Tell me about the features.
Although the XS nomenclature doesn’t buzz with excitement as the XT turbo, this variant is equipped extensively. I counted, that great wind blower, easy-touch window operations, a steering wheel with remote control for the radio/ 6 CD combos, reclining rear seat, cruise control, which didn’t really impress as it lacks a brake function. This is something you should consider Subaru as straying to the wrong side of the national highway limit in road declines under cruise lock is not on. There’s an options list for those who like to splurge and this can include an electric glass-sunroof, leather interior, a more powerful sound system, and more that I can’t fit in here.
This is a Subaru. How’s the drive quality?
Yet another spot of improvement has gone into the ride. Whereas the old Forester rode well, at times, on uneven caber roads, you’d swear the car was riding on stilettos with a good dose of toeing in and out. This is no longer an issue in this car. It feels planted to the road at all times and add to that, a Germanic type of cushiness over bumps or road irregularities. Being AWD ensures good levels of grip permanently regardless of road condition and once on a hurried drive through a Kwazulu-Natal village, the dense gravel tracks proved powerless to throw the Forester towards a wooden fence or a herd of cows. It just bounced into corners and curves at speeds not recommended, or witnessed by those humble souls living in territory that is very suited to this car. It’s the same story on the tarmac. Drive in a relaxed mood, eating away kilometers at leisure, you feel as if the car is with you, and not against you. Change tack and pretend you are Solberg and the effect is repeated.
Next week we conclude our 3-part feature on the Subaru Forester 2.5 XS with a look at performance. Same place, same time. Don't miss it!
- PHUTI MPYANE