“Despite its boxy looks, the Subaru Forester is good-to-drive, practical and now mixes sturdiness with an improved interior”
The Subaru Forester is a tough SUV with standard four-wheel drive that’s known for its solid build quality and dependability. And while its boxy looks might not have changed much, this new model has an all-new platform – shared with the Subaru Impreza and XV – promising improved road manners, lower running costs and more interior space.
Forester spotters will need to be on top form, because an upright and angular nose, new rear lights and a black strip across the tailgate are about the size of its new design cues. It’s also slightly longer and wider, so there’s plentiful knee room inside and its maximum luggage capacity (1,779 litres) now beats the rival Toyota RAV4.
Its interior is a vast improvement over the outgoing model, and while it’s still not up to Audi Q3 standards, it can now fend off the Toyota and Mitsubishi Outlander for quality. Some of the latest features like digital instruments are missing, but the infotainment display is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. A high safety score is also expected, with the same Subaru EyeSight suite of safety kit that uses windscreen-mounted cameras to detect hazards when driving.
The big news under the skin is the adoption of Subaru’s first mild-hybrid petrol, badged e-Boxer and expected to give efficiency gains of around 10%. Even with this gain, the Forester is still likely to be one of the thirstiest medium-sized SUVs, but loyal Subaru owners should appreciate a step in the right direction. Its small battery and electric motor recovers energy under deceleration from braking and coasting, and then deploys it to assist the petrol engine as you accelerate. A new chassis has also tidied up the Forester’s handling, and it now feels lighter on its feet and more responsive. For a model that looks a lot like a raised estate, it’s also remarkably capable off-road.
Subaru Forester SUV