to gain market grip
The SUV’s extra ground clearance makes for a highish load level into the back, but it is easily manageable.
A five-star ANCAP crash rating has been given to the strengthened and re - inforced body, and its battery of safety technology includes stability and traction control, active headrests, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and brake force distribution, plus dual front/side/curtain airbags. PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
The standard Forester is priced from $35,990 and kitted-out with 17-inch alloy wheels, self-levelling suspension, DataDot security, roof rails and a four-speaker CD/audio player system.
The $39,990 Premium level adds 17-inch alloys, electric sunroof, leather upholstery, tinted glass, a CD six-stacker, eight-way power adjustment on the driver’s seat, and self-levelling xenon headlights with popup washers. DRIVING
Over the past few years we’ve become fairly used to the voice of diesel engines — some have even started to sound enjoyable.
The Forester’s turbodiesel isn’t yet one of them, but only because it’s let down by some clatter appearing at lower revs.
But the sound is secondary to the substance.
And this engine steps up to the plate.
It’s strong and tractable, with more torque than we could soak up on the test drive through hilly roads both on and off the blacktop.
The turbo lends a hand smartly and the extra effort comes into play with plenty of pick-up for overtaking, too.
And while we were not towing on the launch test drive, there’s no doubt those who want to haul a van or boat around are going to find plenty of use for that extra grunt and the increased towing capacity.
The steering was responsive and communicative on bitumen, although often felt light over dirt roads.
And while we were pleased with the Forester’s ride and well-balanced manners on the sealed surfaces, it was on the sections of potholed, corrugated dirt that it proved its strengths.
These are the kinds of washboard stretches that could have lesser vehicles skittering around like marbles on a vibraplate, but the Forester handled it all capably.
Subaru originally launched the Forester as the city car for dirty weekends.
We’re not sure about the city life with the manual gearbox, but for anybody who wants to get beyond the urban boundaries for heading down little-used tracks to remote beaches, this is a vehicle to consider.