Long term tests

Subaru Forester 2.5 XT

My ride has been pimped! The new 17in Prodrive wheels have finally been fitted, and along with the extra 'bling factor' there's the promise of loads more grip to play with. The new wheels came fitted with 225/50 Pirelli P6000s and ready balanced, so it was all of five minutes' work for the boys at IM Group in West Bromwich to fit them. This 'WR Sport wheel package' is available from any Subaru dealer, priced £1191.48.

My ride has been pimped! The new 17in Prodrive wheels have finally been fitted, and along with the extra 'bling factor' there's the promise of loads more grip to play with. The new wheels came fitted with 225/50 Pirelli P6000s and ready balanced, so it was all of five minutes' work for the boys at IM Group in West Bromwich to fit them. This 'WR Sport wheel package' is available from any Subaru dealer, priced £1191.48.

Once off the ramps, the new rims in their 'bright flitter' finish instantly made the Forester look more the polished, aggressive hot hatch chaser it is. Driving back to the office, my initial feeling was of disappointment, as the new boots robbed the Forester of its original comedy handling. This may not sound very 'evo', but the combination of the original 16in wheels and high-sided Yokohama Geolandars made it such a giggle to drive: every corner gave you another excuse to get the tyres screeching. But the wheel and tyre package make it a much more competent fast-roader. You can now lean on the all-wheel grip like never before, and when pushed to its limits the Forester hangs on incredibly well for an estate car on stilts.

In fact the car's height is now even more apparent. Whereas before the tyres would slide out from beneath you, now they bite into the surface and make the ever increasing degrees of bodyroll more noticeable. Which makes it even more astonishing for passengers (and other drivers) when you punch out of a corner on full throttle and the thing just squats and heads for the horizon. No-one who sets foot in the plain-Jane estate expects such an attack on their senses, and that makes this Q-car much more appealing than it looks.

Running Costs

Date acquiredNovember 2004
Total mileage6982
Costs this month£1191.48 (see text)
Mileage this month1310
MPG this month24.2mpg
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