Expert Review - Subaru Forester SJ Facelift (2016-Present)
29 April 2016
The Subaru Forester is a good all-rounder that feels just as home on the city streets as it does off-road. Featuring the familiar Subaru DNA of a boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, the Forester also comes with an impressive safety package and a comfortable ride. However, it does command a slight premium over its rivals and isn't the best when it comes to handling.
The 2.0 litre four-cylinder boxer unit provides 150 PS and 198 Nm, provides enough thrust to shift the 1.5-tonne heft. However, the CVT mated to it isn't the most responsive and suffers from the "rubber band" effect. Not a deal breaker unless rapid acceleration is your preferred method of daily driving.
Ride & Handling
Revisions to the suspension make the Forester a very comfortable SUV to be in. Thick tyres further help to cushion bumps and wrinkles found on the road. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive keeps things in check through the corners, and will even step in to cut power from a wheel to ensure maximum traction. Steering feels a little vague.
Additional insulation and thicker glass helps improve NVH levels in the cabin by a considerable amount. Road and wind noises are largely kept at bay and barely noticeable. The leather-upholstered seats are comfortable but could do with additional padding and lumbar adjustment. Rear seating can be reclined a little but lacks second-row air-con vents.
The Forester is well equipped across the variant range with seven airbags (dual front, sides and curtains, driver's knee), Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Hill Start Assist, ring-shaped reinforcement frame and ABS (with EBD and BA).
Spacious cabin with large windows that provides an airy feel to things. All passengers have sufficient legroom and access to various stowage spaces. Boot space is a respectable 422 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats placed up, and comes with a tonneau cover.
The Subaru Forester is good value of money, and certainly comes well equipped to make its case. LED headlamps, a capable all-wheel drive boxer powertrain, off-road capabilities and a pleasant interior (with a Kenwood headunit) means you won't feel you're lacking anything. Some may like a sunroof, to match the car's go-anywhere attitude.