Owner Review

2015 Subaru Forester 2.0D-L review

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I was looking around for a late-model SUV for the wife, and it needed to be a practical size to fit the kids and dog, but not too big as she wanted easy parking capability in carparks. She does a lot of kilometres driving around with kids and our main car for the weekends and holidays.

So, another diesel was high on the list, as she liked the fact her previous diesel SUV was good on fuel and didn't require lots of visits to the service station. Also, the security of AWD with the possibility of some light off-road use, and she was hoping for an automatic this time around.

It has proven to tick all the boxes we were after so far. It's very smooth, comfortable and safe to drive. Fuel economy has been excellent as expected. The shape is attractive without being over-styled, and is a very practical size/shape because of it with excellent vision all round. The interior is functional and spacious with easy to use/read gauges and controls.

It also feels very well made with good build quality. No rattles or noises to speak of, and the dash and such feel solidly built. The infotainment system works well enough with clear Bluetooth/audio streaming and voice activation. A nice, big, clear reverse camera as well.

The combination of the torque from the diesel engine and CVT is brilliant, and keeps the engine in its maximum low-rev torque band for normal driving with smooth acceleration and good fuel economy, but if pushed will rev out and snap through the seven steps like a conventional auto. It never feels under-powered, even loaded up with kids and gear up hills. (It's not a sports car, but a family wagon.)

It soaks up bumps and is comfortable on the road at all times, with minimal road or engine noise (especially for a diesel). There is a bit of wind noise at higher speeds, yet that is to be expected with the raised-up boxy shape of an SUV. But that also gives the car excellent visibility and some off-road capability.

So far it has been 100 percent reliable, as we do quite a lot of kilometres and some decent highway driving. We have never had a DPF light come on or any issues with it at this stage, though we've heard some other people have. I suspect from not doing the recommended driving required for the DPF to work efficiently. Our previous diesel SUV also had a DPF, which in six years never had one issue. Servicing is quite reasonable, and the most expensive service was around $500, which included a lot of extra service items over the normal oil, filter and check-over.

My wife normally just drives a car and never really comments on how it drives, but with this one she cannot rave about it enough. She absolutely loves it, and is the best car we have ever owned in her opinion. So smooth and comfortable, just the right size, more than enough features etc.

It's a pretty hard car to improve on as an all-round family SUV wagon. More power would always be nice, but it's not a necessity in this type of car. Maybe a little less high-speed wind noise and a slightly bigger boot would be good improvements for the next generation.