APART from Land Rover the Japanese motor manufacturer Subaru has arguably the most distinguished history of producing four wheel drive cars with both excellent on and off road capabilities writes Bryan Longworth.
I have been an admirer of the four wheel drive qualities of Subaru cars since they were first imported into the UK over 30 years ago and the company organised a driving event for motoring journalists on steep and very muddy farmland in the southern Penines where the cars showed amazing traction potential.
Since then Subaru has established a top reputation for producing four wheel drive all weather vehicles in particular with owners including a duchess from one of the country’s top aristocratic families.
One of their most popular models has been the Forester SUV and I have just been testing the new fourth generation model which is expected to become the most popular model in the Subaru range.
The new model has more purposeful and rugged styling especially up front where the vehicle has plenty of street appeal and overall the new Forester is larger than the model it has replaced.
It was the Forester 2.0D XC costing £26,999 powered by a 2.0-litre Boxer diesel engine with six speed manual transmission that had a top speed of 118mph a zero to 62mph time of 10.2mph time and a combined fuel consumption of 49.6 mpg.
My test period coincided with the hurricane and monsoon-like weather conditions and several trips over debris strewn and very wet steep and slippery Peak District moorland roads proved that the Forester’s all wheel drive system kept the vehicle on the move at all times and I felt very safe and secure despite the mayhem outside.
New Forester which is larger and roomier than the previous model handled competently and the improved and very well equipped interior provided a very user friendly and comfortable environment with the engine providing an impressive power output that was more than a match for everything Mother Nature came up with.
Standard equipment was extensive and included an eight way power assisted driver’s seat, rear vision camera system, heated front seats and a sunroof but the satellite navigation was an optional extra.
The rear load area is larger than in the previous model and there is ample room for holiday luggage and other large items with a space saver spare wheel undeerneath and the top model has a powered tailgate.
My only niggle with the test car concerned the radio when listening to my favourite local radio station and it kept switching to other stations but apart from that I really enjoyed my time with the Forester especially when the weather was at its worst when it coped admirably.
As mentioned earlier Subaru has established a very respected reputation in the UK since their cars arrived here and the latest Forester will maintain this and should also attract new owners to the marque despite the intense competition in this market sector.
My Verdict: A hurricane beater
Model: Subaru Forester 2.0D XC.
Engine: 2.0-litre Boxer diesel.
Output: 146bhp @ 3600rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 118mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.2 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 49.6mpg combined.