Renowned for their AWD and boxer engines the Subaru Forester has taken another leap forward with the introduction of what is essentially a WRX STI on steroids with tweaked suspension.
The Forester S has a purposeful look with silver roof rails, exclusive 17-inch STI wheels, bonnet scoop and spoiler. The test vehicle came in WR Blue, which is a limited time option but matches the sport interior with a blue tone Alcantara and leather seat trim, S-Edition seat embroidery and blue stitching, sporty instrument display and blue-tone foot lights.
The seats have a soft feel and the electrically adjustable drivers seat has good travel but could do with more lumbar support. The height adjustable leather steering wheel has controls for stereo and cruise control with paddle shifts that are a waste of time. Even with the sunroof there was plenty of headroom for me at 192cm tall.
In fact the whole car has a spacious feel, with plenty of headroom, fantastic visibility and stylish colour toning.
The dash is a surprise when you first turn on the car but you quickly get used to the luminescent instruments and the clarity. There are heaps of storage areas cleverly laid out with bottle holders in the doors, cup holders and bins in the centre console and a decent glove box.
Entertainment is provided by a combination radio, AUX input, single dash CD unit that includes the Sat Nav and is Bluetooth compatible. The reversing camera also displays through the centre screen.
Rear seat passengers have semi individually sculptured seats with fold out cup holders in the centre and adequate door storage. Leg, shoulder and headroom are all good, more so for two rather than three.
Boot space is immensely practical with 60/40 fold flat rear sets with push buttons fold at the rear, low load height, cargo blind, four tie down points, a 12v plug and a clever idea, two hooks for shopping bags. The spare is underneath the boot floor.
The engine is a re-tuned version of the WRX’s turbocharged 2.5-litre Boxer engine producing 193 Kw of power and 347 Nm of torque. This combines with a specially tuned version of the five-speed paddle shift transmission from the automatic WRX STI.
It uses a higher gear ratio to suit vehicle characteristics and the gearbox includes Subaru’s Variable Torque Distribution All-Wheel Drive system.
The Forester S can really lift her skirt and run fast and the suspension damping is specifically tuned for the S-Edition. Pushed hard there is a little scrubbing but there is no denying this car is FUN.
On dirt the AWD and power balance means it is composed and allows for spirited driving. On sand it is simply awesome. Towing capacity is a reasonable 1600Kg, which is enough for a small camper or seadoos.
If you are after a daily driver that provides a sporty drive experience and still allows that outdoor lifestyle to be honest they don’t come much better than the Forester S Edition.
What is good:
· 5 Speed Auto STI Boxer combination
· Stylish good looks
· ‘Australian Tuned’ handling
What is not so good:
· Height adjustable only steering wheel
· Lumbar support for driver
· Heavy right foot means heavy fuel use
Model Subaru Forester S Edition
Model Price $55,557 RDAP
Drivetrain AWD 2.5L Boxer 5 peed auto
Power 193 Kw @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 347 Nm @ 2,800 – 4,800 rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions 248 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 3 ½ Star
Economy (ADR comb) 10.5 L/100km
Tow Capacity – Max 1600 kg
Tow Ball Rating 160 kg
Servicing $Not Supplied
Warranty 3yr/unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 86/100
Behind the Wheel 8
Ride & Handling 9
Fit for Purpose 10
Towing Ability 8
Off Road Ability 6
Value for Money 9