The Subaru Forester proves once again that it has real off-road capabilities

Introduced 25 years ago, sometime in 1997, the Subaru Forester is a crossover, a 4X4 dual-propelled SUV that delivers fun. In fact, it is one of the best SUVs moving on Israeli roads, and it has real off-road capabilities, compared to most Jeeps moving on the road. Despite its clumsy shape in the past – a bit of a station wagon a bit of a square – it has sold in nice numbers. Its insane marketability has made it a sought-after recreational vehicle in the second-hand market. Its fifth generation (SKE), introduced in 2019, has already been based on Subaru’s global platform, and has recently undergone a facelift.

Of the four Forester finish levels – Z, X, XS and SPORT – we took the latter to the test. The noticeable change is noticeable in the front lighting units, which will align with the rest of the Subaru models. The bumpers also changed and took on a more “combat” shape, including the fog bulb housings. In the back we met new lighting units. Forrester may have looked more inflated now, but its overall shape has been retained. It is doubtful if anyone at the traffic light will notice the differences. The SPORT finish level also has orange-red trim stripes around the vehicle at the bottom and more orange touches at the roof bases. The grill grille frame and rear door are blackened. The 18-inch alloy wheels are also blackened.

Opening the driver’s door reveals the interior of a familiar vehicle, with almost no noticeable changes, with the motif of the orange-red stripes penetrating inwards and appearing in the form of seams in the upholstery, dashboard, gear lever and bottom of the steering wheel. The dial for X modes, off-road driving modes, was also painted in the above colors. The quality of the materials is good, and quite a few soft claddings surround the dashboard and car doors. , Comfortable and holds the body well. And it also has the option of heating for the cold days. The seating is high and the field of view is wide, which can not be said about the passenger seat, which is not electric and has no possibility of raising.

Despite a multimedia screen in the center console and a small information frame enclosed in a frame on the dashboard, the driver’s environment looks a bit outdated for the car in 2022. Significant switch load in the driver’s environment, at the wheel and behind it, while in other vehicles they have long since become a digital function. Opening the sunroof curtain above is done manually. Next to the sunroof opening switch, we found two buttons for disabling the safety systems, such as deviating from the lane and disabling vehicle identification from the front. Why? For Subaru engineers solutions. They may have run out of space due to the amount of buttons on the dashboard.

Analog dashboard, as before, with a small screen in the center for information display. Screen operation is not intuitive. We found two USB connections deep under the console with slightly problematic access. wireless charging? not here.

The rear seats are comfortable, and there are air vents. The Subaru Forester is a very spacious vehicle for all passengers thanks to a wheelbase of 2.67 meters, a width of 1,815 meters, and a height of 1.73 meters. Opening the electric trunk door reveals a huge 520-liter cabin. When the rear seats are folded, it doubles in size. At the SPORT trim level you will also receive a rubber cover to protect the trunk pads that match the rubber that covers the charging key.

Subaru Forester (Photo: Manufacturer)

Pressing the paddle button and the meaty sound of a gasoline engine is heard. This is a refreshing change from electric vehicles. The bow houses the familiar 2.5-liter boxer engine. It is a horizontal engine with four pistons working opposite each other. The engine is low in the engine compartment, which contributes to lowering the center of gravity and efficient power transfer.
The boxer engine has 182 hp achieved at 5,800 rpm, quite a few rpm, and 24.3 kg at 4,400 – 1,800 rpm. The gearbox is continuous with six gears, and as mentioned, permanent dual propulsion. Pressing the pedal The gas and set off.The destination: a fertile reserve surrounded by trails in the south.Forester SPORT is devoid of ventral protection, so we avoided testing it in more difficult terrain in the reserve.

The meaty engine noises hardly penetrate during the ride, as long as you are cruising at city speeds. On the highway, when the foot pressed harder on the accelerator, the engine noises penetrated and sounded good, even too much. However, it must be admitted that this is a pleasant sound to the ears of car and driving enthusiasts, so there are no complaints. The Subaru Forester responds nicely to every click, and cruising it is pleasant. Thanks to the excellent calibration of the suspension system the feeling is of “levitation”. The gearbox is good, though the gear ratio is continuous, as expected in a continuous gearbox. Luckily there are gears here for shifting gears behind the wheel that allow manual timing for shifting gears. The SI button on the steering wheel allows for a transition from a moderate sport mode to a sharp mode, which gives more aggressive gear and engine shift responses and affects fuel consumption.

Forrester is equipped with the good EyeSight safety system, which has undergone software updates that have improved operation and response in hazardous situations and guarding the lane center at bends. A highway is a great place to check the safety systems: the “dead zone” vehicle warning system crossing the opposite lane works great and the alert when needed; Adaptive cruise control worked well, though the system seemed to maintain too much distance and slowed the vehicle even when it was far from the vehicle in front of it; Lane keeping worked great and kept the Forester in the middle of the lane even at curves at three-digit speeds.

For me, the outstanding system of the EyeSight is a “crawl in traffic” mechanism that works excellently and actively from speed 0, thus eliminating the need for the driver’s brake gas when advancing in traffic and doing so excellently and autonomously.

The transition from the road to the access path to the fertile reserve is hardly noticeable thanks to the calibration of the slings, and we begin to enter the entrance slope to the reserve. Slope descent control system works great. Forrester was born into a more complex area than a reserve thanks to a ventral spacing of 22 cm, dual propulsion and an X Mode system, which makes it a real space beast. At curves in the terrain, when the chassis of the vehicle and the other components hold the vehicle well.The vehicle cruises in the terrain, and without the fear of cyclists suddenly emerging, we would dare to accelerate a little more.

A round switch next to the gear lever activates the X-MODE system, which improves the vehicle’s off-road capabilities by pressing. There are two modes: terrain / muddy and snow, and activating this mode takes control of the AWD system, engine and gearbox, will operate a slope control system and maintain a controlled pace of progress, which will help the driver focus more on steering and less on other systems. In addition, in the information screen above the dashboard we will get angle data of the vehicle in the field. It will be interesting to test the system in winter, in muddy terrain. Despite the lack of protection Forrester crossed an Irish bridge crossing safely thanks to good 25-degree approach and departure angles and high ventral clearance.

At the end of the test drive, the combined urban-international fuel consumption and area, was 11 kilometers per liter, reasonable given the fuel prices. The Israeli safety score is 7 out of 8, although the pollution rating of the vehicle is 14 out of 15. Quite a bit of safety, and not so green.

It is not for nothing that Forrester has been given a place of honor in the community of off-road drivers in Israel. This is a vehicle that can give a lesson in the terrain to the other recreational vehicles that are just like off-road recreation. In the electric world, the Forrester is considered a vehicle of yesteryear, with real engine noise penetrating the cockpit and reasonable fuel consumption. It would be nice if the operation of the systems would go to the screen, but that’s really the only negative thing we found in it. Forester SPORT, the highest level of finish tested, is priced at about 212,900 shekels, quite a bit of money, but also quite a bit of value. Anyone looking for a useful SUV with dual propulsion and rare off-road capabilities in a world that is getting electrocuted, and on the way “destroys” real off-road brands in favor of visibility and as if off-road, will choose the Forester without any hesitation. 
// Lior Amsili

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Citroen E-BERLINGO (Photo: Manufacturer)Citroen E-BERLINGO (Photo: Manufacturer)

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