Being at the smaller end of the compact SUV segment, the Subaru Forester is priced quite well, albeit not quite well enough to qualify as an outright bargain. 

Diesel versions are unlikely to be a popular car with fleets, but not because their carbon dioxide emissions are particularly poor – more so because unexceptional residuals and fairly limited supply are likely to keep contract hire rates quite high.

I can't recall the last time I saw a 'double DIN' stereo

Petrol versions likewise won't appeal to company users, but they may find homes with private buyers who don't have vast annual mileages. The high-output turbocharged petrol version, however, is likely to remain a niche car that could prove difficult to sell.

Private buyers will appreciate Subaru’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty and its 12-year anti-corrosion guarantee. Both are likely to chime with people who like to buy infrequently and own for longer than the next person – Forester people, without a shadow of a doubt.

Those people will also appreciate the diesel version’s economy. For any compact 4x4, an average return of better than 40mpg in an Autocar road test is worthy of a mention, given that other cars in this class have failed to return 35mpg.

Outside, the previous model’s tidy grille has been replaced by one more closely related to the one found on the XV. Because they’re essential to its butch styling effort, the Forester’s roof rails come as standard. But the silver-effect finish is an XC trim addition.

Entry models get a rear parking camera, and the removable tow bar is an optional item. Detaching it removes the bar, but not the unsightly attachment for a trailer’s lights.There’s just a single exhaust for the diesel and naturally aspirated petrol models, but the 237bhp XT will get twin tailpipes, along with bodykit bumpers and a powered tailgate. Subaru has also opted not to make the bumpers or side skirts body-coloured in a time-honoured effort to make the Forester look more resilient.

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