Critically, the Subaru Forester’s diesel engine brings some much-needed zip to the Forester’s mid-range performance – and also adds a pleasing compression-ignition take on the familiar Boxer ‘thrum’. Subaru quotes a 10 second 0-60 time, but the Forester diesel actually feels keener and quicker than that.

Dynamically the 2.0D’s biggest weakness is the gearchange quality from the new six-speed ‘box. It suffers from both a long throw and an obstructive quality, in stark contrast to Subaru’s normally sweet-shifting manual ‘boxes.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Editor-at-large
The diesel engine brings some much-needed zip to the Forester’s mid-range performance

With just 145lb ft of torque available at 3200rpm, the Forester’s petrol-powered 2.0-litre boxer engine could be considered rather weedy. Although the petrol-powered Forester’s performance feels a little sluggish on a subjective level, it actually performs quite well against the clock. A Honda CR-V diesel takes 10.3sec to reach 60mph, while a Ford Kuga TDCi dispatches the same increment in 10.6sec. The Forester does it in 10.2sec.

One of the lowest kerb weights in the class no doubt helps the Forester here; it tipped our scales at 1510kg, a significant 170kg less than the Ford Kuga.

Part of the reason for the Forester feeling so slow is that up to around 3500rpm it feels very relaxing and refined. Wind it up beyond that and the familiar offbeat boxer thrum becomes more apparent. It’s not loud enough to feel intrusive, but it does discourage spirited acceleration through the gears.

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The petrol car’s gearchange certainly doesn’t discourage spirited driving, though. Despite a slight reluctance to engage reverse, the five-speed manual gearbox is a slick, well weighted affair that makes swapping ratios an enjoyable experience. So while the Forester is no slouch against the clock, it responds best to more gentle treatment, and rewards cruising with a smooth, relaxed and refined power delivery.

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