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



Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Plenty of likes for 'Sliding Home'

'Sliding Home'

Here is this week's Facebook cover image as chosen by you.

Bikie killer sentenced for bashing child sex offender

Shane Michael Oulds, faced Rockhampton District Court charged with grievous bodily harm over an assault at the Capricornia Correctional Centre last year.

In a vigilante move, this murderer committed a 'violent attack'

Local Partners

Show legend returns to post after being run over by float

FOR absolute total dedication to the Ipswich Show look no further than 85-year-old Kalbar farmer Syd Haag.


Paddinton Bear is coming to Ipswich

IN TOWN: Annette Kitching plays the part of Paddington Bear in The Cute Little Bear From Peru at the Incinerator Theatre.

FAVOURITE children's character set to delight in new show

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

IPSWICH SHOW: What's on at the showgrounds today

Ipswich Show 2017. Sasha Bondzulic and Kirra Peel.

THE show fun continues today with plenty of rides, games and stunts

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Deputy Premier makes massive call on controversial sand mine

Aerial view of the proposed Forest Glen sand mine.

BREAKING: State Government makes huge call on Coast sand mine plans

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!