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Owner Review

2012 Subaru Forester XT Premium review

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The Subaru Forester is such a great daily driver that when I sold my first one, I missed it so much, I decided to purchase another one!

The fuel-efficient Ford Fiesta I replaced the Forester with did not make me enjoy driving. So, after six months I decided I needed another four-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbocharged Subaru in my life. Except this time it needed to be an automatic so my wife could use it as well. That meant I wasn't going to be looking at WRXs (boo) as I couldn't imagine driving an automatic Rexy.

So, Suby 2.0 enters the building. A pearl white, completely standard SH 2011 Forester. One owner, with just over 100,000km on the clock. The recalls are done, the timing belt service has been performed, and we are cleared for take-off. Driving out of the dealership sees me instantly go for the clutch pedal, but instead I find the footrest.

The visibility of the Forester is very impressive. The mirrors are huge, the car sits high enough to see further ahead without compromising the ride. The interior space is a lovely place to be, and is very rewarding for the driver and passengers, with ample room, leather seats (in the Premium models) and an absolutely massive 'moon roof' that takes up about 70 per cent of the roof.

The rear boot area is amazing for transporting just about anything. With the rear seats being able to fold down, you can quite easily fit anything 1.8m long inside the car. The Forester is the perfect vehicle for those trips to IKEA, or even to the beach or BBQ.

The technology in the Forester reminds you that this model has been around since 2008 unfortunately. While acceptable for its age, the SH misses vital components such as Bluetooth music streaming and iPhone connectivity. The AUX connector requires S-Video connections, which is a bit odd, but acceptable. The integrated buttons on the steering wheel are useful.

Comparing the automatic to the manual Forester, as I have been lucky enough to have both, I can really say that the manual is a very pleasant experience. The automatic truly needs another gear (it is a four-speed auto) to make the most out of the engine. Subaru did the right thing with the S-Edition Forester by giving it an extra cog. If only they looked after the rest of the Foresters.

The reliability of Subaru really deserves a mention. As long as the car is serviced properly, you will be hard done by to run into issues. While some people steer clear from cars with over 100,000km, you can be confident that if your Subaru has been serviced, there is not much to worry about.

The one thing that has surprised me with the Forester is the fuel consumption. My manual SH Forester (with exhaust) got 8.8L/100km on the freeway, and 10.5 around town. My automatic four-speed SH gets 11.0L/100km on the freeway and 12.5–13 driving (normal) locally.

Fuel aside, I have nothing but praise for the Forester. It is such a shame that Subaru decided to remove the turbocharger from the new model. For me, the SH is the last of the 'fun' Fozs. I will be upgrading the stereo system to something with Apple CarPlay and doing some minor suspension changes in the future to get the car handling a bit better.