Com­pact SUV has real grunt

NT News - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - By MARK HINCHLIFFE

THE Subaru Forester S-Edi­tion is the new flag­ship ‘‘per­for­mance’’ model of the pop­u­lar all-wheel-drive wagon. Now hav­ing a range of Subaru’s WRX STI com­po­nents, it is the most pow­er­ful com­pact SUV in Aus­tralia.

It ar­rives with a host of changes to the Forester line-up, in­clud­ing a stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era in most mod­els, more con­nec­tiv­ity for iPods and Blue­tooth mo­bile phones, and the first new boxer en­gine since 1989.

The S-Edi­tion is listed at $50,990, $3500 more than the XT model, but has 24kW more power, 27Nm more torque and leather up­hol­stery.

Prices for the base Forester X and diesel re­main un­changed de­spite the up­grade in stan­dard fea­tures, while the price rise in most other mod­els has been kept to $500.

The S-Edi­tion 2.5-litre boxer en­gine gives 193kW of power, 347Nm of torque and sprints to 100km/h in 6.5sec, com­pared with the XT’s 7.9sec.

Only Subaru anoraks will no­tice the ex­te­rior changes.

The grille is slightly dif­fer­ent and the in­di­ca­tors are now in the door mir­rors. All Subarus have DataDot se­cu­rity and five-star crash­wor­thi­ness rat­ings.

The new S-Edi­tion is cer­tainly quicker and more nim­ble, but it’s not re­ally a per­for­mance car. Ac­cel­er­a­tion is prompt with­out be­ing elec­tri­fy­ing.

Don’t be put off by the STI sus­pen­sion com­po­nents, be­cause this is not a bone-shak­ing, kid­ney-punch­ing ride like theWRXSTI’s.

Ride and han­dling are just about ideal for a dual-pur­pose ve­hi­cle, with enough com­pli­ance to sort out the lumps and bumps while keep­ing the car flat through corners.

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