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Reader test: Subaru Forester

2011-03-11 06:19

FXT: Winchester declares having no regrets, although he'd probably appreciate someone paying his fuel bills.

Winchester Maphosa

My friends have forgiven me for driving ‘odd’ cars, as they have referred to them in the past.

My previous car was a Mercedes B200 Turbo. It had the grunt I needed to move me from point A to B with a bit of pace and the main thing I loved about the B was its sharp steering, without any torque steer of the mark. The B went where I pointed, it was very predictable, but after a few problems at the end of its warranty period, I decided to part with it.


I now wanted a bigger car that had similar pace as the B, but within my budget. After shopping around for a while, I decided to step into the Subaru dealership to find out what they could offer. Naturally, my choice was among the larger cars and my eye was caught by the Forester. Following my test drive, I decided there and then that I was purchasing the Forester XT (FXT), and that’s exactly what I did.

With 169kW of power combined with the excellent four-wheel drive and the 320Nm of pulling force, the FXT is quick off the mark. It pulls like a little pocket rocket even with its bulkier and higher riding stance. A high amount of grip is ensured by the four-wheel drive system however, the only disappointing fact is that the FXT’s aerodynamics let it down.

Pulling the SUV from robot to robot can be a lot of fun, but as soon as you accelerate from around 80km/h going up, the pace is somehow rather limited. It’s still much quicker than most cars of its size, but not as much fun at short, straight line runs.

Another letdown is the FXT’s steering accuracy. The FXT doesn’t have the point-and-shoot type of steering accuracy that I had with the B. At freeway speeds (or higher), you somehow have to turn the steering a little bit more to ensure that you don’t end up scratching other peoples cars with your bumper or those generously-sized mirrors.


The FXT is not economical. That’s a fact! Drive it like a maniac and you will be rewarded with a tank fill up every 350km. On long distance, freeway cruising, I have managed a good 9 litres per 100km, but my home-to-work runs return a fuel-guzzling 12 litres per 100km - even with my civil driving.

To add to this, the 4EAT transmission does nothing to aid with the consumption, especially on freeway cruising.

I must say though that this is a car that gives me a wide grin when I feel accelerator-pedal happy – and the FXT stops when I need it to stop.

Some may not like the soft ride, but I find it enjoyable especially on long distance trips. So far, more than 17 000 km later, I have no regrets or disappointments.

Inside Wheels24

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