Subaru Forester (2019) Review
Subaru Forester (2019) At A Glance
The Subaru Forester isn’t a great all-rounder. Instead, Subaru has focused on specific areas to make it the best in its field. A rather appropriate phrase, given the Forester’s all-wheel-drive technology. Forget all-rounders, the Subaru Forester is the SUV for all weathers, all roads and all conditions. Launched in 2013, the Forester was available with a choice of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, but since 2019 it has only been available as a 2.0-litre hybrid.
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The Subaru Forester isn’t a car that likes to be pigeonholed. It’s not really an SUV. It’s not even an estate car, at least not in the traditional sense. It’s a bit of both, but with the kind of go-anywhere spirit you only get with a proper 4x4.
It’s also exclusive. Although Subaru is a big deal in North America, the company occupies a tiny corner of the UK car market, with sales measured in hundreds rather than thousands. Not that this means that the Forester should be ignored. On the contrary, if you’re after a reliable, dependable and robust family car, the Forester makes a great deal of sense.
It’s a lifestyle vehicle for people who do proper lifestyle things, rather than those who have all the gear and no idea. You know the kind of people we’re talking about. Subaru Forester owners are knowledgeable outdoor types who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and their feet muddy.
Which is why the Forester comes with a hard-wearing cabin that’s been built to withstand years of abuse. Slam a mountain bike on the roof, stick your hiking boots in the luggage area, and allow your dog to shake itself dry in the back. It won’t matter, because there aren’t any soft-touch plastics or premium material to ruin.
You also get a boot large enough to rival an estate car, along with a cabin that offers plenty of headroom and legroom for four adults. The middle rear seat is fine for occasional use and children. You’ll also find loads of storage pockets, bins and compartments.
Although a pair of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines were available at launch, the diesel was dropped towards the end of the Forester’s production run, leaving just the petrol version. This was paired with a standard-fit CVT gearbox. A performance XT version was also available, offering hot hatchback levels of performance, assuming you could live with the running costs.
Which is one of the Forester’s biggest drawbacks. Although the diesel offers respectable fuel economy, the Forester is an expensive car to buy and maintain.
On the plus side, the cars are backed by a five-year warranty, which means the latest cars are still covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. We should also point out that the Subaru has an excellent reliability record, so the Forester is unlikely to let you down.
This leaves you free to enjoy the Forester’s excellent off-road skills. Although it won’t rival a Land Rover when the going gets really tough, the Forester is superb on gravel tracks, rutted roads and wet fields. It’s also brilliant on winter roads, thanks to Subaru’s excellent all-wheel-drive system.
Through into the mix a generous level of standard equipment and you’ve got the hallmarks of an excellent family car. It’s not the cheapest car you can buy, but it’s likely to be one of the most reliable. It will also keep going long after your neighbour’s crossover has been rendered useless by a light dusting of snow. This is an all-weather and all-season SUV.