are well thought out, and everything the driver needs is close to hand.
The Forester 2.5i-L has a more premium interior with styling cues from the latest Impreza releases. There are plenty of smart stitching and metallic details on show across the seats and dash to add interest. The driving seat is high providing a great view of the road ahead, and shorter drivers have a base cushion to take advantage of the seat height. The rear-seat passengers have generous head and legroom and sitting three abreast presents no problems. It’s nice and cool back there too thanks to the rear face-level air vents.
There is plenty of storage space all around the cabin with storage bins and quick access spots for smaller items at the front and rear of the centre console. The storage space puts many competitors to shame, with 498 litres with the rear seats up and 1,768 litres with them folded flat. There is a rear cargo blind and a plethora of bag hooks to make your weekly shopping trip easier.
Both the 2.5i and 2.5i-L have safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and the latest Subaru EyeSight active safety suite. This latest version of EyeSight includes features, such as adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and autonomous emergency braking.
The Forester 2.5i-L departs from the base model with far more advanced safety features, such as adaptive high beams, front and side-mounted cameras, driver condition monitoring and reverse autonomous emergency braking. The driver condition monitoring system is particularly interesting; it can detect driver distraction and drowsiness and update the driver accordingly.
Under the Bonnet
As the name would suggest the Subaru Forester for sale here in Australia has a 2.5-litre engine. This has the now-familiar horizontal cylinder “Boxer” configuration. This engine generates 136kW of power at 5,800 rpm and 239 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. This is a slight improvement over the outgoing model with 10kW extra power and 4 Nm extra torque. The engine is paired with the Subaru Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission, and there is no manual variant. The manual, turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines previously seen on the previous Forester 2.5i-L have all gone. Fuel consumption is 7.6L/100km combined, making this slight more efficient than the previous model.
On and Off-Road
The Forester 2.5i-L may seem a little underpowered, but the engine is the perfect size for this SUV, and there is plenty of low end pulling power. Overtaking can be a sedate experience, but this isn’t designed to be a weekend track car. As one would expect, the Forester has an all-wheel-drive system with an X-mode setting for venturing off-road. The X-mode will tweak the stability and traction controls, transmission and throttle response to make off-road driving easier. The Forester isn’t a dedicated offroading machine, but it can venture further off the roads than a typical medium SUV competitor.
This is a solid family-oriented medium SUV that’s equally at home on a school run or shopping trip. It has everything that you need in a safe and reliable family car, and you can easily take it soft roading on the beach and into the bush for weekend adventures with the family.