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Driving Impression: Subaru Forester XT [w/video]

14 March 2014

The new Forester, launched in SA in February 2013, is a brilliant SUV.

It ticks all the right boxes and it has real off-road ability. You won’t use it to cross the Namib Desert, but it has no problem handling a tough dirt road. In fact, it almost feels more at home there than it does on the blacktop.

As a family car, it’s equally brilliant. It has loads of space up front and even more in the rear. The boot is massive and it has a host of luxurious features to keep every passenger comfortable and entertained. Most important of all, it’s one of the safest SUVs on the road, having scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP test.

Obviously the Forester as a whole is an accomplished piece of engineering, so the XT should be magnificent. You get all of the above, plus the entertainment factor one normally gets when a manufacturer adds a few horses under the bonnet.

It has all the necessary ingredients to make it entertaining. It’s powered by a 177kW/350Nm turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine and this delicious helping of power is sent to all four wheels via Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

Scooby claims a 0-100km/h time of 7,5 seconds and a top-speed of 210km/h.

Since it has to look the part as well, Subaru equipped the XT with 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels and a sportier front bumper. It certainly looks the part, especially in black.

As a range-topping model it is very good, but, unfortunately, it’s still not what we’d call a blistering SUV.

Overall, it’s a great machine, but it’s not the best buy in the Forester range. We tested a lower spec 2,5-litre petrol two months ago and we think that the model to go for.

The video of that road test is attached below.