On the Road: The new Subaru Forester e-Boxer
On the Road: The new Subaru Forester e-Boxer

Ian Lamming gets to grips with the latest Subaru Forester

THERE’S a car spinning its wheels which is strange because it’s warm and bone dry.

Granted, the gradient is steep, very steep, and the camber is tricky. There’s also a lot of dust and gravel under his front wheels and rather than backing off the throttle the driver is panicking slightly and putting on more power – for goodness sake.

I’m not unduly bothered. Why? Well I’m in the latest Subaru Forester. Let’s see how it gets on. Same steep gradient, same nasty camber, same loose road surface…oh, and I’m past the problem and on my way.

Now, I’d like to say it’s because I’m a better driver, but I won’t. Truth is it’s much more likely to be the car. Firstly, Forester has intelligent all-wheel-drive and by automatically switching the power to the wheels with the most grip it makes light work of the conditions, so light in fact that I wouldn’t have even noticed the gravel had the other driver not made such a song, dance and screech of it.

The X Mode transmission switches between normal, snow, dirt and mud by operating a knob near the gearlever.

Secondly, the 2.0 litre boxer engine (that’s four cylinders lying 2x2 horizontally opposed) has such a creamy smooth power delivery that it would see breaking traction as being just plain rude.

It’s a smooth operator, not overly powerful, but happy to spin in order to complete any task. Cruising is its forte and it is quiet and unobtrusive with enough poke to overtake the slow movers. It is a hybrid too and off the throttle it’s happy enough to drop into full electric mode, at which point it warbles like a UFO to alert unsuspecting passersby.

Today’s hybrids are frugal bunch and the Subaru has not quite reached those dizzy heights as yet. With a light right foot I manage to achieve 39.6mpg which doesn’t quite cut it against increasingly eco-conscious competition, but then it is quite a big, solid car.

What I do love is the fact that it doesn’t go over the top with the internal technology. There is a small touchscreen for the infotainment/satnav but all the essentials are on easy to spot, use and remember dials and buttons. Old school is much safer I would say as the driver seldom becomes distracted by what’s in the cabin.

Speaking of the cabin, its spacious and accommodating and the boot is massive. An old washing machine fits in the boot for the tip (sorry, should I say recycling) run and that is without having to drop the rear seats. It’s a good shape and height too making loading exceptionally easy.

Life is easy in the Forester, full stop, and that’s a character trait of all Subarus. They just get on with the job at hand, feel that they are built to last forever and have enough character to stand out from the crowd.

Forester will never let you down, breakdowns are unheard of, and when conditions become tricky, causing other motorists to get in a spin, you don’t even notice there is an issue in the first place.


Subaru Forester e-Boxer

Engine: 2.0 boxer petrol

Power: 150BHP

0-62mph: 11.8 secs

Top speed: 117mph

Combined miles per gallon: 34.7

Transmission: seven speed CVT

CO2 g/km: 185

Price £40,195.00