Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Forester an All-Weather Friend; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Forester an All-Weather Friend; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK JAMES

YOU can almost feel yourself yearning for a return of the Beast from the East when you climb into a Subaru Forester.

Subaru is renowned for its off-road, four wheel drive capability and the Forester is first among equals on that score. Long seen as virtually indestructible.

But the snow didn't come, so putting the four wheel drive capability to the test in the ice and snow never came to pass.

So no chance to try out the X-Mode with hill descent control, which, when activated, takes command of the engine, transmission, symmetrical all-wheel drive, brakes, and other components to provide the best traction and grip in difficult conditions.

In addition, hill descent moderates speed and braking for you when going downhill, allowing you to concentrate on steering.

So, a full-fat offroader with the aerodynamics of a London Routemaster bus, but the vehicle has real road presence.

Not only for its still robust and boxy shape, despite tweaks to the styling but also the fact that you don't see too many of them on the road in the UK, although they sell plenty worldwide. Now in its fourth generation it is slightly more aerodynamic than predecessors with more of an SUV type presence, with neat alloys, smart light clusters and integrated roof bars.

Powered by a 150bhp petrol engine on this model performance is hardly startling, but definitely adequate and it offers excellent torque to deliver good towing capability and for the all-important off-road challenges.

Drive is via the Lineatronic variable transmission, which is pretty smooth, but it still takes around 11 second to hit 60mph and it can get noisy under hard acceleration.

For a more engaging drive, there is a sport option through the SI-Drive selector, switching to sport sharpens things up, while paddles can be used for gear selection, something I found pretty superfluous to be honest. …

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