SUBARU FORESTER 2.5i-L
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.