Monday – Doors To Manual


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…




Saturday – An Alternative To Bling


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.

Wednesday – Fishing For Compliments

wheelJeremy Why is it fisherman drive weird cars? I shouldn’t put them all in the same pool but walking around my favourite lake this morning, there was an oddball collection of vehicles surrounding the Range Rover. Think Mitsubishi Pajero, 4×4 Nissan vanette and the obligatory Subaru Impreza import.

Quite what people get out of watching a lifeless float on a grey, April day is beyond me but when I returned to the Evoque later, two of them were admiring my wheels instead. By that I mean the fully chromed, 20-inch alloys that come as standard on the SD4 Dynamic.

I’m not a huge fan of sparkly wheels – even chrome spokes look naff on an E-Type – but I am starting to warm to the Evoque’s set of four. You would expect them on a BMW X5 but on a more introverted Range Rover, it doesn’t smack too much of horrifying bling.

Maybe it is because the Evoque sits so low, or possibly the Firenze red paintwork but I’m with the fishermen in living them.