The rather utilitarian Subaru Forester is one of the last remaining rugged SUVs. It was facelifted in 2016 to hold the line against more modern rivals such as the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V.
Off-road ability is one of the Forester’s calling cards and the standard four-wheel-drive system is much better at providing traction in slippery conditions than many of its rivals. The drawback is that the Subaru feels quite dated on road with its leaning body and overly soft suspension.
There’s ample passenger room and the boot can hold as much as rivals, but there are areas of the interior where the Forester falls behind – mainly in design and material choice.
The engine range is also stuck in the past with a choice between a petrol engine that’s gutless, the same engine fitted with a turbo making it thirsty; or a diesel. Only the latter is a worthwhile offering, blending strong pulling power with decent fuel economy.
Equipment on entry-level models is comparable to rivals, so you get an infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, climate control, rear-view camera, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and cruise control.
It's the perfect car for a dog owner or an outdoorsy person
Those seeking a stylish interior, memorable looks and a dazzling drive may not be wowed by the idea of Forester ownership. Nevertheless, don’t completely rule it out – its proper four-wheel drive system and hewn-from-rock build quality are sure to appeal to people looking for a proper four-wheel drive SUV with second-to-none reliability.
As a car that will be able to transport family and luggage in relative comfort, while resisting wear and tear like few others – the Subaru is definitely worth considering.