Published on August 17th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Subaru Forester GT EyeSight Test Drive Review
Is this Subaru as good as a BMW X1?
About 10 years ago, if we were to ask this question, we would probably get a barrage of calls and emails from German car owners telling us how silly (being polite here) we were in comparing a German made crossover to a Japanese made crossover.
Now, some ten years later this is a question the global motoring press have been asking and it seems that the reverse has happened. There are Japanese made vehicles that are giving the Germans brands a run for their money and readers and vehicle owners are not holding back on their responses. Yes, the Japanese have caught up, and not recently, about 6-7 years ago, many Japanese brands stood and said that enough is enough and we are ready to take on the ‘premium’ European brands.
Today, we see many all Japanese brands bringing to market well built, well engineered and beautifully put together vehicles that stand equal with premium brands and they continue to have a better pricing strategy (this means the Japanese are priced lower and yet offer neck to neck features, safety equipment, cabin features and also build quality)
Recently, Subaru launched in Malaysia an all new Forester in 3 variants. Its top variant comes with class leading safety features better known as EyesSight.
Let Us Explain ‘EyeSight’
EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology is the culmination of everything Subaru engineers know about safety and Subaru has already sold over 1 million EyeSight-equipped vehicles. Adding confidence to every trip, EyeSight monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns you if you sway outside your lane. EyeSight has been found to reduce the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85%.
When equipped with EyeSight, all tested 2019 Subaru models receive the highest possible rating for front crash prevention by IIHS. The Pre-Collision Braking feature can even apply full braking force in emergency situations, helping you avoid or reduce frontal impacts.
To date, more than 85% of Forester buyers in Taiwan and Philippines and 55% buyers in Thailand buy the Forester 2.0i-S Eyesight model since its launch a few months ago.
In Malaysia, the take up rate for the 2.0i-S Eyesight model is said to be at least 30% of the current 3 variant lineup as more Malaysian car buyers focus on safety on the road.
So What Does The GT Edition Have
The special GT Edition aero kit has four well-made and integrated elements, which give the rugged yet refined Forester a sleeker and even sportier look:
- Front bumper lip extension
- Side skirts
- Roof spoiler
- Rear bumper lip extension
These are complemented by a set of 18-inch bespoke alloy wheels. It also boasts its own seat-leather design. Completing the equipment package of the Forester GT Edition is a new 8-inch Display Audio System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a Superview Around Recognition 360 System (360° around-view monitor system), which enables drivers to park and maneuver with ease.
Nearest Premium Rival
So, which is the nearest premium rival to this all new Forester. Well, in our books, the just launched 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged BMW X1 is the nearest in terms of looks, features, build and also cabin size. The BMW X1 (pictured below) offers rear passengers about the same room as the Subaru Forester, with comparable head- and legroom. The Subaru Forester offers just a little more front head- and legroom than the BMW X1, offering the driver and front passenger a bit more room and comfort.
The BMW X1 is about the same width as the Subaru Forester, but the BMW X1 is slightly shorter than the Subaru Forester, which may make it easier to park.
Due to its slightly higher torque output of 220Nm from its 3-cylinder turbo engine, the BMW X1 is a little quicker from rest than the Subaru Forester which has a normal aspirated 196Nm 2.0L engine. This Subaru has all wheel drive system working to ensure you stay safe on the tarmac in wet and slippery conditions.
The BMW X1 has significantly less cargo capacity than the Subaru Forester. The X1’s cargo capacity falls short due to its smaller stance.
Off-road capability is good for both vehicles and they each have their ability to take on the rough or Klang Valley floods with ease.
Now comes the price. The BMW X1 at RM208,368 is almost RM31,000 more expensive than the Subaru Forester with EyeSight which sells for RM177,000.
The Subaru Forester GT Edition is offered in seven colours – Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Dark Grey Metallic and Crystal Black Silica.
Driving the GT Edition
The cabin of the Forester is a nice place to be in with plenty of space in front and there is ample room in the rear for three adults. From ignition it is quiet and the 156bhp Boxer engine works without a fuss as you accelerate hard. The steering feel is very good and the gearbox works well to provide a decent driving experience. Subaru’s have always provided a ‘conti’ like drive feel and it continues here. Remove all the Subaru badges and mask this Forester and the average driver will tell you they are in a German made vehicle after 15 minutes of driving it.
Subaru Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight GT Edition Specifications
Engine: FB20 16-Valve horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder petrol
Max power: 156hp @ 6000rpm
Max torque: 196Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Lineartronic CVT
Top Speed: 192km/h
Selling Price: RM177,788.