Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Subaru - Forester - range

Our Opinion

We like
Nomadic versatility, superb all-terrain ride and ability, lofty and comfortable cabin
Room for improvement
No hot STI variant yet


Click to see larger images

24 Feb 2016

OUR time in the updated Forester was all too brief, especially given the baron South Australian surroundings that extended almost infinitely in all directions, and the hammering rain that promised to turn any off-road surface into prime Subaru terrain.

We had been slotted into a $39,490 before on-road costs 2.5i-S and pointed in the direction of what its name would suggest is the Forester's natural habitat, for a morning testing both its ability to carve up a variety of byways while insulating its occupants from the elements.

On the road, the improvements to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) are obvious and even when negotiating coarse-chip surfaces the interior remained a serene and pleasant place to spend extended lengths of time.

Subaru says the use of more insulation, thicker window glass and revised door seals has curbed NVH by five per cent compared with the outgoing version and we believe them.

Not much has changed inside for the update, including the driving position, which is easy to adjust to the perfect posture and we liked the well presented graphics in the various vehicle information screens that are scattered around the dash.

The main central screen displays navigation and entertainment functions, the pair of smaller dash-top windows have climate control on the left and trip information on the right, while a fourth screen between the gauges presents the driver with vehicle information.

The Forester's interior fit, finish, ergonomics, comfort and equipment gets a big tick from us. As does the mild exterior restyle which brings sharp C-shaped LED running lights at the front, a re-sculpted bumper and cooler clear LED tail-lights at the back.

With many arrow-straight cruising roads, our test track could hardly be described as circuit-like, but a few twisty bits did reveal the Foresters nicely weighted steering and seemingly boundless grip, even when the unsealed surface was drenched.

We have always been a staunch advocate for Subaru's true symmetrical four-wheel drive system and we are not about to change that opinion any time soon.

One big improvement is to the Forester's steering, which has been quickened from 15.5:1 to 14:1, resulting in a far more car-like feel.

Throw the Forester into a corner and you will get some roll, but less than expected from a car with its height and ground clearance (1735mm and 220mm respectively). More surprising was its ability to resist pitch and dive under heavy braking and acceleration.

That positive attribute extends off road too, where its exemplary body control allows rapid progress even over some unsavoury terrain. We like the manner in which the Forester absorbs severe jolts and suspension compression, recovers and carries on without complaint.

Damp sand, shallow water splashes, rock mud and wet grass couldn't unhinge the Forester's talon-like grip on the country – a feature that would inspire owners with the confidence to explore further.

At no point did the Forester threaten to loose traction but we flicked into the X-Mode just for the hell of it. The full colour information display shifts from standard vehicle information to more off-road orientation and hill descent is activated automatically.

We did not get a chance to sample any of the other engines on offer in the Forester range, including the diesel or turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol XT, which seems like a good fit for the model with 177kW and a hearty 350Nm.

While the 2.5-litre flat-four petrol is not exactly asthmatic, with two people and minimal luggage it is adequate, but with a full family and/or trailer in tow, the 2.5 may struggle.

We might not have warmed to CVTs in high-performance applications, but with the 2.5's 126kW and 235Nm, the automatic works better, particularly off road when a smoother application of power is critical.

Of course any power paranoia would be alleviated by a full-fat STI version which would likely borrow the turbocharged 2.5-litre from the WRX STI, but until Subaru confirms the variant, we will have to make do with the warmed-up tS version arriving later this year.

For now though, the lightly refreshed Forester is looking like an attractive package of comfort, safety and driving enjoyment with a careful balance of both on and off-road potential.

Where many SUVs and crossovers have a clear lean to either a life on the black-top or being put to work in the paddock, the Forester is arguably the one that straddles the line most convincingly.

Other manufacturers have gone to extremes to push the performance of their SUVs, others concentrate on outright luxury, fuel economy or mountain-scaling athleticism, but Subaru's Forester is an admirable exercise in adequacy. And if you believe Subaru, it is the one that started it all.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Forester

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Forester pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here