SUBARU FORESTER XT
Competent off-road wagons are getting scarce. These two are among the bestst at taking on life’s life rough — and smooth — paths. . NEIL DOWLING compares.
The price appears steep but the Forester has high customer satisfaction, a reputation for durability, off-road competence and, more recently, lower ownership costs. Subaru’s cappedprice servicing is $1003 up to 37,000km (about three years) and resale is 53 per cent. But the turbo XT version isn’t particularly rich in features, highlighted mainly by the sunroof, six-speaker audio, cloth seats and reverse camera.
Styling is functional, simple and all done in house. But it works. Cabin treatment is austere but high-quality materials and build quality are evident. Practicality includes fold-flat rear seats with a tall cargo area, 422L-1457L load space, genuine seating for five and an 1800kg tow rating. A flat underbody makes it capable in dirt and over rocks.
The XT has a 2.0-litre boxer turbo (177kW/350Nm) mated to a constantly variable transmission with constant all-wheel drive. A selectable all-terrain switch enhances on and offroad traction. Subaru claims 8.5L/100km but needs 95 RON fuel. The flat-four engine pumps maximum torque from only 2400rpm. It has electric-assist steering and four-wheel ventilated discs. Weight is a modest 1589kg.
The Forester gets a five-star crash rating, seven airbags, electronic stability control, the surety of constant allwheel drive, rear camera, low-beam xenon lights with headlight washers, hill holder and full-size spare wheel. Parking sensors would be helpful.
The latest Forester is streets ahead of its predecessors, more confident on the road and more predictable through bends despite its height. Performance is excellent (0-100km/h in 7.5 secs) but fuel economy dives when pushed hard. The 220mm clearance makes it quite capable. Plenty of cabin room and supple suspension make it an excellent cruiser.