The Subaru Forester was something of a cult hero in evo’s early days. While there’s no longer an STI model on sale, the Forester itself has soldiered on, providing capable transport for those who actually intend to get places, rather than pose on the high street.
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What doesn’t change is the engine lineup, comprising a 148bhp naturally-aspirated 2-litre boxer petrol, a 145bhp 2-litre diesel, and a range-topping 238bhp turbocharged petrol. Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive is standard across the range.
Unfortunately the fun factor of the latter is stymied by a ‘Lineartronic’ continuously-variable transmission (recently tried in the Subaru Levorg), but with a 7.5sec 0-62mph time and 137mph top speed it’s still respectably brisk. With no mechanical changes, you can also expect the diesel to return the same claimed 47.9mpg as its predecessor (in manual form).
Subaru claims improved ride quality thanks to small suspension changes, while the steering should be sharper with a 14:1 ratio rather than the previous 15.5:1.
Both exterior and interior receive gentle changes. Outside, that includes a new ‘wing’ motif to the hexagonal grille design, a reshaped front bumper and new L-shaped chrome trim aspects. There are minor changes to the headlamps too, while the tail lamps now feature LED lighting.
The interior features quality improvements, with wider use of soft-touch materials, a mixture of piano black and metallic-finish trim, as well as improved, higher-resolution TFT displays. Buyers can also select between new cloth and leather upholstery options.
Making all this easier to appreciate is extra soundproofing – achieved through the use of thicker glass in the side windows, new seals and extra soundproofing material behind the dashboard. Safety has improved too, with LED adaptive front lights and a raft of airbags.
Pricing starts at £25,495 for the 2-litre petrol in XE trim, rising to £30,995 for the 2.0 DIT XT Lineartronic. Diesel models start at £26,995 in XC trim.