What is it?
An updated version of the third-generation Subaru Forester, with a new 2.0-litre diesel engine at its heart. Subaru makes bold claims for it’s new powerplant, which is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. Officially it returns 7.2 per cent better fuel economy (up to an official 47.9mpg), lower emissions (155g/km), increased torque (258lb ft, accessible from 600 to 2400rpm, 200rpm lower than before) and improved refinement.
Improvements are put down to the adoption of a new common-rail fuel-injection system, a more efficient turbo-charging system, new camshaft timing, an improved cooling system, the use of lighter connecting rods and the use of a smaller alternator.
Other changes are minor to the point of being of little relevance, but for the eagle-eyed there’s a new chrome finish on the grille, more compact wing mirrors, a new instrument binnacle and a new design of steering wheel.
The model we’re testing here is the top-of-the-range 2.0D XS NavPlus, which starts at a hearty £29,070. More on that later, but that price does buy a car laden with kit, including sat-nav, reversing camera, CD player, leather seats, an electric driver’s seat and keyless entry.
What’s it like?
On our first run in the UK in the car, the engine proved smooth, reasonably relaxed and delivered decent acceleration through the gears – although the spacing spreads out from third onwards. That means you have to rev hard to get beyond town speeds, and can find yourself changing down to join a motorway or overtake. A 0-62mph time of 10.3sec isn’t going to set anyone’s pants on fire, but nor does it feel slow in a car of this size.