What is it?
Updated in September, Subaru’s Forester range offers plenty of depth with an entry model that doesn’t miss out on much.
The Forester range received a complete makeover, including an engine that’s 90 per cent new.
The entry 2.5i has a very good standard feature set.
As part of the makeover range has been rationalised, with the diesel given the drop punt, and a 2.5-L boxer four, with 7-speed CVT standard.
Hybrids are on the horizon but that horizon is somewhere deep in 2019.
The flat four, or “boxer” engine, doesn’t look any different from the outside.
But rev the thrummy beast to 5800 rpm and it produces 136kW — a seven percent increase on the previous model.
Peak torque, now 239Nm arrives at 4400 rpm — a minor increase.
It drinks standard 91RON fuel and averages a creditable 7.4L/100km.
What’s it cost?
Prices start at $33,490 plus on roads for the 2.5i (website says its $38,152 driveaway).
Standard across the range is SRH, or Steering Responsive Headlights.
The swivelling headlights are very handy and there is Subaru’s EyeSight system with Adaptive Cruise Control, Emergency Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure and Lane Sway Warning.
There is also a triple Pre-Collision setup with Braking, Brake Assist, and Throttle Management too.
You’ll also enjoy Subaru’s X-Mode driving system for light off-roading, and Tyre Pressure Monitoring is standard as well.
However the 2.5i does miss out on the Driver Management System, and a powered tail gate.
But DAB digital audio is included and accessed via a 6.3-inch screen, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The seats are cloth, and manually operated. It’s not a biggie but sometimes the mechanical ratchet mechanism just doesn’t cut it when it comes to getting that “just right” seating position.
Being based on a new platform means more space.
Shoulder room is up by 30mm to 1478mm,hHip and leg room have increased marginally by 5mm and 8mm.
Cargo space has increased also, with the floor width now 58mm wider, 22mm taller, and opening width has gone up by a massive 134mm to 1300mm.
Standard capacity is now 498 litres, an increase of 78 litres.
Access to the cargo area is via a powered tailgate (with memory height function), accessible via a button near the driver’s knee as well as on the remote key. Subaru have also relocated the cargo area light to the roof.
The touchscreen has piano black surrounds, the cabin is a mix of textured blacked plastics with the room lining an almost cream and bone-white mix.
Headroom is massive and the lighter colour adds to the feeling of spaciousness.
A big glasshouse helps with vision all around.
Compared to the Premium, the 2.5i rolls on 17-inch alloys and has 225/60 rubber. The alloys themselves complement the darker shades available in the palette and look good against the polyurethane body mouldings.
The new body also extends the “C” tail light motif, moving it from inside the cluster itself to the tail gate door proper.
Colour choice includes three new shades, Crimson Red pearl, Horizon Blue pearl, and metallic Jasper Green. Other colours include Crystal Black silica, Crystal White pearl, Dark Blue pearl, Dark Grey metallic, Ice Silver, and Sepia Bronze.
What’s it go like?
The exhaust on the 2.5i is a single pipe that mutes the thrum of the flat four considerably compared to the twin pipes of the Premium.
It’s mechanically identical otherwise to the Premium, meaning that if features aren’t important then you’ll have the same driving experience.
Again there was the slight hesitation under light throttle, but a rapid response under a heavy foot.
With peak torque arriving typically high in the rev range of the petrol engine, it feels as though it could use more down low. Oddly, however, it never seemed to lack for urge off the line.
The suspension is the same but perhaps more tuned for a slightly softer ride, especially with the higher sidewall.
Around town it’s an enjoyable ride and can be punted into the tighter turns, emerging with a smile on the driver’s face.
Steering is a little heavier than the Premium and infers a better sense of feedback.
Driven in the urban jungle, it never felt numb and or not engaging.
The hill descent mechanism came into play on the slopes of the Blue Mountains testing this hidden feature — again, it feels instinctive — not mechanically fake.
What we like?
- Excellent safety and equipment list
- Extra room that comes with the new platform
- All round vision
What we don’t like?
- No diesel option
- Non-powered seats
- Lack of aural appeal
The bottom line?
Compared to the Premium model, the 2.5i doesn’t miss out on much. As a car for a driver that cares naught for high end safety, knowing the EyeSight automatic braking system is standard, makes it mightily appealing.
And then there’s the cost factor — there’s quite a few dollars to be saved with this model..
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Subarun Forester 2.5i, priced from $33,490