Subaru released the newest version of their best-selling Forester in February.
The intergenerational update added a stronger engine to the line-up and improved features across the range.
A total of R143,000 sets apart the range-topping model from the entry-level variant, and this sum covers much more than just the uprated engine.
For our comparison, we will be using the entry-level Forester 2.0i-CVT and the top-of-the-line Forester 2.5i-S ES CVT.
The Subaru Forester is a premium vehicle at any price point, with the front seats electrically adjustable, the rear seats getting air-con vents, and every vehicle having keyless entry.
A panoramic moonroof, Subaru Starlink Multimedia system, and a multifunction steering wheel are also fitted.
The base model does not get any leather treatment, however, whereas the top-spec variant gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear lever, and seats.
It also gets alloy sports pedals and paddle shifters, whereas the base model doesn’t, and an electric tailgate is fitted to each model in the line-up – except for the cheapest one.
Furthermore, the range-topping variant has a rear roof spoiler, steering-responsive automatic LED headlights, automatic windshield wipers, and a double volume sliding sunroof.
The Starlink media system might be fitted to both, but the entry-level model has a smaller 6.5-inch display when compared to the 8.0-inch panel on the other Foresters.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities are standard across the range, though, and all systems accepts voice commands for audio, air conditioning, and telephone features.
However, the 2.0i-CVT plays sounds through a four-speaker system, while the 2.5i-S enjoys a 10-speaker layout from Harman Kardon.
Subaru is renowned for the safety of their cars, headlined by the EyeSight driver assist system.
This system includes a long list of safety programs and is fitted to every Forester except the base model.
It activates features such as pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, lead vehicle start alert, and pre-collision throttle management.
Even though the base model does not have EyeSight, it is not unsafe by any means.
It gets a reverse camera, auto vehicle hold, airbags, whiplash-reducing front seats, and side-door reinforcement beams.
The range-topping model gets all of the above-mentioned features, and then some.
Reverse automatic braking, a digital speedometer, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a side-view monitor, and a reverse-linked tilt down door mirror are all fitted to this vehicle in order to keep its occupants as safe as possible.
No matter the specification, you will be delighted to know that every Forester has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Apart from the 500cc difference in the engines, these SUVs are nearly identical when you look past the outer shell.
The base model is fitted with a 2.0-litre, four cylinder Boxer engine that produces 115kW of power and 196Nm of torque.
It cruises to 100km/h in 10.3 seconds and achieves a combined fuel consumption of 7.6l/100km.
At the other end, the range-topping model gets a 2.5-litre, four cylinder Boxer engine that generates 136kW and 239Nm.
It’s no speed demon either, and finishes the 100km/h sprint in 9.5 seconds while having a combined fuel consumption of 8.4l/100km.
Both motors are connected to a 7-speed Lineartronic CVT transmission, and fed from a 63 litre fuel tank.
As the Forester is an SUV and made to go off-road, power is sent to all four wheels via a symmetrical all-wheel-drive system – while dynamic assist features have been standardized across the range.
- Brake assist
- Traction control
- Two drive modes
- Active torque vectoring
- Electronic stability control
- Vehicle dynamics control system
- X-Mode with hill descent control
- Four-channel ABS with brake force distribution
Ground clearance is a decent 220mm, and a luggage capacity of 520 litres – which can be extended to 1,060 litres – keeps practicality high up on the Forester checklist.
At its edges, the Forester is 4,625mm long, 1,815mm wide, and 1,730mm tall.
Quite unexpectedly, however, the base model’s approach and breakover angles differ from all the other Foresters.
It has an approach angle of 20.1 degrees, whereas the other’s is 20.2 degrees; and it has a break over angle of 21.4 degrees, whereas the other’s is 21.5 degrees.
All variants have a departure angle of 25.8 degrees, however.
As a finishing touch, the entry-level Forester is also the only model with 17-inch wheels, with the rest of the line-up being treated to 18-inch alloys.
The Subaru Forester 2.0i-CVT is the entry-level model in the range, and has a South African price of R486,000.
The Subaru Forester 2.5i-S ES CVT is the range-topping model, and has a South African price of R629,000.
With both you get a 3-year/75,000km maintenance plan, a 5-year/100,000km warranty, and Subaru Assist.