What is it?
This is the new, third-generation version of one of Subaru’s cult favourites, the Forester. While the old model was an engagingly boxy and quirky 4WD wagon, the new one is a much more mainstream soft-roader – bigger and more conventional looking – to run against the likes of the new Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V.
The Mk3 Forester is 75mm longer, 45mm wider and not inconsiderable 85mm taller than its predecessor, while the wheelbase stretches 90mm. Underneath, it sticks with Subaru’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel drive, while borrowing its platform and strut/multi-link suspension straight from the controversial new Impreza as it effectively moves up a class.
In Japan, the naturally aspirated and turbo 2.0-litre flat fours are basically improved versions of the old car’s engines. Meantime, the big news for Europe will be the fitting to the Forester of Subaru’s new 2.0-litre turbodiesel, which will be with us “within a year”.
What’s it like?
Different, in a word. The new Forester is a car current owners would barely recognise, the new design ploughing a safe, middle-of-the-road furrow. Cabin space enters a new league, especially in the back, as does luggage room, which is now vast.