Car Buyers Guide

Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Manual

September 2016


  • Decent-sized boot
  • Slick manual gearbox
  • Starlink infotainment system is easy to use
  • Plenty of forward visibility


  • Bland interior
  • Rather thirsty engines
  • Large size makes urban driving slightly stressful
  • Uninspiring drive
The Forester SUV is arguably the most family-friendly vehicle in Subaru's line-up of vehicles. However, it comes up against some tough competition and thanks to its relatively thirsty engines, fairly dull interior and totally uninspiring drive it certainly has a lot of work to do to make it the choice of the pack.

To look at, the Forester isn't a terrible thing, but it doesn't really stand out either. A facelift in early 2016 has made its slightly more appealing to the eyes, yet rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan are all considerably better looking. At the end of the day though, looks are subjective, so perhaps the Forester will appeal more to some than others.

In the cabin, the story is much the same. It's not a horrible place to sit by any means, but it certainly doesn't feel special. That said, everything is laid out in a sensible and functional manner, and the new Starlink infotainment system is clear and easy to use. The speakers offer a decent level of sound quality, too.

There is also plenty of room on offer - so you and your passengers should never be too cramped. Thanks to its high roof, headroom is abundant throughout the cabin. Rear legroom is also fairly generous. While the Forester can easily transport up to five adults, those sat in the back may find the car a bit cramped on longer journeys.

To drive, the Forester isn't that great. The steering provides no feel whatsoever, and you have to turn the wheel a fair amount to get any response. The pedals - particularly the brake - also feel a tad sticky, which doesn't fill you with a great deal of confidence around town or on the motorway.

Our verdict on the Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Manual
Thanks to its uninspiring drive, rather bland looks and fairly thirsty engines, the Forester wouldn't be the most enjoyable car to own. However, as a family wagon it should prove more than capable. Its rugged interior should be able to stand up to abuse children often deal out, and its 505-litre boot means there is plenty of room for luggage and any other clobber associated with family living.