Peter Hitchener road tests and reviews the 2015 Subaru Forester.
In fact, the Subaru Forester crossover was recently named Best Family 4×4 of the Year by the respected Motors.co.uk publication.
Because, if you were to list everything you wanted in a comfortable, practical and easy to live with SUV, you wouldn’t bother - Subaru has already done it for you with the Forester.
The team at Subaru Australia handed me the keys to a diesel-powered Forester to road test – the 2015 Subaru Forester 2.0D-L, mated to the engine was Subaru’s CVT automatic transmission.
I must say, the whole package really came as a pleasant surprise.
There’s just about everything you need in a car for any/all applications – it’s high riding, offers excellent visibility, is practical, has off-road credibility – all with a minimum of fuss.
A willing torquey engine, that sets off at an energetic pace. The car rides like a dream, very pleasant to drive - or to be a passenger in - whether on short journeys or a long haul.
And because of the vehicle’s relatively modest footprint, it fits readily into the tight spaces car-parking stations provide. You sit tall, making the doors easy to negotiate.
The 2015 Subaru Forester comes with an easy to navigate multimedia system, the phone pairs in seconds - and there is plenty of choice for entertainment.
I was a fan of the dual zone air-conditioning - the controls are easy to read and reach, even when you are on the move. The layout of the dash and materials used add to the general ambience.
Loads of room behind the rear seats, comfortably accommodating golf clubs and two cases and underneath all that, a full size spare tyre - a comfort if you are heading off the beaten track.
Styling has never been a priority for the people I know who love the Subaru brand. While immensely practical and much loved by devotees, some models have looked decidedly ungainly. However, the face-lifted 2015 Subaru Forester is good looking, with a nicely proportioned, highly functional cabin.
Of course there are one or two minor quibbles. While the diesel engine is torquey off the mark, when pushed it can become rattly. While it has a reversing camera, there are no parking sensors, which can be most disconcerting especially if you’re used to them.
Fortunately I realised this before demolishing any brick walls or other vehicles while trying to park!
And I missed automatic headlights - it’s a long time since I’ve driven a car without them. Minor points I know, and first-world problems at best! However, it is the base model, and many features are added in as you move up the model range.
Safety is well covered in the Forester range – they all come with a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. The diesel variant also boasts up to a four and a half star green rating (manual versions, auto carries four star rating).
Summing it up; perhaps the only real criticism comes with the price. The long-awaited diesel engine/CVT combination is available at a $3,500 premium over the entry-level petrol model.
Starting from $33,490 for the manual and $35,490 automatic, the Subaru Forester is a genuinely good offering in a market that is rich with quality offerings, including; Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-TRAIL and Toyota RAV4.
However, for enjoyable easy-to-live-with motoring, the 2015 Subaru Forester is a truly likable vehicle that is a car for all seasons.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Subaru Forester 2.0D-L
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo diesel producing 108kW and 350Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or seven-speed CVT automatic
Warranty: Three years
Safety: Five Stars
Price: From $33,490