If Car Couture is giving out prizes for the oddest moment of the year, it must surely have occured this morning when I came back to the Forester after a long run.
Wiltshire has plenty of quiet spots but the behind a Subaru on a hectic B-road is obviously not one of them. I went to open the boot and stumbled across a woman who was relieving herself on the kerb!
She picked the Forester over a BMW 3 Series estate and a SEAT Leon because it is much taller and provides a good deal more cover. Obviously, not enough in this instance!
Final day with the Subaru. In a nutshell – loads of space, practical interior and genuine off-road ability, without the bling. On the downside, it won’t appeal to image-conscious buyers, the prices look a little high and the engine is noisy when pushed hard.
Despite that, I’d buy one over a ‘pretty’ SUV anyday.
The best two words to sum up the Forester? Rugged and reliable. Yes, if you want chrome tailpipes and fancy stuff, go buy a Ford Kuga. You’ll regret it in the long run if you hanker for an SUV that actually does what it is meant to do.
There are times when I wish the Forester had a bit more style but I’d really rather go for substance when buying a four-wheel drive – especially one that is obviously built to withstand whatever you can throw at it.
The 2013 version is a little noisy when pushed hard under acceleration but we’re still managing 42mpg in everyday use. This is helped by the six-speed gearbox, which is surprisingly slick for a chunky estate.
OK, so it doesn’t go around a corner with the poise of a Honda CR-V but the chances are you will be carrying a large dog, or a couple of sheep in the back anyway.
And it’s all backed up by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty too. What more could you want?
It’s slightly off-putting that a car I enjoy driving as much as the Forester suffers from a problem I’ve discovered in other vehicles recently – a poor quality key.
I know nobody actually uses a key in the conventional sense anymore, you just press a button. However, you really have to know the three buttons on the Subaru key intimately if you are going to avoid a frustrating game of ‘press the key’ every time you try to get in.
The symbols on the buttons are so small, it’s really difficult to decipher which one does what. And with the nights closing in, it’s easy to mistakenly press unlock, rather than boot open or just lock!
The problem would be eased by the buttons being illuminated. They are not. Yes I do have poor eyesight but I would imagine a good 50 per cent of Forest drivers wear glasses too.
Sometimes it’s the silly little problems that annoy car owners the most and this is one problem that would be so simple to solve too…
It’s lashing down in the Cotswolds – it must be to mark the arrival of our Subaru SUV. Summer ended last week and I’m mightily happy to be splashing through the ever-deepening puddles in the Forester.
This is definitely the sort of car that lives and breathes bad weather. You could say it looks better splattered in mud than clean – even the interior seems to have been designed for bad weather too!
There are loads of storage spaces and cubby boxes, many of them with practical rubber linings that are easy to clean. Our XC has fabric seats but any dirt seems to disappear easily enough. Not sure it’s worth going for the more expensive leather option.
The XC does have some luxurious, like the electric driver’s seat, a USB socket, 17-inch alloys and obviously air con.
In fact, I’d say there’s little point opting for a more expensive Forester, unless you want the leather and sat nav. This is one SUV that, rather like a Land Rover Defender, is better for being basic.
To a certain generation of bloke, the name Subaru will always be associated with the WRX rally car. The Impreza is no longer imported in to Britain, although you will still see plenty of die-hard ‘Scooby‘ fans frittering away their pay cheques to keep one on the road. No, these days, Subaru is targeting the SUV market and this fourth generation Forester is a key weapon.
Today I did my weekly shop down at Waitrose and the Subaru looked oddly out of place, parked next to row after row of ‘bling’ four-wheel drives. Personally, I love the fact I’m driving something different, which I know can tackle proper off-road work and won’t be offended if I chuck half a ton of wood in the back.
Sadly, I’m not sure the majority of British car-buyers will see it the same way. The Forester isn’t offensive to the eye but it just doesn’t have the cosmetic appeal of a Kia Sportage or a Ford Kuga. Beauty may be skin deep but that’s as far as most people look these days when they are buying a car.
The boxy design will be seen as a disadvantage, even though it allows for a huge load capacity, exceptional headroom and a bright cabin. The interior is basic but you know a Forester will still be lugging sheep up a field in 15 years time when a Kuga has been turned back into sheet metal.
Right now I’m feeling totally inconspicuous in the Forester – a rare feat in any modern SUV. And I’m loving it.