Subaru has come up trumps, with its Forester winning a comparison test against six other medium SUVs (Sport’s Utility Vehicles) conducted by New Zealand 4WD magazine.
The 2.5 litre Forester with permanent symmetrical All Wheel Drive headed off the Mazda CX5, Ford Kuga and Nissan X Trail models of similar specification. A Holden Captiva, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4 were also involved in the comparison.
The test was carried out on tarmac and gravel roads and Muriwai Beach, north west of Auckland where the seven judges assessed the participants over nine different categories.
Judges were impressed by the Forester’s all round ability where it was top or equal top in eight of the nine categories. It particularly stood out in four areas – ride and refinement, powertrain performance, road holding and handling and overall fitness for purpose –according to NZ 4WD magazine.
It has a “good (driving) position, good visibility and easy reach to the controls,” said one tester. There is a “good quiet ride, with top braking, and it sat well on all road types.”
Others liked the “good power delivery, especially mid-range, makes it a joy to drive. Gearbox is good with great manual override (paddles).”
“The traction control worked well, ABS brakes good and seemed to bite well in gravel. Good audio system with large touch screen with navigation and hands-free easy to pair to phone. What you would expect from Subaru.
The Forester’s assured manners in all road conditions also found favour. “Handles well on gravel, doesn’t object to crossing ruts and can keep relatively good speed without stepping outside the comfort zone of most drivers. All round strong handling, including braking, and feels sturdy and well-balanced.”
The Forester is available in six different models with two litre and 2.5 litre petrol engines, a 2 litre turbo diesel and a two litre petrol turbo motor, with pricing from $39,990 and overall fuel economy as little as 7.2 litres/100 km.
In April 2015 the diesel models will join the rest of the range with Subaru Lineartronic transmissions as standard. Automatic stop/start engine technology saves fuel. There are 7 airbags, rear-view reverse camera, and rigid passenger safety cell. Like every Subaru, the Forester has the maximum five-star ANCAP crashworthiness rating for occupant safety.
It features 220mm of ground clearance and the new X-Mode standard on SLT models helps get you further still with increased off-road functionality.
The Forester was the recipient of the NBR Crossover Car of the Year in 2013 and has won numerous other Car of the Year or category awards in recent times.