The Forester has been part of the Kenyan motoring furniture for 20 years, yet the 2018 version seems to offer ‘more’ for the discerning soft roader enthusiast, who has to choose it over the Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Renault Kadjar and Hyundai Tucson. As this segment ‘overheats’ with cut-throat competition, Forester is definitely finding it hard to justify its hefty price tag. The big question, is it worth your hard-earned shilling? Let’s find out in this Subaru Forester 2.5 XS review.
Externally, the Subaru Forester still carries on its butch low with bulging fenders, rectangular headlamps and bold grill. The wide wheel track and long wheelbase definitely enhance its stance. 2.5 XS is the embodiment of quality manufacturing. The cabin is well insulated from the wind at higher speeds. As for general fit and finish, the trim panels join together precisely and the finishes look smart if more workmanlike than glamorous.
The driver’s seat is 8-way electrically adjustable, which makes it easy to find a comfortable position behind the wheel, while dual-zone climate control and keyless entry (and start) functions add the modicum of luxury. Although the Forester’s not the newest vehicle in the market it doesn’t compare badly with its rivals in terms of space: rear passenger leg- and headroom are quite fair and, as for the luggage bay.
The Forester XS is powered by a flat-four boxer engine, pumping outputs of 126 kW of 235 Nm. when you bury your flat right foot on the accelerator. The reaction is not as instantaneous and feels sluggish compared to some of the smaller capacity turbocharged rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan, which deliver their maximum shove at low revs. This languid torque delivery compels the 6- speed CVT gearbox to frantically vary its ratios to keep the motor at its peak operating engine speed when a brisk turn of pace is required… and driving enjoyment ebbs out as a result.
Ride and Handling
The Forester feels sure-footed thanks to its long stroke front McPherson strut and rear independent link suspension that keeps the tires firmly planted on tar at high speed. The steering feels neutral and beefs up as speed increases.
There’s a bit of body roll when you get enthusiastic about sharp crests. If you want to Bundu bash and branch out to unpaved surfaces, the 210mm ground clearance comes in handy. The Symmetrical all-wheel drive ensures that the Forester retains traction at all given times and road conditions plus the suspension set up offers relative comfort and insulation from the road imperfections.
The Subaru Forester is a worthy competitor, tough and reliable vehicle with plenty of specifications as standard. Subaru Kenya retails this vehicle at Ksh. 6 Million, with a 3 year or 100,000-kilometer warranty, whichever comes first.
If you are looking for a trusted soft-roader, then the Forester should come on top of your list. ChekiPort can import for you this car at a very affordable price. For those looking at purchasing the previous generation Forester, prices range from Ksh.1.7-2.3 million shillings in the grey market.