Cars

Published on July 30th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Subaru Forester, SUV test drive review

Here is a review of the last generation Subaru Forester from our archives.

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In a world where most car buyers today are looking for SUVs and sports wagons, most car manufacturers are scrambling to develop platforms, products and new name plates to cater to this changing market conditions. There is however one car manufacturer that is just continuing their product charge and slowly taking lead in some markets for the simple reason that they have always been selling SUVs and sport wagons. Yes, this is Subaru. A car brand from Fuji Heavy Industry (sounds like a company making warships and jumbo jets), Subaru has kept to its production DNA for years and now it is paying off in leaps and bounds. With more wagons and SUV’s in their portfolio over sedans and minicars, Subaru has also kept to its propriety all wheel drive system and its legendary Boxer engines.

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Subaru’s intentions for this all new Forester are made clear as soon as you lay eyes on it. Bold sharp-edged styling replaces the more softer styling of most contemporary SUVs. The front end of this Subaru makes many rivals look staid, successfully translating Subaru’s design themes onto a larger scale. The sculpted arches are a strong feature together with the rather tall rear end. Gone is the large bonnet scoop which used to be a feature of the 1st and 2nd generation Forester.

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The interior is reminiscent of every other new Subaru: i.e. it’s spacious, practical and comfortable but lacks flair and is therefore a little bland when compared to the Europeans and Koreans. However, this is the look that I like…..simple and straightforward, however many buyers in this region like flamboyant interiors as we have seen with many other vehicles.

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Getting in this Subaru is easy as the ride height is not as high as normal SUV’s and it’s more like a high riding sedan. Drivers who prefer a taller seating position will appreciate the new electric powered front seats which have been raised by 32mm for a more commanding view of the surrounding environment. Subaru has also repositioned the wing mirrors and moved the A-pillar 200mm forward for a better forward vision which is noticeable when trying to move out of a narrow side street. Thanks to a wheelbase stretch of 25mm, back seat passengers get an extra 23mm of legroom. Cabin width has also been increased, resulting in 15mm more elbow and shoulder room. Subaru has also increased the cabin amenities. This new Forester now gets dual-zone climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth, a USB audio input and a huge electric glass sunroof all as standard. There is also leather upholstery, keyless entry and ignition, a Harmon Kardon sound system, navigation system, rain-sensing wipers and a powered tailgate.

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From the outset it is clear that this new Subaru Forester has more dynamic capability than many owners would ever need. Wide tires working with Subaru’s famous all wheel drive system ensure that grip is never in question and, even considering the mass involved, the Forester corners with zero fuss. Passengers will notice the firm ride, but no more than they would in any other SUV and though it cannot ultimately match an Audi Q3 or BMW X1 chassis, the Forester is in no way embarrassed by its more expensive rival. It will easily chase down a Q3 and X1 and have them pacing in the Foresters rear view mirror and when you take on a uneven village road, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system comes as standard. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive has the engine mounted in-line with the drivetrain, helping provide a seamless transfer of power to all four wheels.

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Other AWD systems need additional drivetrain components to route the same power to the wheels, often using complex designs. More components tend to reduce vehicle efficiency and could add to higher maintenance costs. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive sends power to all wheels simultaneously for maximum traction and acceleration. In slippery conditions, that power instinctively flows to the wheels with the best traction.

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Overall this new Forester is a solid lifestyle vehicle. If you need to transport five adults with luggage it’s ideal. The lack of passive road manners may rule it out as a real alternative to an MPV or large family saloon but if you do live off the beaten track then it is a nice compromise.

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Subaru Forester 2.0L Specifications

Engine: FB20 1,995cc 16-Valve horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder petrol

Max power: 150hp @ 6200rpm

Max torque: 198Nm @ 4200rpm

Transmission: Lineartronic CVT

Top Speed: 200km/h

0-100km/h: 7.2secs

Price: RM149,258.53

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