2015 Subaru Forester
When Subaru started selling cars in the U.K., their cars were sold mostly by tractor dealers. You could go buy a new plow, then pick up a cheap little runabout for the 'help' to drive. The Subaru's were usually on the aisle with the manure spreaders. And that seems fitting, because Subaru has always taken more of an agrarian approach to transportation.
Take the last-generation Subaru Forester. It was a massively capable little truck, with great on-road manners, and actual off-road talent too. Problem was, there were no concessions made to the modern definition of an SUV. There was no soft-touch interior, no fancy headlights that you could see from space. And certainly no in-dash concierge service, topped with a glass roof. But it had an inherent toughness that gave you confidence. Plus, if the inside got dirty, you could probably clean it out with a garden hose.
The three preceding generations of the Subaru Forester were so good, they developed a cult-following. Naturally, the all-new 2015 Subaru Forester had to 'raise the bar' without alienating the loyal Subaru audience. Many owners return to the quirky brand over and over again. So the current Subaru drivers are very important to the smallish Japanese car firm's bottom-line. But does the 2015 Subaru Forester live up to the Forester's rugged reputation? Let's find out...
2015 Subaru Forester - What's Changed?
The 2015 Subaru Forester is an entirely new design, which is barely an inch longer than before. There's still a class-leading amount of ground clearance (8.7 inches), but the step-in height is actually 2-inches lower. Ingress & egress have been improved with wider doors, and the rear seat transmission floor hump has been lowered, the center console has been shortened, and the seat backs now recline. Overall, there's nearly 4-inches of additional rear legroom, and you can now fold the rear seats into the floor using a button in the cargo area (the seat backs are spring-loaded).
Up front, there's an attractive new dash design, with a padded top, and gloriously simple controls. Subaru has finally caved to the infotainment craze, offering their own system called Aha! The intent was probably 'simple operation', but the tiny 6.1 inch touchscreen is rather difficult to use while driving. Fortunately, there's also a new camera-based safety system called the EyeSight Driver-Assist System, and it's designed to protect you from...yourself. Using a series of cameras, and object recognition software, Subie's new system offers adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and Pre-Collision Braking which can bring the 2015 Subaru Forester to a complete stop (at speeds up to 19 mph), if it thinks you're about to smash the quirk-tastic new front end.
And speaking of quirk-bling, the new turbocharged 2015 Subaru Forester 2.0XT gets a sharp-looking pair of LED daytime running lights, which add a menacing frame the light housing. There's also a scorching new direct-injected 2.0 turbo, with a massive intercooler, fed through a scoop on the lightweight aluminum hood. Power is quoted at 250-hp with 258 lb-ft of torque available from 2,000-4,000 rpm. Subaru has suggested that the new Turbo-XT "could be" the basis for a forthcoming STI performance variant. And that seems logical, as the 2015 Subaru Forester XT comes fitted with a grippy sport suspension, and Subaru's SI-Drive feature, which allows you to adjust the throttle and transmission response, via a steering wheel mounted switch. In 'Sport' mode, the next-gen CVT gearbox (yes, a turbo And a CVT) will allow you to paddle-shift your way through 6 simulated gear presets. Selecting 'Sport Sharp' gives you 8 fake gears to play with. In a market filled with FauxLuvUv's, it's nice to see a true Sport model. Think of the 2015 Subaru Forester XT as the WRX of CUVs. It's a bit odd, but oh-so fun to drive.
Of course if you'd prefer a more utilitarian version, the regular-issue 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 serves up 170-hp, with 32 highway mpg when you pair the trusty 2.5L Boxer-4 with the CVT (a 6-speed manual comes standard). Since this is a Subaru, the 2015 Subaru Forester comes standard with a version of the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system. Models with the 6-speed manual get a simpler AWD system, with a locking center differential. Opting for the CVT will get you an Active AWD system, which uses an army of sensors to decide which wheel would benefit most from a dose of torque, even in a turn. Top-spec models also get a new feature called X-Mode, to optimize engine revs, transmission behavior, Active AWD clutch engagement ferocity, stability control function, and braking. X-Mode helps the already tenacious AWD system to get you and your dog out of trouble, if you stray too far from the pavement. And all 2015 Subaru Forester models come with standard Hill Descent Control too.
The Subaru Forester has always been a no-nonsense brute of a thing. It might have looked a bit 'light in the loafers', but it could take a beating both on-road and off. The 2015 Subaru Forester carries on this sturdy tradition, with a healthy dose of 'modernism'. It's the same, but better. No wonder people 'love' their Subaru's.