Big and roomy, the Subaru Forester is more of an SUV than an estate. It’s capable off-road, as well as having plenty of standard equipment.
It’s disappointing to drive, the interior is unappealing, and the 2.0-litre petrol engine lacks punch. Running costs will be high, whichever version you choose.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Don't bother yourself with the 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol version. It lacks low- and mid-range punch, which is especially noticeable if you specify an automatic gearbox. The 145bhp 2.0-litre diesel is a much better bet. It pulls strongly however many revs you give it, so it is impressively flexible.
Ride & Handling
This is where the Forester really disappoints. It runs out of grip earlier than many rivals, and you get little warning because the steering is spongy and inaccurate. True, the soft suspension is good at taking the sting out of bumps, but the Forester’s body leans heavily in bends, dives under braking and generally bounces around in an out-of-control way.
The petrol engine makes a bit of a racket because you have to rev it hard to keep your progress steady. However, it settles to a background hum when cruising. The diesel is smoother and quieter, but it still makes a racket above 3000rpm. The gearshift in both versions is notchy and imprecise.