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Subaru Forrester MY-06

Broadcast dates : 7th August 2005
13th August 2005

This Subaru Forrester is known as the MY-06 model, standing for model-year 2006. Subaru has brought the car out early in synch with American-market model year timing.

The brand became a strong seller in America long before it arrived in South Africa. But this past year has seen Subaru sales increase by some 46 per cent, with the Forrester its best-selling model.

Updates to the new version are detail rather than radical, but the appearance has changed notably from all angles.

New colour schemes are on offer and detail colour changes have also made for a fresher appearance.

The different colour body cladding along the lower flanks is history, giving way to straight body colour. And the B pillar has been painted black to impart a sleeker profile.

Newly styled alloy wheels are a major distinguishing factor on the model.

The new contrasted upholstery scheme serves to highlight the ever-improving quality levels of the Forrester interior. Textured black dash and door cappings add an aura of classiness to what remains a rather basic, no-frills design.

The rear seat back and base are very straight-up-and-down affairs with not much in the way of lateral support. But this layout makes it a genuine five-seater wagon.
A new fold-down arm console-cum-armrest replaces the duel armrests in the previous model, and there’s a plethora of cup-holders in the new model – which should please Hendrik, our resident cup-holder watchdog.

The neat instrumentation binnacle houses water temperature, fuel gauge, speedo and rev counter, with the speedo marked to 240 kilometres-per-hour.

Incidentally, the Forrester’s top speed is electronically limited to two-hundred and ten kilometers per hour. The silver finish on the console is the only slightly tacky note to an otherwise tasteful cabin.

The Forrester is available in a couple of versions. This is the top-of the range XT Turbo fitted with a four-speed automatic transmission.

The other models are badged as Xs and XSs and run non-turbo boxer four-cylinder engines producing 121 kiloWatts. These are available in manual and auto versions, as is the top XT model.

The engines on the new Forrester have been upgraded for MY06. Power on the XT has risen from 155 kiloWatts to a 169 kiloWatts, thanks to new airflow sensors and inlet manifolding. And a new exhaust gas recirculating system has been fitted which recycles gas from the exhaust ports, reducing hydrocarbons when cold.

The automatic transmission remains a four-speeder which may seem a bit archaic in this era of six and even seven-speed autos. But the box complements the turbo engine beautifully.

Development on the auto ’box has seen the incorporation of new clutch plates to limit shift shock, and the kick-down mechanism has been sharpened up considerably.

The performance, especially for an MPV, is stunning, with a 0-100 time in the six second bracket for a manual model. The auto does it in about seven seconds. Overtaking acceleration on this turbo model is particularly impressive at Reef altitude.

The Subaru Forrester an unusual animal, in that it’s a true MPV but without the elevated bodywork and vantage point of typical on-off-roaders.

But ground clearance of 200 millimetres makes it a very effective device on poor-quality dirt roads, as does the famed symmetrical all-wheel-drive system.

The Subaru success story keeps rolling along. The impressive aspect of the Forrester is that it looks so ordinary to a person not privy to all the mechanical ingenuity beneath the sheetmetal.

And yet, so successful has been Subaru’s marketing campaign pivoting on its World Rally programme, that it has become one of THE cult cars to own.

R347 000 is a lot of money to shell out for a boxy-looking station wagon. Once you’ve driven it, though, the price doesn’t seem that steep.

Subaru Forrester 2,5 XT
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 2 457 cc
  • Power: 169 kW @ 5 600 pm
  • Torque: 320 Nm @ 3 600 rpm
  • Transmission: Four-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 6,0 seconds (claimed) 
  • Top speed: 210 km/h (limited) 
  • Fuel consumption: 11,5 litres/100 km (claimed)
  • Price: R347 000

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