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Subaru Forester

Does diesel 4x4 bring something new?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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The Forester certainly isn’t as brash as some of its SUV competitors – and it shows. The £20,295 starting price does seem a bit expensive, but the cost of ownership will be significantly less than for most of its counterparts, which is undoubtedly a major selling point.

Get set to rattle a few cages – Subaru says it’s ready to take on the big boys with a new diesel-powered evolution of its Forester.

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To back up that claim, the firm has revealed some seriously wallet-friendly figures for the latest SUV. With 44.8mpg fuel economy, emissions of 167g/km and insurance group nine, the all-wheel-drive Forester promises some of the class’s cheapest running costs. Subaru has also given the model a new six-speed manual transmission, revised multi-link rear suspension, sharp steering and impressive standard kit. Behind the wheel, the Forester is refreshingly simple and easy to use. The dashboard doesn’t shout quality, but the layout is clear, with three chunky heater controls and an audio, sat-nav and vehicle info screen.

Fire up the newcomer and the oil-burning lump clatters into life. It sounds a little more rattly than conventional diesel engines, but it is nonetheless smooth and delivers a useful 350Nm of torque. Out on the road, the Forester performs best when worked hard. It feels most responsive between 2,000 and 3,000rpm, although if you let the revs drop below 1,500rpm, it fails to accelerate with the same gusto as its competitors. The ride is comfortable – certainly when cruising – yet the Forester lacks composure over rough surfaces. While it’s competent enough off the tarmac, its springy ride doesn’t inspire confidence through tight bends and on poor roads. Niggles aside, the new model is a worthy effort. It doesn’t have the best interior, while it’s not the most composed choice on the streets. But it offers real off-road heritage – and those economy and emissions figures are welcome in the SUV market.

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