Northern Adventure in the all-new Subaru Forester


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Last year, Subaru unveiled the all-new Forester. A continuation to one of the brand’s most successful models, the all-new Subaru Forester comes with new offerings that aims to solidify the Forester as strong contender in the crossover segment of the market. Though the absence of the XT variant meant the Forester’s farewell to turbocharged engines, the Forester remains to be a top-notch crossover SUV choice thanks to the new EyeSight technology and the X-MODE as some of its excellent new offerings.

The good people from Motor Image Philippines (MIP), the official local distributor of Subaru vehicles, invited a group of motoring media for an experiential ride and drive of the all-new Forester. Quite a rare occasion from the brand, everyone was excited to get on to the trip and have the all-new Forester on a road trip up north to San Fernando, La Union.

Flagged off at Subaru Pasig, two variants of the Forester were made available for the drive: The Forester 2.0i-S and Forester 2.0i-L. Team Autocar Philippines got in a beautiful Crystal White Pearl sunroof-equipped 2.0i-S. After breakfast we immediately hit the road braving the midweek EDSA traffic. It was my first time to drive an EyeSight equipped Subaru and, I must say, I was impressed with my first encounter with the Subaru tech.

The bumper-to-bumper traffic along EDSA served as perfect place to put EyeSight to use. Without even trying, the emergency brake function of the EyeSight system triggered after a vehicle ahead of us suddenly stopped. Being an EyeSight newbie, it did come as a bit of a surprise. The EyeSight features are smart. Even the EyeSight’s lane departure assist was on point. It is unlike other driving assist systems that sound too piercing.

The naturally aspirated Forester isn’t a slouch. Contrary to what most assume, it doesn’t lack power. If you directly compare it to a turbocharged Forester, then yes, you might miss that mid-range turbo boost. Having a 2-liter boxer, this Forester might not have that turbo rush anymore but it doesn’t mean highway drives can’t be pleasurable.

Driving the all-new Forester on expressway was as smooth as silk. Changing gears is seamless with no shift shock even in manual mode via the paddle shifters. Getting up to speed is a breeze and there’s still more power to spare. NVH is top notch and the ride is comfortable for a crossover SUV. There’s ample leg room and this Subaru crossover makes an ideal weekend cruiser especially with it’s abundance of luggage space.

But the main highlight of this trip was none of these high tech features. It was the off-road activity.  Yes, you read that right. When we got to La Union, first thing we did with the Forester was take it on an off-road adventure. We put the Forester’s X-MODE to good use, we conquered the local terrain, ruts, mud and even crossed two rivers!  Toggling to the ‘snow and dirt’ mode of the X-MODE, made quick work of steep climbs and river crossings just like a true off-roader.

Hats off to MIP team as off-roading caught me by surprise. Not that I underestimated it’s capabilities, but to cross a river in a Forester, twice, is not something you’d expect most vehicles in this category are capable of.

There are already several generations of the Forester, each with it’s own subtle cosmetic changes along the way. Seeing the all-new Forester now, those small changes have truly brought the Forester far from its station wagon-esque first gen. You might miss the XT but looking at the all-new Forester in its totality, it is definitely better than its predecessors. You just have to give it a chance.


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