Lifestyle

Road test: Subaru Forester XT is maturity meets athleticism

Subaru's Forester XT has some get up and go.
Subaru's Forester XT has some get up and go. Newsdesk Media

CREATE a niche within the booming market. That is the tactic behind Subaru's new turbocharged Forester.

Sports utility vehicles are growing more than any passenger car segment and have become the hot new millennium family chariot.

The Japanese carmaker says it is putting the sport back in SUVs with the XT Forester.

Compared to the outgoing model, there's more space, better specification, extra power, additional torque and greater fuel efficiency (by nearly 20%).

The XT starts at $43,490 plus on roads - $12,500 more than the non-turbo entry-level Forester.

Comfort

Across the Forester range there is an airier cabin with greater peripheral vision.

It's a thoughtful yet basic cabin design which adopts a predominantly black colour scheme.

While soft touch materials are installed across the dash, some hard plastics are used in the centre console and door tops. They don't detract from the interior appeal which is functional and offers ease of living.

There are two up holders in the centre console along with bottle holders in the doors and a useful storage spot in front of the gear shifter.

Head and leg room is good, those in the back will especially appreciate the improved space over its predecessor.

The seats up front are comfortable but lack extra bolstering at the base - which results in some slide if the driver gets willing in the corners.

On the road

Strong and linear in its power delivery, the XT offers some impressive punch but doesn't quite have a knockout blow.

Overtaking is done with ease and those who like to dominate traffic light departure will appreciate the 2.0-litre turbo's immediate response.

The continuously variable automatic transmission is one of the best we've sampled. It's intuitive, smooth and quiet.

Three drive modes are available, Sport (best for the majority of conditions), Intelligent (good on the highway and when you want to be frugal on fuel) and Sport# (for when you want to unleash the beast).

Subaru has firmed the suspension to match the sporting intentions, yet the Forester XT manages to soak up the bumps well. It still can't defy gravity, and there is some body roll when you quicken into the bends while the steering feel is light.

What do you get?

On the complimentary list is a MP3 compatible CD stereo with six speakers and steering wheel controls, cruise control, sunroof, dual zone climate control air conditioning, three 12V power jacks, 18-inch alloys and full size spare.

Spending the extra $7000 for the Premium model adds an automatic cargo door, auto lights and wipers, sat-nav, EyeSight driver assist system, Harman Kardon entertainment system, heated front seats, push-button start with smart key entry and leather trim.

ANCAP testing has given all Foresters a five-star safety rating.

Other options

There really are few competitors in price and performance, the closest being the Volvo XC60 T5 ($55,490), Range Rover Evoque Si4 Pure ($59,895) and the Volkswagen 155TSI ($42,990). With the premium variant, it could even come up against the BMW X3 (from $59,000) or the Audi Q3 TFSI (from $56,000).

Practicality

Braked towing capacity increases by 200 kilograms to 1800kg and it also features towing stability control. There is space for five adults, although four is a comfortable fit.

The back seats have a 60-40 fold, and the anchorage points are in the seatbacks rather than being roof mounted.

Running costs

Insurance would need investigation, some companies still frown upon turbocharged petrols depending on age and history. Subaru is highly regarded for reliability and quality post-sales service.

Funky factor

The bonnet scoop is gone, and other than badging there isn't much to distinguish the XV from its more sedate stablemates.

Subaru believes this broadens its appeal to the target market of mums and dads.

The lowdown

Subaru has targeted families seeking some decent shove from a turbocharged engine and bypassed the performance-focused. The Forester XT is extremely capable on the open road, on testing gravel surfaces or in the city with impressive dynamics and a practical cabin suitable for the growing family.

The writer was Subaru's guest in Victoria.

What matters most

The good stuff: Punchy acceleration, good reputation and reliability history, interior space and improved vision.

What we'd like to see: Soft-touch materials on the doors, greater steering feel, more external bling to show off its force-fed credentials.

Warranty and servicing: Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is every six months or 12,500km. Servicing is not capped, but Subaru's suggested retail prices average at $397.46 per service over five years.

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Subaru Forester XT.

Details: Five-door medium-size all-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer producing maximum power of 177kW @ 5600rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 2400-3600rpm.

Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.

Consumption: 8.5 litres/100km.

CO2: 197g/km.

Performance: 0-100kmh in 7.5 seconds.

Towing capacity: 1800kg; tow ball 180kg.

Bottom line: XT $43,490; Premium $50,490 plus on-roads.

Topics:  forester motoring road test subaru



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Hostel is 'bad for business', owners say

LOSING CUSTOMERS: De Vyne Hair Studio owner Brady Jones says his North Booval business is struggling because of a neighbouring hostel.

North Booval hostel Christine Court under fire from business owner

COMMENT: Bring on the cooler nights

The RSPCA are informing owners on the impotance of keeping your pets cool and well hydrated this summer. Photo: Inga Williams / The Satellite

I for one can honestly say I'm ready for this cool change to come

Last ditch effort to adopt families for Christmas

Karen McCoombes launches this years Adopt a Family Appeal.

There are still 30 families in desperate need of help

Local Partners

Nominations now open for next Member for Lockyer

Following Ian Rickuss' announcement that he will not be contesting the next state election, the LNP is today opening nominations for the seat of Lockyer.


Proud local to headline Carols by Candlelight

Troy Cassar-Daley is back home in the Clarence Valley to perform and promote his book and album 'Things I Carry Around' this weekend.

Troy Cassar-Daley to headline Mayor's Carols By Candlelight

CHRISTMAS SHUT DOWNS: Art Gallery's holiday hiatus

Explore the tunnels and slides made entirely from 56,000 metres of packing tape designed and created by artist Eric Lennartson direct from the US!

Council advises of Christmas-New Year shut downs for CBD attractions

Top 5 Christmas events around Ipswich

The Twighlight Christmas Parade was just the first of many events around the region.

THERE are plenty of exciting Christmas activities coming up.

Proud local to headline Carols by Candlelight

Troy Cassar-Daley is back home in the Clarence Valley to perform and promote his book and album 'Things I Carry Around' this weekend.

Troy Cassar-Daley to headline Mayor's Carols By Candlelight

ABC's Fresh Blood graduates are a Skit Box full of laughs

Sarah Bishop, Greta Lee Jackson and Adele Vuko in a scene from the TV series Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am.

ALL-female comedy trio hitting the mark with new sketch show.

Kim Kardashian West said to be looking for a divorce

Kim Kardashian West is looking to file for divorce from her husband

HBO announces which show will replace Game of Thrones

Diana Rigg, Natalie Dormer, and Hannah Waddingham in a scene from Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones is definitely not coming back next April

Adele's Carpool Karaoke biggest viral hit on YouTube in 2016

The video has already attracted more than 135 million views

What's on the big screen this week

TJ Miller and Jason Bateman in a scene from the movie Office Christmas Party.

A COMEDY about a rowdy office Christmas party hits cinemas today.

Council opens up on 'secret' private development companies

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

REVEALED: Timeline for CBD redevelopment

The new redevelopment of the CBD will take place in stages.

Lindsay gives the good oil on when the work will begin

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

PHOTOS: World class CBD to lift Ipswich

An artist's impressions of the future Ipswich city mall.

Grand plans to transform city heart unveiled today

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!