Although this third generation Forester doesn’t have the big, rufty-tufty personality of its predecessors, few would argue that Subaru hasn’t built an objectively better vehicle.
The latest petrol engine is a good deal more efficient but it’s somewhat overshadowed by a diesel engine that’s a real talent.
Drive the two back to back and even if they returned similar fuel economy and emissions figures, you’d still pick the diesel for the effortless flexibility afforded by its superior torque.
Although the Forester has matured, it hasn’t forgotten how to entertain. The ride is sportier than the slightly frumpy styling might suggest and the new 2.0-litre petrol engine is a classy piece of kit. The designers have concentrated on improving economy and reducing emissions, so while power has remained roughly the same, there is more torque and it arrives sooner, which makes this engine feel more muscular. Subjectively, the quoted 148bhp seems honest enough and propels the Forester to 60mph in 10.5 seconds, but it’s a unit that needs to be revved quite vigorously to extract the best from it.
The facelift hasn’t done too much to raise the profile of the Forester’s rather unexceptional styling, but the interior gets a welcome if modest improvement in quality and the ride quality has improved in line with the fitment of some high-end dampers. Despite Subaru’s most concerted efforts, the mainstream still hasn’t caught onto the Forester and these revisions aren’t about to change that. It’s a class act but hey, let’s keep it between ourselves.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: Subaru Forester range
PRICES: £21,500 - £27,320 [est]
INSURANCE GROUPS: 17-24
CO2 EMISSIONS: [2.0 diesel] 167g/km
PERFORMANCE: [2.0 diesel] 0-62 10.4s / top speed 116mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [2.0 diesel] (urban) 39.2 (extra urban) 48.7 (combined) 44.8mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: VDC stability control, ABS, twin front and side airbags