A Subaru is a car of unique character and personality. Last but not least because of its excellent engineering, the way it is conceived and built. At the end of it all, there is also this boxer engine, which makes Subaru truly stand out from the rest. We drove the Forester with the 2 litre diesel version of this legendary boxer, and were truly smitten by it...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
At Subaru, the engineers have it all. Notably Hiroyuki Kyriuu, the development engineer of the drivetrain of the Forester, has developed the so-called symmetrical FWD. This means that all the mechanical elements are symmetrically placed on either side, and of course the mechanical layout of the boxer engine lends itself to this ideally.
All this shines very well through when you drive the Subaru: a wonderful balance and smoothness pervades everything this car does.
This also translates in an uncanny surefootedness, and excellent grip on slippery surfaces. Come ice, sleet or snow, off road or not, you are safe behind the wheel of a Subaru. But that is not all. The well balanced chassis and suspension make steering the Subaru over winding country roads a pleasure. It offers precise steering and altogether very sound and neutral handling, in combination with very adequate comfort.
The permanent four wheel drive is of course excellent in this respects. Of course, the brakes are very much up to their job.
The heart of any car is its engine, as we all know. And beneath the skin of a Subaru beats a mighty one. The boxer. In my student years, my love affair with this type of engine began.
I then drove a 30 HP 1,2 litre beetle. I loved its sound, its unmistakable, typical throb. Its lack of any vibrations, which i still appreciate so much that i consider smooth running a "must"for any engine. This time in the Subaru, the boxer is a diesel unit with truly ample torque and power, combined with a beautiful, deep sound. The 147 HP or 108 kW and 350 Nm of torque make the Forester a lively performer. 0 to 100 will take 10,2 seconds and top speed is a good 190 km/h. The unit revs quite freely for a diesel, but of course it is hardly worth pulling higher in the gears.
Power is transmitted through a six speed manual transmission, which pleases with very slick and precise changes. Keeping the engine into the proper rev ranges also helps economy greatly, and this resulted in an average test consumption of 5,8 litres 100 km. a very good value if one considers that the car is equipped with permanent four wheel drive...
The cabin interior is also well finished, and offers a more upmarket ambiente than we used to see in previous Subaru's. The classic round dials are much to our liking, and the dashboard lay-out and positioning of knobs and handles are well thought out. One feels well at home in the new Forester.
Seating is excellent, with ample adjustment, and it is easy to find this ideal position behind the wheel for those long trips.
The Subaru is a car full of character, a road companion with plenty of personality which will grow on you when time goes on. It offers no frills handling, surefootedness and excellent balance. Mechanical refinement is also at the rendez-vous, and
last but not least there is this boxer engine, so endearing, just for the sheer sound of it we love it already...
Hans Knol ten Bensel