More efficient Forester
The all-wheel-drive Subaru range of vehicles has always been well regarded for their stability and traction but often at the expense of fuel economy.
To combat this perception the Japanese manufacturer has developed a horizontally-opposed four-cylinder all-aluminium diesel which offers more than enough power but with excellent fuel economy.
Interestingly all the Subaru diesels including the Forester are European specification which means the indicators and wipers are on the “wrong” side of the steering wheel (just like the diesel Toyota Corolla and Toyota RAV-4 models) and although it had pleasant cloth seats, the diesel Forester had seat heaters for the driver and passenger.
The new diesel engine produces 350 Nm of torque at 1800 rpm, giving it the ability to put most of the power into its four wheels at little more than tick over. At the same time the six speed manual gearbox has a distinct advantage for the diesel engine with closer ratios to suit the power band.
This is particularly noticeable on the road as the Forester diesel always runs smoothly, whether it’s low speed crawling in traffic, or cruising at the speed limits on the motorway.
Although the latest Forester is higher than the previous model with 215 mm of ground clearance – the engine and gearbox are 10 mm lower than on the previous model to give a lower centre of gravity.
It sticks like a limpet to the tarmac although there’s still some body lean in cornering.
The latest Forester has a completely new platform with a 90 mm longer wheelbase, tracks widened by 35 mm front and 45 mm rear and a sophisticated multi-link, double wishbone rear suspension.
At the same time off-road ability is aided by better approach and departure angles than those of its predecessor, and at 25 degrees back and front it compares well in its segment.
Hill climbing is easy thanks to the hill start assist feature, which allows the Forester to remain stopped on an incline by only depressing the clutch pedal, and without having to use the brake.
A VDC (vehicle dynamics control) stability programme is fitted but this can be switched off when going off-road to allow some wheelspin without limiting power, although the traction control effect remains.
The Forester is a very comfortable and well specified vehicle with self-levelling rear suspension; fuel-saving electric power steering; front, side and curtain airbags; four electric windows; 60/40-split rear seats with reclining back-rests; climate-control air conditioning; radio/CD player with MP3 capability and an AUX input; front fog lamps; vehicle information display; height and reach-adjustment steering wheel; heated front seats (the driver’s height adjustable), and cruise control, this and the sound system with satellite controls on the steering wheel..
What’s more it’s a roomy vehicle, with lots of legroom and headroom front and rear, plus a large 450 litre load area that grows to 1660 litres with the seats folded flat.
The Forester has exceptional rear visibility, and a 1 metre tall child is visible just two metres or more from the rear bumper – contrast this to the four or five metres from many other 4WDs.
Add in remote central locking via the key, and immobilisers, a DataDot security system, and a 3 year/unlimited warranty, and it becomes even more appealing.
Subaru Forester Diesel
Friday, 30 March 2012