Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

Sadly this is an area in which the Forester lags behind its rivals. Although the interior isn’t the sea of hard plastics you’d find in some Subarus of old, it’s still not the most inspiring place to be.

The dashboard is clad with a soft-touch finish and the centre console has been given a brushed effect featuring the brand’s latest infotainment system, but the overall interior design looks and feels dated when compared with newer rivals, as if from a car far older than one launched in 2013.

Nevertheless, it’s all logically laid out and you’ll quickly feel at home. The steering wheel adjusts for both rake and reach and includes controls for the upgraded, easy-to-use audio system and cruise control. The driving position is high, offering a commanding view of the road ahead.

A large powered sunroof available for certain trim levels is a nice addition which lifts the interior’s ambience a little.

There are plenty of cubby holes for storing items, and the USB and aux-in ports for the audio system are located in the centre storage box so MP3 players and the like can be hidden away out of sight.

While the interior materials aren’t all that pretty, they do feel hard-wearing which is an important characteristic for the car’s target market.

 

Although the interior is a little bland, it’s a spacious and comparatively comfortable place to spend time. Forward visibility is excellent as the Forester’s windscreen pillars have been moved forwards compared with the previous model and the wing mirrors moved to the doors, which also allows the doors themselves to open wider for easier access.

Like many 4x4s, there is a reasonable amount of wind noise at speed but it’s not enough to spoil Subaru Forester comfort levels too much. More intrusive is the engine noise from petrol cars equipped with the CVT automatic transmission which has a characteristic tendency to hold the revs sky high for lengthy periods of time, even when accelerating gently. This is less of a problem in the more powerful turbocharged car, however.

The seats are comfortable, whether wrapped in fabric trim or the XT model’s leather upholstery. High-end trim levels feature an eight-way adjustable powered driver’s seat which makes it quicker and easier to find the right driving position.

Ride and body control are very good for a 4x4 and the low centre of gravity means passengers won’t get thrown around too much on winding roads.