The Subaru Forester has be­come the fam­ily go-to car, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

SUBARU’S Forester was at the head of the pack dur­ing the SUV stam­pede 10 years ago, and the lat­est model sought to build on the huge suc­cess by push­ing for mar­ket lead­er­ship.

The light SUV has be­come the go-to car for fam­i­lies look­ing for flex­i­ble trans­port to haul kids to school or sport­ing events, han­dle the reg­u­lar mo­tor­ing chores and the oc­ca­sional week­end away.

The mar­ket for light SUVs has be­come one of the most crowded and com­pet­i­tive seg­ments on the lo­cal scene along the way, and the new Forester was pit­ted against other hugely pop­u­lar mod­els such as the Nis­san X-Trail, Honda CR-V and Toy­ota RAV4.

Model watch

THE Forester is based on the Subaru Im­preza pas­sen­ger car, so the re­lease of a new Im­preza height­ened an­tic­i­pa­tion of a new Forester— which was larger, fresher and more af­ford­able when it landed.

It looked more like a se­ri­ous four­wheel drive. It was 110mm taller, 60mm wider and 75mm longer, and the wheel­base was 90mm longer.

The in­creased size was great news for own­ers be­cause it de­liv­ered more room for rear pas­sen­gers and more lug­gage space.

Over­hangs were short­ened and ground clear­ance in­creased to im­prove ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity.

Power for the reg­u­lar X and XS came from a 2.5-litre boxer four that had more power and torque, while the XT had a tur­bocharged ver­sion that was un­changed. The 2.5-litre gave 126kW at 6000 revs and 229Nm at 4400 revs at its twin peaks, enough to make it a lively drive.

The turbo, mean­while, de­liv­ered 169kW at 5200 revs and 320Nm at 2800 revs, which made the XT even live­lier.

Buy­ers could choose be­tween a four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and a five-speed man­ual, which fea­tured low-range gear­ing. As with all Subarus the drive went to all four wheels, vary­ing from 95 per cent front and 5 per cent rear to a 50/50 split depend­ing on throt­tle, load and speed in­puts.

Three mod­els were of­fered in the range, start­ing with the X and climb­ing through the XS to the WRX-like XT. Stan­dard equip­ment on the X in­cluded four-speaker sound with steer­ing wheel con­trols, 16-inch steel wheels, a full­sized spare as well as air, and power

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