The Forester has been Subaru’s best-seller in Singapore, because it’s a Japanese jack of all trades for the multi-tasking motorist.
The car is roomy, robust, user-friendly, nice to drive and good value for money. But it’s not the sleekest tool in the shed.
The 2016 facelift has made the Forester look fresher, but its appearance is still closer to friendly Okinawa farmer than trendy Shibuya hipster.
The “produce” to be “farmed” in this case is substantial, with the turbocharged 2.0XT model producing a hearty 240bhp and 350Nm (much more than the naturally aspirated 2.0i model, which has 150bhp and 198Nm).
It’s a horizontally opposed boxer motor that powers all four wheels symmetrically. The engine is excellent, working effectively in every situation on the road, from driveway to highway, and also off the road, where the Forester is happy to frolic while staying out of trouble at the same time.
The Lineartronic CVT is as excellent as the engine, behaving like a smooth torque-converter automatic during routine motoring, and responding in a sporty manner during enthusiastic motoring. There are standard paddle-shifters, too.
In the drivetrain’s “S#” (so-called Sport Sharp) mode, which is the most aggressive of three modes, the CVT’s responses and the engine’s revolutions per minute are really sharpened, at the expense of refinement. And if the transmission is toggled to M (manual) in S# mode, it doesn’t change up at the 6000rpm redline!
The ride on those 225/55 R18 Bridgestone Dueler tyres can get a bit bumpy and the body leans a little in corners, but the Forester’s handling and steering are like a tall station wagon’s instead of a short suburban truck’s.
It’s a well-equipped wagon, with amenities such as a sunroof, dash-top multi-function display, multi-feature infotainment, rear view camera system, dual-zone (strong) auto air-con and a powered tailgate (which operates slowly, though).
The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and memorises two different settings, but “forgets” about the side mirrors.
Both the cabin and boot are spacious, tastefully decorated and logically laid out, the visibility is terrific, and the interior materials seem pretty hardy.
“Petrolling” outdoors with Subaru’s facelifted forest ranger is a pleasure indeed.
Subaru Forester XT 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1998cc, 16-valves, flat-4, turbocharged
MAX POWER 240bhp at 5600rpm
MAX TORQUE 350Nm at 2400-3600rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 146.9bhp per tonne
GEARBOX CVT with 8-speed override
0-100KM/H 7.5 seconds
TOP SPEED 221km/h
CONSUMPTION 11.8km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 197g/km
PRICE INCL. COE $125,800 (after $5k CEVS surcharge)