2.5 out of 5 2.5
Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5
Subaru Forester (08-12) - rated 2.5 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £22,845 - £30,650
Used price £1,740 - £6,905
Fuel economy
Not tested to latest standards
View pre-2017 economy specs
Road tax cost £220 - £330
Insurance group 19 - 24 How much is it to insure?


Spacious interior, capable off road, strong diesel engine available


Wallowy ride, bland and dated cabin, limited engine choice, anonymous looks

Subaru Forester rivals

Written by David Ross on

Subaru’s answer to the Toyota RAV-4 and Nissan X-Trail, the Subaru Forester is an off roader in the old-school mould. Some alternatives may be more refined and comfortable, but the Forester is incredibly capable on tough terrain and makes an ideal choice if you regularly tackle muddy fields

The old car built up a strong following, especially among those living in the country, so Subaru’s decision to ditch the estate bodystyle and turn it into a more conventional 4×4 may surprise some. The benefits are a spacious interior and good size boot, but on tarmac it feels dated to drive with overly soft suspension and lifeless steering.

Fine diesel engine

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine in the Subaru Forester is unique among passenger cars for its design layout, which mimics the company’s petrol units by using a ‘boxer’ arrangement. This means the cylinders are paired and ‘punch’ in opposite directions, giving the engine its unique sound and great smoothness.

It’s a very good engine and offers 147bhp, plenty of overtaking power and it’s considerably more refined than most of the opposition’s motors. The only disappointment is the notch shift of the six-speed manual gearbox that feels reluctant to swap from one ratio to the next at anything other than an unhurried rate.

Bland looks

Subaru has been responsible for some of the most outrageous road cars ever to flit in front of our eyes, yet the Forester is bland to the point of anonymity. When the previous Forester was noted for its handsome good looks, this is all the more deflating, though Subaru has tied to make the current car more of a soft-roader in appearance to attract customers from the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

What hasn’t changed with the Forester is its ability to cross tough terrain with confidence. It’s not as able as a Land Rover Freelander or Nissan X-Trail, but it’s better than most soft-roaders at dealing with mucky situations. For more, read the full Subaru Forester review that follows.

Subaru Forester rivals