Subaru’s Mink & Manure Forester Just Keeps On Getting Better

Subaru has always loved that old MY nomenclature. My first Impreza GT was an MY97. This one is the MY22. Very different cars, Subaru has very well catered for two very different audiences on the polar ends of Symmetrical All Wheel Dive spectrum. The WRX and STi Petter Solberg and Carlos Sainz wannabes. And the anorak and galoshes lot, who’ve always found the Forester to be their weapon of choice.


Yes, we very much fit in the wild side. But we also really and truly appreciate this mink and manure Greenpeace activist side of the Subaru ambit. So we were honestly quite excited when this brand new premium edition bottle green Subaru Forester 2.5i-S ES CVT pitched up. Subaru calls it a new Cascade Green Silica. Ah bugger it, let’s just let the heart speak on this one. It’s Racing Green!

Celebrating Subaru’s 30th year in South Africa, the Forester has just been under the knife. Besides this handsome hue, you immediately notice its larger, darker hexagonal grille flanked smaller, sharper multi-LED Adaptive head atop a reworked fog lamp signature too. They say it makes for a sturdier, more dynamic stance. In a more urban feel on this Premium variant.So Forester gains much fresh garnish, a new tailgate and rear spoiler and fresh polished face five-spoke 18-inch alloys.

Settle in behind the heated multifunction steering and the multi adjustable power pews are comfy. It quite literally has everything that opens and shuts in there. Being a facelift, Forester does not get the latest Outback’s giant portrait touchscreen infotainment display, but rather retains the split display that still works very well. Happily, the most important bits are all controlled by knobs, buttons and dials, rather than stupid swipe devices. We were very happy in there!


Versatility is of course another fine Subaru Forester forte, with space, practicality and a user friendliness that will always stand it apart. To that end, MY22 gets strengthened, higher load capacity roof rails to safely pack tents, load capsules and other roof accessories. The rack also gets extra tie-down points add there are two more utility hooks in the boot bay too.

So, Forester’s powertrain remains unchanged. Its propelled by Subaru’s latest famous boxer four via a CVT transmission and a viscous coupling centre differential. Which seamlessly apportions drive all four wheels. This 136 kW 239 Nm 2.5-litre lump burbles like a Suby must and delivers respectable performance. Our VBox reported that it sped to 100 km/h in a handy 8.7 seconds. In one, long 6000 rpm rev as the CVT seamlessly did its work.

Interestingly the regular Drive mode works far better than the stepped Manual option, which added over a second to its 0-100 time. It may sound better to some, but with this creamy power, the CVT actually becomes quite fun. Subaru claims a most achievable 8.3 litres per hundred. We actually had it better than that for a bit before we got carried away with all that accelerating.


We could never complain about that Subaru magic carpet ride and that epic drivetrain may remain as it was. But Fuji promises better ride and dynamics thanks to front suspension tweaks to improve steering responsiveness, ride quality and handling. That courtesy of reworked coils and dampers, as well as new aluminium engine mount brackets.

Forester’s smart X-Mode all-terrain programme similarly failed to avoid the old Subaru scalpel and that now also features improved Hill Descent Control speed management. It allows manual acceleration on descent, before the system re-engages when the driver stops accelerating. It also re-engages below 35 km/h, so the driver no longer needs to continually re-engage the system.

Subaru’s ever improving EyeSight has also had a makeover. It gets a faster, more intuitive dual camera system with double the field of view. Packing improved software, it deploys myriad safety functions from Adaptive Cruise, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure, Sway Warning and much more. Especially at intersections, where accidents frequently occur. EyeSight may be a boon to some drivers, but it will frustrate others, who will rather switch it off at times.


All of which boils down to the fact that this Premium Forester remains the safest car in its class. It has the highest 5-star safety ratings across all global safety ratings agencies. And while EyeSight may significantly contribute to Forester safety, even in base-spec with with that expected ground-up Subaru safety technology and engineering. To keep it in a class alone. Subaru’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive will always ensure it stands head and shoulders above.

Subaru’s biggest seller in South Africa, the Forester is the perfect match to our driving needs. Supreme on and off the road, we reckon that all these latest improvements and enhancements will even better appeal to an ever growing customer base, no matter how good its rivals are, or how many of them there are. Simply put, Subaru’s all-season, all-weather Forester just keeps on improving, which makes it all that much more difficult to keep up.

Yep, we still love our Subarus, And the Forester is still king of the hill. Even more so at the price. – Michele Lupini

Images: Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Subaru Forester 2.5i-S ES CVT
Engine: 136 kW 239 Nm 2.5-litre H4
Drive: CVT automatic AWD
0-60 km/h:        4.28 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.72 sec
0-120 km/h:       11.79 sec
0-160 km/h:       21.06 sec
400m:             16.2 sec @ 142 km/h
80-120 km/h:      5.52 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.26 sec
VMax:             200 km/h
Fuel:             8.3 l/100 km
CO2:              193 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5 y 150K 3y 75K km
LIST PRICE        R669K
RATED:            9
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