2017 Subaru Forester Review
There was a time where the name Subaru brought up images of rally victories and the poster car for every car obsessed child. However, in recent years the brand has become more well known for its tamed road cars and SUVs. One of the most popular being the Forester, a compact SUV that rivals the likes of the Ford Kuga, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan. Many would hope that Subaru’s rally heritage has translated to an excellent SUV but how does it stack up.
In the latest model range, all Subaru’s have the same trim level which is quite basic and no match for the premium interiors of its rivals. Hard plastics surround the Forester’s well-built interior, with only a few soft-touch materials to offset the harshness that the plastics bring. However, there is the option to upgrade this to a leather trim, which brings a sense of luxury to the Forester. The interior is practical and spacious, given that this is the biggest version of the vehicle to date. The floor has been lowered creating more foot space for front and rear passengers that add to the comfort the seats provide.
Subaru is engineering focused, as a result, form follows function which has led to a boxy design in past models. The revised Forester looks a little softer but doesn’t really stand out among its more attractive rivals. Although it’s not bad looking by any stretch of the imagine, it features curvy bumpers, sweeping headlights and a more aerodynamic roofline than its predecessor.
On the road, the Forester provides plenty of grips thanks to its permanent four-wheel drive system. Unfortunately, the steering is lifeless and which makes long journeys feel mundane. On the flip side, off road performance is excellent and blows other similarly priced rivals out of the water. This is thanks to the Lineartronic transmission, which features Subaru’s X-Mode that aids traction. As expected from a Subaru, the Forester features a Boxer engine, giving the signature growl that is synonymous with the brand. The engine lacks a distinct oomph and feels underpowered during acceleration. Once at cruising speed, the ride is smooth yet noisy which can become tiresome.
The Forester features a good level of standard kit, including a 7-inch touchscreen entertainment and satellite navigation system, Rear Vision Camera System and six-speaker audio system. These can all be controlled easily from the steering wheel mounted controls without too many distractions from driving. The entertainment system is very responsive and intuitive, making setting up your phone, sat nav and voice command a breeze compared to some modern systems.
Overall, the Forester is a little underwhelming considering it’s a Subaru and especially when you line it up against the competition. However, for the price point and level of equipment, it is perfectly suited as a family car and will be welcomed as well as the previous models. The Forester really shines off-road, although there is a doubt that many will see the kind of environment that it deserves.