February 28, 2019
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2011 Subaru Forester Review

2011 Subaru Forester road test and review.

It was a real pleasure really getting to know the 2011 Subaru Forester.

Be warned however, the Forester is a car you have to spend a little time in before you get a grip on just what it is, and what it can do.

Don’t take it for a five-minute test drive around the block near your local Subaru dealership, grab the keys, and spend at least an hour with it.

The reason I say this is that for the first half an hour of driving this vehicle I just didn’t like it.

It felt tight, restrained, almost hampered, and subdued.

I then got it out onto an open road and I really got an appreciation for the tremendous 2.5 litre flat four-cylinder engine under the bonnet.

It is hard to explain but the engine just feels tremendously strong.

It wants to rev, it wants you to give it a hard time, and it wants to be driven.

This is a driver’s car, get in one, and find out for yourself.

Exterior Styling

I can sum this up in one word – perfection.

Subaru have reshaped the Forester into a smoother, more aggressive shape and I think it is very attractive.

I don’t think you could find a better looking family car, well done Subaru.


There are some nice design elements here particularly the doors, seats, and console.  The dashboard is functional and well laid out but probably a little out-dated in 2011.

I particularly liked the Foresters Bluetooth system which is easy to use allowing you to make and receive completely hands free mobile phone calls.

As you would expect from Subaru everything fits nicely and appears to be made from quality materials.

The boot space is adequate, but probably a touch on the small side compared to other family orientated vehicles.

Ride and Handling

As I mentioned the Forester is a car that wants to be driven and that goes beyond just the engine.

I had the pleasure of taking the vehicle through a local National Park serviced by a winding two-lane road.

I am pleased to report the Forester was more than up to the task.

The on-road characteristics are fantastic, great ride, great handling, once again well-done Subaru.

Engine and Drivetrain

The 2.5 litre flat four in the Forester delivers 126kW of power and 235Nm of torque, figures that seem a little meek and mild compared to what the engine actually delivers.

I can’t remember the engine ever feeling less than up to the job on my test drive; however I am sure with four or five adults in the vehicle that might be a different story.

The key to this engine is to drive it, use the revs and harness the low down grunt; once you work out its characteristics you won’t be

The five speed manual gearbox has a solid, direct feel and the ratio’s appeared to be spot on.

I averaged around 9 litres per 100 kilometres combined, a fair return for the size of the vehicle.


The new Forester has a five star ANCAP safety rating; you can’t do much better than that.


I really had my dad hat on when testing the Forester and it passed the family test.

Family cars of 2011 have really improved out of sight and the Forester is a great example of this.

Here is a car that handles like a sports car, is safe and economical, has some off-road ability, is comfortable and easy to live with, is well built and designed, is not too big or too small and has a bit of excitement under the bonnet.

Overall a real winner, just make sure you give it a chance to show you how good it really is.

The Subaru Forester X S3 starts from $32,990.

For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Subaru SH Forester.

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About Joel Helmes 3678 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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