Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The engine is a familiar one, as used in the Impreza range, but it has been retuned to cope with more extreme use, making it better able at pulling from low speeds. Acceleration is not too bad taking just over 11 seconds to 60 mph, with a top speed of just over 100 mph. The S-turbo version offers a level of performance closer to its legendary Impreza Turbo cousin.

A good car for towing.

The Forester may be an on/off road compromise, but it impresses wherever it goes. On the road it can take sharp bends and roundabouts with ease, because it has a lower centre of gravity than most 4x4s. Although ground clearance is limited, the permanent four wheel drive system and high/low ratio gearbox mean off roading is no problem. Independent front suspension, rear self-levelling system.

Transmission is 5-speed dual-ratio manual or 4-speed auto with ‘Winter’ mode (a manual over-ride that allows the driver to pull away in 2nd gear under icy conditions, or to hold any gear for better control).