Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -






The most af­ford­able Forester is the 2.0-litre $29,990 2.0i — there’s no front-drive cheapie. The top spec turbo 2.0 XT Pre­mium auto is $50,490. The 2.5i-L is the mid-range choice at $35,990 for auto ($2500 less for a man­ual). It gets the 2.5, AWD, stop-start, 17-inch al­loys, power fold­ing rear seats and rear-view cam­era. The BRZ apart, there are no beau­ti­ful Subarus. At best, the Forester is rel­a­tively in­of­fen­sive. It blends in with the SUV pack and you won’t stand out, even in the po­tent XT. The in­te­rior is prac­ti­cal and well laid out, with am­ple space for rear pas­sen­gers. Boot space is aver­age — the spare is full-size, which is rare in its class. The re­spon­sive 2.5-litre (126kW/235Nm) moves the car along nicely. The CVT au­to­matic works well and is quiet and also re­spon­sive, the driv­e­train us­ing 8.1L/100km, mak­ing the Suby one of the more ef­fi­cient medium petrol SUVs around. There is also a diesel op­tion (the X-Trail doesn’t have diesel just now but gets one later this year). Five stars from ANCAP, seven airbags in­clud­ing cur­tains back to the sec­ond row and a driver’s knee­bag, anti-lock brakes and sta­bil­ity con­trol. Re­vers­ing cam­era is stan­dard on all Foresters. Eye­Sight is an op­tion on this model, cost­ing $1500 and adding adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and ob­ject-sens­ing auto brake. The Forester’s cabin is not as im­pres­sive as the X-Trail’s. It is a plainer de­sign and looks a lit­tle cheap in com­par­i­son (but so is the car). How­ever, ev­ery­thing is in the right place and is easy to use and there is also a lot of space for ev­ery­one. The ride is com­fort­able and more set­tled than the X-Trail, while the han­dling is very good for this class of ve­hi­cle. The Forester is a true all-rounder.

VER­DICT The X-Trail is a much im­proved ve­hi­cle for the ur­ban jun­gle but it can’t over­take the Forester’s

place in Cars­guide’s af­fec­tions.

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