Compact SUVs have become one of the most popular and fastest growing segments globally, but it is the Americas that have typically been dominated by these spacious, family vehicles in the past decade. One such vehicle is the Subaru Forester, which is the best-selling model in the Subaru range within Mexico.  The Mexico Automotive Review team had the opportunity to drive the well-equipped 2015 edition with the 2.0 XT turbo engine of this renowned series.

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The Forester shows off its sporty rims

In the Driving Seat

Driving the Forester is incredibly simple; everything speaks for itself. The car is spacious, comfortable, easy to handle, and it has a tremendously tight turning circle which takes the chore out of parking. The accelerator, however, does not have the most direct communication with the engine, especially when setting off from a standstill and it needs a little time to react and start moving which often results in a bit of a sudden launch – a typical turbo engine let’s say.  The braking, on the other hand, is extremely smooth and easy to manage.

This Forester also has an X-Drive button to activate the rough terrain or off-road characteristic, but you would have to be stuck in quicksand or mud to need it. Subaru’s successful rally history has allowed this car to feel at home on almost any terrain in its standard driving mode. The Forester is one of the very few SUVs that have Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD). Some might think this is a useless feature for city driving but, in fact, the extra control feels safer and more comfortable to drive in such an environment.

Ride & Performance

The Forester’s steering feels quite unique. While it has fairly direct steering in the city at lower speed, it becomes lighter when out on the highway. This can result in some swaying out of your lane when at high speed, especially in a curvy mountain highway, but once you get used to it and start steering just before the curve, it begins to feel more natural. The addition of an automatic hill-stop control gives you a 2-3 second grace period before the handbrake should be applied, preventing any downhill tumbles.

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Off-tarmac terrain is no issue for this compact SUV, beating the competition to the punch

The car is fast yet fuel economic, giving 24/32 mpg for city/highway driving. Unfortunately, like a lot of compact SUVs, it lacks the punch of a decent adrenaline rush. Even so, Subaru’s rally history brings it just ahead of the others as for the feeling, especially in the tested turbo version. The numbers on the other hand show the others – with the exception of the tested 2.0 XT – to be slightly faster in acceleration, while the Subaru beats them in top speed.

Features

It is always a pleasure to see what is happening in the world when on the road, which is why we love the huge sunroof. However, the sound system is less impressive; with the lack of a beefy sub-woofer creating a rather murky sound at high volume. The entertainment system controls also seem quite archaic and are not particularly intuitive.

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Subaru have successfully combined a compact design with a huge amount of space

Space would not be an issue with this machine. With just one turn of a handle the rear seating make be folded away to make room for almost anything. We decided to put it to the test, filling the trunk with suitcases, chairs, paintings, rugs, boxes, and a microwave, all at once – the Forester took it all like a champ. On top of that, it comes with very nice rims in the XT version, giving it one of the sportiest looks of all compact SUV’s.

Verdict

While the Forester’s entertainment features leave plenty to be desired and its acceleration could be improved, the vehicle’s performance at full-throttle, its generous fuel economy, and its ample interior space make it the perfect choice for the market it is targeting.

At a Glance 

  • 24/32 mpg
  • Top speed of 122 mph
  • 170hp (250hp for the XT)
  • 2.4 liter (2 liter in the XT)
  • 234 NM maximum torque (350NM in the XT)
  • 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds (6.1 seconds for the XT)
  • Huge sunroof
  • Generous interior space
  • CVT Transmission
  • Beautiful rim choice
  • All Wheel Drive (AWD)

Price Range (at time of review)

MXN$357,500 – MXN$485,500

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