Sim­i­lar yet dif­fer­ent

When the Forester flicked the switch to SUV, it stayed a Soob

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

Subaru chose to mimic its ri­vals when it re­vamped the Forester in 2008. It did so by mak­ing it big­ger and taller – more like an SUV.

So the Forester be­came roomier, more re­fined and bet­ter equipped. To be pre­cise, it was all of 75mm longer, 60mm wider, 110mm taller and rode on a wheel­base that was 90mm longer than the pert pre­vi­ous model.

All this made for quite a visual de­par­ture. The new model was a smoother, more curved de­sign than the old boxy model, and rode 20mm higher.

What didn’t change was the boxer engine and con­stant all- wheel drive, the lat­ter in con­trast to most of the Forester’s ri­vals that con­tin­ued to be front-wheel drive, send­ing the drive rear­wards on de­mand.

The 2.5-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated, hor­i­zon­tally op­posed engine was tweaked to give the mer­est in­crease in out­put but there was also a tur­bocharged ver­sion that gave quite a de­cent boost in per­for­mance.

Trans­mis­sions were ei­ther a five-speed man­ual or four­speed au­to­matic, the lat­ter with man­ual over­ride. Subaru claimed the newmodel was more fuel ef­fi­cient, which was fine, al­though the num­bers quoted weren’t great. But the Forester was right on the money in terms of safety with a max­i­mum 5-star ANCAP rat­ing on the back of front, side and cur­tain airbags, ABS brak­ing and sta­bil­ity con­trol across all mod­els.

The model line-up be­gan with the X and climbed to the tur­bocharged XT Pre­mium at the top of the tree.

NOW

Subarus are gen­er­ally well­re­garded by own­ers – cer­tainly that’s the mes­sage we get at Cars­guide. The trade also gives them a tick of ap­proval for their re­li­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity.

About the only thing that

crops up when we ask about Subarus in gen­eral is their ten­dency to con­sume oil. This is not some­thing that’s likely to cause a prob­lem, but it is some­thing that own­ers need to be con­scious of and make sure they check the engine oil reg­u­larly, and top it up when needed. For­get­ting or ig­nor­ing this leads to ex­pen­sive re­pairs.

When test driv­ing an auto Forester, look for clean shift­ing and en­gage­ment of gears. It’s a reg­u­lar au­to­matic and in many re­spects nicer to drive than the CVT trans­mis­sions most of its ri­vals now use.

Check for a ser­vice record— noth­ing kills a car faster than a lack of ser­vic­ing, and the Forester is no dif­fer­ent to any other car in that re­spect.

SMITHY SAYS

Big­ger and bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous model, it ticks the fam­ily boxes.

De­par­ture an­gle: The 2008 up­date brought a longer wheel­base and in­creased ride height but the Forester stuck with theAWD for­mula

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