From £22,200
Can't afford a Porsche Cayenne Turbo? This is about as fast an SUV as you'll find for under £25k.

Our Verdict

Subaru’s 4x4 estate morphs into bona fide small SUV

The Subaru Forester avoids the glam detailing of most other soft-roaders and sticks to traditional 4x4 spec

What’s New? The Forester gets (another) a mild facelift and an overhauled engine range. There’s a revised front end, with new wings, lights, bonnet and grille, the interior gets an upgrade and there are minor modifications to the suspension. Engine-wise, the 2.0 Turbo gets the chop, leaving the naturally aspirated 2.0 and turbo 2.5, both of which get a power hike. What’s it like? Quick. Thanks to a higher compression ratio the 2.5XT motor gets an extra 19bhp, which Suburu claim cuts the 0-60 time to a Porsche Cayenne-rivalling 5.7sec. Shifting for yourself is best, the four-speed auto is acceptable but hardly sophisticated and certainly best avoided if you go for the less powerful 2.0XT model. Should I buy one? If subtlety turns you on, then give the Forester a good look. Even with the revised body, the shape is far from exciting, making the 2.5XT an excellent Q-car. To tempt you further Suburu has cut the price too, making the more powerful 2.5 only marginally more expensive than the obsolete 2.0 Turbo. Jamie Corstorphine

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5 April 2009

Just driven one of these around South African on a mix of surfaces. Very impressive. I wasn't taken with the old 2.0 turbo, which was rather gutless. But the 2.5 is a lovely engine - torquey, and still silky enough to feel like a six (until you hit the limiter, which is quite easy). There's enough ground clearance to do some wading, and it loves gravel roads, even on road tyres (Michelin Primacy 55s). It's no sports car - it understeers at the limit, although playing with tyres pressures may mitigate this. Load bay is rather short. Recommended.

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