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  • Excellent engine and CVT transmission; spacious and practical; excellent ride comfort on-road and off-road
  • Evolutionary styling; front seats lack sufficient bolstering; sat-nav unit looks aftermarket; some body roll on turn-in; XT version lacks key features

8 / 10

Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review

It would seem Subaru has matured nicely as the marque celebrates its 40th anniversary in Australia – the launch of the new Subaru Forester XT is distinguished by the fact that, for the first time, the Forester turbo doesn’t get a boy-racer bonnet scoop.

Not only has the trademark scoop been ditched, so too has the manual transmission.

Subaru will offer the new Forester 2.0 XT and 2.0 XT Premium models exclusively with a continuously variable transmission.

The fourth-generation Subaru Forester XT also follows the downsizing trend when it comes to engine displacement, moving from a turbocharged 2.5-litre engine on the previous generation to an all-new direct-injected turbocharged 2.0-litre unit.

Despite the adoption of a smaller engine, power and torque have increased from 169kW and 320Nm, to 177kW and 350Nm with the new car. Performance has also improved, the new-generation Forester XT able to sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds (down from 7.9 on the previous XT auto).

As the range-topping, performance-focused model, you may expect the new-generation Forester XT to better distinguish itself from its Forester siblings, particularly given the decision to delete the all-telling bonnet scoop.

But apart from ‘XT’ badging and some cosmetic work around the grille, it looks pretty much the same as the other Forester variants.

Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review

Inside, the $43,490 Forester XT gets including sports pedals, electric sunroof and dual-zone climate-control. Disappointingly, however, buyers need to spend a hefty $50,490 for the Forester XT Premium to get satellite navigation, and basics such as auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. The Premium also adds push button start with keyless entry, power tailgate, and Harman Kardon sound system.

On the road it doesn’t take long to be impressed by the new Forester XT’s downsized engine and CVT.

We were mildly sceptical about the switch from an automatic transmission to a constantly variable unit, but the new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine mated with Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT is a cracker of a marriage.

Working in-sync with the powertrain is SI-Drive – derived from the Liberty, it features across the new Forester range. The system, activated via a switch on the steering wheel, allows drivers to select a range of engine and transmission settings in three modes: Intelligent (I), Sport (S) and Sport-sharp (only on the XT).

We kicked off in the Intelligent setting, which provided a smooth, but tempered power delivery. However, if you need to move quickly, throttle response and torque from the Forester XT in this mode is more than adequate – even for freeway-speed overtaking.

Switching to Sport-sharp mode and using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters not only delivers more immediate accelerator response, but also employs an eight-step gear selection that feels similar to a traditional manual transmission.

Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review

It’s an intuitive system, slurring from eighth to sixth with the slightest dab on the throttle from a steady cruising speed, and from sixth to third under full throttle.

More importantly, the shifts are smooth and the engine is superbly refined and quiet. Even when driving spiritedly, using the engine to maximum potential, you’ll be hard-pressed picking what rpm you’re at – such is the level of noise insulation in the Forester XT.

That’s something we didn’t anticipate from the reduced engine capacity and CVT combination.

Despite the all-new Subaru Forester XT sporting a twin-scroll turbocharger for a quicker throttle response, there’s still some turbo lag in the Intelligent mode, but it’s minimal in the Sport sharp setting even under heavy throttle loads from a standing start.

Equally impressive is the XT’s chassis both on-road and off-road. Subaru has stiffened the Forster’s rear sub-frame and increased spring rate, however the new Forester range is heavier than it’s predecessor – by up to 104kg, largely due to added technology.

So the XT leans into a corner when pushed, and is definitely understeer-biased, but it doesn’t affect its ability to confidently negotiate a corner.

Not so good are the driver and front passenger seats in the XT. They’re not sufficiently bolstered, which allows too much (driver) body movement in the bends.

Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review

Ride quality though, is very good, especially over undulating roads pockmarked with depressions and bumps.

There’s enough compliance in the suspension to provide a cushioned ride over most surfaces, while the car maintains excellent composure and straight-line tracking.

Subaru employs electric power steering across the entire Forester range and while it’s reasonably quick and there’s some driver feedback, it’s quite lightly weighted for a performance variant.

The new Forester XT also gets a brake upgrade, with front and rear ventilated discs now standard. Previously a Forester sore point, the brakes provide good response and progressive brake force.

With several dirt-road sections on our test route, we also tried out Subaru’s new computer-controlled off-road driving mode known as X-Mode – a standard feature activated by pressing a button on the centre console.

The system manages control of the engine, all-wheel-drive distribution, brake application and the vehicle’s active safety systems to maximise traction over slippery surfaces.

Off-road, the Subaru Forester XT displayed similar levels of composure and surefootedness across extremely dry tracks littered with loose stones.

Towing capacity for the new Forester range has also increased to 1500kg for non-turbo models and 1800kg for the Forester XT as a result of research that indicated 35 per cent of all Forester owners use the vehicle to tow.

Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review
Subaru Forester XT Review

Fuel consumption has also fallen from 10.5L/100km on the outgoing Forester XT to a claimed 8.5L/100km, although on our test run over several hundred kilometres we managed 9.8L/100km.

Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system also debuts on the XT Premium version. The technology uses stereo cameras with 3D image processing to reduce the potential of frontal collisions, lane drifting and low-speed impacts.

The lane departure warning system is certainly effective, beeping (perhaps a little too frequently) while travelling along curvy rural roads when you may graze the white lines.

With the fourth-generation Forester XT, Subaru has produced a significantly more polished (and faster) version of the marque’s best selling model. Almost every facet of the Forester has been improved, from performance and fuel economy to space, safety equipment and dynamics.

In a four-decade run that has seen Subaru shift an impressive 620,000 cars to Aussie drivers, the best-selling Forester is a fitting model to mark the celebrations in 2013.

It’s just a shame it had to grow up – we’re going to miss that boy-racer bonnet scoop.

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Subaru Forester XT Review
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  • Symo

    Awaiting the inevitable CVT basher comments….

    I have the MY11 Outback CVT and I find it excellent, having the extra torque would make the outback perfect. But I am eagerly awaiting the reports on the MY13 model Diesel with CVT due to be released in a couple of months. This would be my ideal vehicle.

    • Liezel

      The CVT is a great option. It lets Subaru provide good performance with good efficiency and ease of use.

      • Tony is correct

        It is a cost cutting measure – beware, you are getting inferior technology

        • Drive

          A CVT is inferior technology to a manual? Or are you talking about the 4 speed Automatic? Hmmm manual or 4 speed auto. Yep – you are right. Those two are far superior in technology to a CVT………….

          • Tony is correct

            What a silly debating point. Nobody thinks a 4 speed auto is a good thing. The world has moved on. A manual can’t be compared to any auto. Apples vs oranges…….. BUT all good car companies are putting 5 speed or higher auto gearboxes in their cars.The ones who are putting CVT gearboxes in are trying to cut costs or have not got a decent gearbox ready. Stop trying to argue against the facts like a child.

          • Drive

            You haven’t brought any facts – just stupid statements!
            The previous Forester XT was available in a manual OR 4 speed torque converter auto. Yet you call think that represents superior technology?


        • Denzo

          I agree, and do so as an owner of a DSG vehicle. Now that I own it, and seen from others what can go wrong with DSGs, I have to say that, to me, DSG is simply a cost cutting measure. Manual is easier to repair, provides more power in gear, and costs a LOT less to run for both service and replacement. I miss the days of buying a nice sports clutch for $800. It’s really just a great auto, nothing more. I’m guessing CVT is barely as good as this, which doesn’t say much.

          I’m going manual after this. (golf R)

    • Viv R

      Have a Nissan Electronic CVT and also find it pretty good for normal driving, not sure that I would want it in a performamnce oriented XT though. 

      Fuel economy with the CVT is excellent but there is one time when it’s next to useless.  Nissan’s CVT flares badly when reversing the car up a steep hill.  You get a lot of engine noise for very little go.  This isn’t a problem going forward up a steep hill when you can always manually hold a low gear ratio.  Wonder if it’s the same with the Subie?

      These things matter when you have a very steep driveway to back out of.  Great amusement to the neighbours!

    • Tony is correct

      I have owned 2 new Subarus but I would never own another if they use CVT’s.

      If you really think a CVT gearbox is superior to a 6 speed torque converter gearbox you know nothing about cars. I have a simple question for you. Name one non-hybrid car over $40k that uses a CVT? What does that tell you?

      • Drive

        There are lots of rubbish 6 speed torque converter autos. There are lots of thirsty 6 speed torque converter autos. The CVT uses less fuel and can optimise for peak efficiency by keeping the RPM in the torque band whilst providing a constant (uninterrupted) drive when accelerating. These are limitation on any auto. Despite this banter about 6 speed torque converter autos, the Forester XT only ever had an old clunker 4 speed!
        I would suggest you know nothing about modern CVTs.
        They are quickly gaining market acceptance by a wide variety of manufacturers in a broad spectrum of cars. As that now includes applications in high torque and power vehicles, what does that tell you?

        As for non-hybrid cars above $40K that feature CVTs – hey presto – the new Forester XT is one, The Outback is another. The Nissan Maxima 350 is another.
        What does that tell you?
        You don’t know as much as you think about cars.

        • Drive

          Audi A4, Audi A6 – both available with CVT….

          • Tony is correct

            The VW / AUDI group has made great profits recently from spending money on the interior of their cars and the styling rather than the drive train. Style over substance works with some, sadly.

        • Tony is correct

          “They are quickly gaining market acceptance” – RUBBISH

          The only reason they are being bought is because some consumers are unaware of what they are getting and people like you are trying to lie to them ! Just because a car is over $40,000 doesn’t mean it is high powered or high torque. And noted the maxima is a laugh…how many people buy that car? Very few. Why? The gearbox.

          Subaru had to get rid of the 4 speed auto but my entire point is that they should have put a 6 speed auto in it.
          “Modern” CVT’s are not as good as “modern” 6 speed auto’s.


          • Drive


      • George

        Most Audi A4 base model’s since 2005?

  • Zaccy16

    an improvement in the engine department and handling over the old model but the styling is still ugly, the cvt tranny is still not as good as a dsg or conventional torque converter auto but because this car isn’t underpowered it works ok but the base 2.0 in this that is already slow and loud in the lighter impreza will struggle in this

    • Liezel

      And you know this how? Have you already driven it?
      I love the looks. If it had another 2 seats option, I’d be putting my deposit down today.

      • Stop_the_boats

        heard from rumors that  EJ255 had ringlands problems, white smoke, kaboom, new 2ltr turbo engine might not have those issues .

        • A Tuner

          Yeah, EJ255 didn’t have forged pistons like the EJ 2litre engines they replaced hence why they had a small number of failures.
          These days most engine failures are attributed to sub-standard parts (EJ255) or poor tuning (VW 1.4 TSi)

          • Stop_the_boats

            Unsure if crummy pistons extended to EJ257, not sure if the new engine has forged bits or if the direct injction is faultless, time will tell .

        • amlohac

          That was the earlier variation of the engine yes? Apparently the later ones the issues were resolved, but not before Subaru spent a lot of cash replacing engines.

    • Jack

      Zaccy, I bought my mum a Subie XV with CVT, while there is a little bit whine that takes some getting used to with the CVT, I find it to be a decent gearbox. Very fuel efficient, makes use of the engines power well and less jerky around town compared to DSG. We drove a few torque converter autos – Hyundai i30 and Honda Civic – and honestly preferred the CVT over the conventional autos. I have driven a friends Dualis with CVT and was not impressed at all, but its appears the newer CVT’s are a vast improvement.

  • JoeR_AUS

    0-100 in 7.5 while satisfactory, seems slow for the power of 177kw and 350nm, the extra 100 kg and CVT would not help.

    The Diesel auto is still missing and if Subaru can price the Forester Diesel under 40k it will be a real competitor with the CX-5.

    • Liezel

      If 0-100 sprints were so important to you, you’d be buying a WRX.  7.5 for a family lugger is very good. You would be able to move quickly even with a full load of kids and luggage.

      • dead_Ahmed

        7.5 is ok…but thirsty my friend….thirsty.

        • Drive

          You think this is thirsty? Go buy a hybrid!

        • Jared Tate

          that is 7.5 without a launch lol and it is using a cvt that means its quite quick

      • JoeR_AUS

        WRX as a family hauler with teenagers? My mate tried and moved it on very quickly… There are other SUV’s with similar performance already with better price and economy

        • Cars


          • JoeR_AUS

            Try car guide :-)

          • Vigo

            so you got nothing? thought so

          • Denzo

            So do you really have nothing to back up what you just said?

          • JoeR_AUS

            Ok, carguide web site had Tiguan 155TSI,  Skoda Yeti 112TSI and Mini Countryman Cooper S.

            Within the XT price range also the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 also the CX-5 Diesel

          • Gone my GTI

            None of which have the off road credentials of the forester. European is also not synonymous with reliability. Speaking from experience DSG owner. And Google reliability surveys.

          • Jared Tate

            forester xt is more sporty, more practical than all of them.
            you can even tune the xt with relative ease

          • Demo

            Forester XT has lost its way as performance SUV. A standard Tiguan will easily leave an XT let alone a basic Tuned Tiguan 195kw.

          • Jared Tate

            155kw @ 5,300/280nm at 1,700, 1642kg, 8.8l/100km for the tiguan ($42,000) these are getting popular so its tough to haggle

            177kw @ 5,600/350nm at 2,400 – 3600, 1589kg for the xt forester ($43,000) 8.5l/100km, you can prob haggle that price down as well

            prices based for base models*

            on another note I like the forester interior better than the tiguan, so I know which one I’d have, idc about plastics blah blah if its more practical then that is a plus.
            tiguan is rated to tow 200kg more (2000kg vs the xt forester’s 1800kg)

            Id say the subaru would be more reliable if the tiguan has the DSG

            a few reviews have claimed 6.2 – 8 seconds 0 – 100kph
            so I’d say its prob going to be 6.5 – 7 seconds avg.

            both cars are lame though better off getting a golf r or a wrx I guess you don’t even need that space imo

  • Doctor

    Styling is always going to be a problem for Subaru because the North American market is so important, and it can’t afford to another body for the rest of the world where tastes are (thankfully) so different. As for CVTs, well they’re not all the same and the technology has come a long way in the last 40 years or so – try it before you bag it.

    • Karl Sass

      They could at least do a different bumper, wouldn’t be all that hard to do in a production sense.

  • pr0

    looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me looks good to me l

  • Bill Murray

    “Disappointingly, however, buyers need to spend a hefty $50,490 for the
    Forester XT Premium to get satellite navigation, and basics such as auto
    headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.”

    Seriously? Auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers are basics?

    Also, good god that’s an ugly car!

    • Liezel

      “Seriously? Auto headlamps……. and rain-sensing wipers are basics?”
      I agree that lack of Auto headlights looks like an oversight but rain sensing wipers are always a premium option.
      I totally disagree about the looks.

      • Dwayze

        base model looks better,would look even better with the scoop. Subaru reckons they have improved on drag with out the bonnet scoop.As i see it they added it back on with those useless side scoops on the front of the xt 

    • Sam

       OMG! you can get a new Jeep Grand Cherokee for that!

    • Viv R

      These days sat nav, auto headlights & wipers, day time running lights, electric seats with memory, auto dimming mirror, folding side mirrors and a decent stereo ought to be standard on any car over $40K.  The base/mid Foresters are poverty packs on the minor equipment front.

      However if I ever have to drive up/down a slippery hills dirt track, drive over heavy gravel that bangs the underside or head onto the beach, then I rather do it in a relatively tough Forester than a handbag CX-5, Sportage, CRV, Dualis etc.

    • Manny

      And I got this feeling it’s the same Kenwood system as the previous XT . I’ve burnt through 2 of these now with the second one just out of warranty and now up for two grand to replace it !!!! Subaru were as helpful as its on a bull. For that reason after 4 subarus I’m jumping ship.

  • Quivive

    No manual – no sale – Good bye Subaru.

    • dilligaf


    • amlohac

      Didn’t the manual in the old version burn clutches like a stoner burns hash?

  • Bruzzer

    if you can still get a 2012 Forester Type S for under $50k. I think its a better option.
    lighter, faster and still has the bonnet scoop some people want.
    personally i prefer this new look as it looks like a SUV should be…. but heavier car is not moving the car forward in todays market for fuel efficiency.

    • Dwayze

      Yeah! Whats that BORING!

  • Showtime

    How does the top mount intercooler get cooled now that there is no bonnet scoop to feed air into it? I think it looks pretty good for an SUV, but gen-2 will always be my favourite for it’s boxy shape.

    • GFC

       I was thinking that too.. Cant get much cool air anymore seeing as the bonnet scoop is gone.

      • Monk

        Maybe a system like the original Mazda 3 MPS where the bonnet had a built-in hidden channel to the intercooler (hence the extra bonnet crease)…???

    • Stuart

      I assume it will be similar to the Landcruiser 200 series turbo diesel that has air ducting built into the bonnet directing fresh air from the grill down onto the top of the intercooler.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martinclarke87 Martin Clarke

    Surprised that Subaru didn’t integrated some LEDs into the front bumper that are currently fashionable. The vertical strip at the edge of the bumper would have housed them nicely. Not a requirement but I definitely think it makes a car look premium – especially at 50 grand for the top model.

    • Stop_the_boats

      Clarke, sixth photo from the top, led intergrated lights, unless pictures are playing tricks .

  • Tony Abbotts No 1 fan

    IMHO, Subaru styling has gone backwards…boring

    • Julia_Gillards_No_1_fan


    • Richard Joash Tan

      and you are a bulls**T because I’m biased with subaru since 2007

  • Noddy_of_Toyland

    How is evolutionary styling a bad thing? The previous Forester is one of Subaru’s most attractive and successful design of recent times, it is wise to only improve on it. And they actually look quite different, so I don’t know what that means.

    • Tom

      They’ve updated what is a good looking design in the previous generation to match their current design language which is quite frankly, awful. They have done this purely for it to match. 


    Apparently someone at Subaru saw a clay model of this and said ‘yeah, that looks great, go ahead’.
    That person should be fired.

    • Richard Joash Tan

      AND YOU ARE A BULLS**T!!!!!!

  • cepjin

    If there is a God out there, please put this engine in the BRZ!

  • The Real Wile E

    The most important change is the brake upgrade which is well overdue

  • Drive

    Elsewhere on the interwebz it’s been reported the new model is actually lighter. It also sports an aluminium bonnet. I’d like some clarification please.

    • Darren Waye

      Hey Drive.There actually 125kg heavier than the sh manual,or 110kg 4eat 

  • craig

    Rear parking sensors are an $800 accessory, even on the XT Premium.This should be standard  even on the base models.

    • No fears

      Been through the options list.Sorry won’t be buying much. The sat nav is almost $2600 & don’t forget the upgrades which is about $1000 more than Kia & possibly no better depending on the source of the info. Looks like it is a Fujitsuten, this brand was used for the radio in the basic work cars I used, the multi function sensors display sensors $1078, rear parking assist $795. I feel at least one of these items ought to be bundled into the $2600 price of the sat nav. Think it will be the basic 2.0 litre manual & buy a separate gps unit.New Rav 4 is coming, which will force them to sharpen the deals. Hold on to your money. No negotiation? just walk.

      • craig

        I agree. Toyota has been sharpening their pencil lately and coming in below expectations with their new cars. Also, the RAV4 will have a 6 speed auto diesel from introduction apparently. Plus lower servicing costs.

        • Manny

          I’m waiting for the diesel rav . Hopefully cheaper and I’m pretty sure more fuel efficient . Although possibly with an underpowered engine. Either way I think Subaru have become a bit arrogant lately and expect the brand to pull in the sales alone. The outgoing forester XT is a way better looking car than this vehicle and before I even look under the bonnet and the interior if the car looks crap from the outside , I like may others won’t touch it. Ie look at previous Rexies , TriBeCa , ( and I’m assuming current liberty )…….

          • No fears

            Attended a dealership at the weekend,was told very quickly no deals,no negotiation on price.I stated I need not present a trade in,nothing extra for them to handle there was still no budging on price.Might wait.      

  • Tony is correct

     Was this reviewer given money, presents or travel to give such a supportive review?
    A CVT gearbox is a sign of cost cutting or a lack of investment in authentic gearbox development.
    Subaru has been given a good auto in their sportscar (because Toyota shares the car) but otherwise Toyota is slowly killing off Subaru, just like they did with Diahatsu.

    • CarAdvice

      Why is a CVT inferior to a torque converter auto? In manual mode, there are multi-step ‘gears’ that mimic an auto. Except they’re better, because the steps constantly change – one moment a CVT can be a tightly-packed box of ‘ratios’ yet the next it can leisurely move to a tall ‘cog’ to keep revs down when cruising. 

      • Tony is correct

        I smell astroturf !
        CVT gearboxes, like front wheel drive are not terrible, just cheaper technology and as consumers we need to recognize when we are being shortchanged.
        A front wheel drive car with a CVT is an inferior product (all things being equal) than a rear wheel drive car with a 6-8 speed torque converter auto.

        If you don’t see that I can’t help you.

        • Drive

          You only see what you want to. I see your blind ignorance. CVT is far more efficent. W
          hat fool would compare a FWD CVT to a RWD Auto in terms of being superior? Superior for what exactly?
          I smell weed…….

        • Drive

          Oh I forgot to mention the Audi A4 and A6s that carry CVTs.

          What’s that?
          I can’t hear you – seems you have a foot in your mouth oh knowledgable one….

    • davie

      Why is CVT not as good? – its different, usually more fuel efficient. but responsive in a different way.

      The 86 gearboxes are RWD only and straight out of the manual Lexus IS250 parts bin. They will not work in AWD applications.

      • Tony is correct

        Nobody said that 6 speed auto would work in Forester. The point was that Toyota keeps its torque converter autos for itself.
        Just like rear wheel drive, the good auto gearboxes are now starting to be the preserve of upmarket cars. And just like when front wheel drive cars came out, people should understand they are getting a cheaper product. Cars with CVT should cost less because you are getting INFERIOR technology.

        • Drive

          You are an inferior poster. Come with facts not ridiculous statements.

    • Drive

      Lack of investment? Are you kidding? The reason why they are only releasing them now is because there has been so much development to ensure they can handle the high torque outputs!

      • Tony is correct

        YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ! You know nothing about cars

        • Drive

          Nice one Tony – back to your bong matey, I think you are getting edgy……

  • O123

    Well its an improvement on the last forester.

  • Paul Keating

    was waiting for this to come out to make my decision on what to buy, 44k and no sat nav or anything AND NO BONNET SCOOP.. No Sale Subaru. Guess i’ll have to settle for a ss sports wagon.

    • Golfmother

      Well your resposible for that recession in 1990 and now your red hen mate juliar is causing another , so you deserve no scoop , no sat nav for a lost looser .

      • Poison_Eagle

        Again I ask, can you explain this ‘recession’ in detail or are you just using polarising quotes to disguise the fact you actually know FA on the subject?

    • Drive

      You know you can buy sat nav for under $100 now right???

  • zanzi

    a lot of you guys have been brainwashed and are so fixated at calling any subaru car ugly that you can’t see this actually isn’t a bad looking car

    subaru forresters were never meant to be elegant looking like the Evoque or sporty like an X6M or ML AMG

    forresters have always been rough robust SUVs and this styling suits it just well imo

  • Al Tungupon

    Why can’t Subaru ever style the Forester properly? It’s nice to know that there is a turbo version with an equally capable gearbox, but the looks are just disturbing.

  • mav2706

    I can confirm that the forester XT 2.0 turbo engine is in fact the BRZ engine without the turbo

  • Justin

     Disappointed with the pricing of the new Forester. The XT Premium with a few  options cost about $ 58k (!!)
    I think I’m going to wait for the the upcoming 2.5L CX-5 and new Toyota Rav4 which are better looking SUVs and offer better value

  • GaryD

    Interesting to note that Subaru Canada kept the new Forester at the same price as the previous model … in Australia they actually increased the entry price…. says it all.

  • Popper

    I had a look at these yesterday. First impressions were very good, though I didn’t take one for a spin. The cabin appeared well-constructed, looked durable, was comfortable, and all in all was a nice place to be.

    I won’t buy a car that doesn’t run on either 91RON or diesel (a fuel availability issue), so the turbo model (disappointingly) is out for me. I have read mixed reports about the diesel … so I suspect that at the end of the day the 2.5 petrol is the one I will end up having a good look at. Whether it drives well with those engine outputs will have to wait for a test drive. (Our Mazda 6, with similar engine output, is a fantastic drive; it has clearly been tuned for useable torque, not paper glory.)

    Amazing to some, I am someone who likes the styling quite a lot: well-proportioned, unfussy, down-to-earth. The styling compares very favourably to such eyesores as Evoque, X1, X3, even the CX5.

  • Al Tungupon

    I got to test an XT yesterday, and it was a lot better than I thought. It looks much more acceptable in the flesh, indeed better than the previous model. The inside is also better built, with more soft-touch plastics and a neater dashboard. There is ample space at the back plus a huge cargo area for your stuff. It also isn’t as tall as the likes of CR-V, so that’s good.

    Having a turbo and CVT, one could only expect tremendous lag as those two components normally take some time to work their magic. But there is hardly any of it. You will have to observe a lot more deeply to notice it, but why would you? Technology has come a long way. Driving it is such a breeze. The ride is also quite nice; one shouldn’t complain about it. The C-pillar is also not as thick as other 4x4s, a no-nonsense design favouring visibility over style.

    The only drawbacks I found were the feather-light steering and the lack of kick from the CVT when changing gears in performance mode. There was hardly any feedback from the wheel, and while the transmission doesn’t have any noticeable drone, it still has some work to do when simulating a real manual. It’s quick, but by no means a sports car.

    Being the only go-fast 4×4 in its class, this should sell quite nicely. At under $48,000 driveaway, it is quite good value (so long as you don’t look at American prices). If you’re a family man who doesn’t want to trade off too much speed for versatility, then this is the car for you.

    • JGS

      Forester XT is not the only go-fast 4×4 in its class with only a 0-100 time of 7.5sec, look at the competition Toyota Rav4 0-100 7.4sec, VW Tiguan 7.3sec. Also both have more overall cargo room.

      • Dwayze

        Tarmac magazine issue#13.2012 Forester xt manual 0-100 time 6.5sec. VW Tiguan has more cargo room .Sorry mate your wrong there!

  • Curious

    Any one know when the Diesel Auto is likely to come out?

    • Dwayze

      Yeah Curious,Only in the latest Outback,CVT 

  • medellinmadman

    Bottom line guys this Car is Ugly, trying to think of a less attractive cuv but it is hard. I prefer the looks of the past model. Xv is descent looking and if they fixed the front of the outback it would be descent looking but this thing is bad would never  consider it at all. 

  • OSU811

    I actually think its a great package!, good practical shape/size. with a powerful yet economical 2.0l direct inj turbo engine. Finally a new innovated gearbox, with normal CVT advantages but also a decent manual mode! plus feels like a normal auto when driven hard. looks ok, Subaru finally catching up with the times and some new tech features!

  • marc


  • Mick

    Bought this Forester XT Premium (Automatic) 2013 model four months ago, only done 1200km. Yesterday put gear in Reverse, engine shuts off. Drive forward, no problem.
    What possible cause/s?


      boxer engine?

  • jelly

    Why can’t they just add some more common sense to their designs!
    where’s the xenon? why is the GPS unit so freaken ugly?
    why everything feels cheap? sure they can make it look as gd as the older liberty!

  • Al Tungupon

    So how is the RAV stupid? Please explain.

Subaru Forester Specs

Car Details
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$25,850 - $29,380
Dealer Retail
$26,830 - $31,900
Dealer Trade
$20,300 - $23,500
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
320Nm @  2800rpm
Max. Power
169kW @  5200rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
10.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1600  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
225/55 R17
Rear Tyres
225/55 R17
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Control & Handling
Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Trip Computer
Xenon Headlights
Service Interval
6 months /  12.5,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Centre Eng Bay Scuttle
Country of Origin