Forester 2.5 litre XTE.
4th October 2005.
Back in 1997, the first Subaru
Forester generation was
among a few models to offer the compact crossover concept
of the sedan/ estate comfortable unitary body, with the SUV
all-wheel drive technology,
and some of the minivan /
SUV common high seating
position and interior flexibility.
Now that the crossover changed, from
its niche market beginnings to become a regular segment
with its own sub-divisions, Subaru's Forester had to get
Known for its successful combination of
performance car handling, estate car practicality and SUV
all-terrain ability, the 2006 model year Forester entered
dealers’ showrooms in last few weeks with a fresh look,
thoroughly revised engines, interior and suspension plus
additional power and performance.
at the rear give a taller look, closer to
a conventional SUV.
Exterior - Launched in 2002, the
current Forester generation gets and extensive facelift
with new front wings, bonnet, bumper, grille and headlamps
giving a greater road-presence and visual dynamics.
The new four-globe headlamps sweep back
into the front wings, visually lifting the perceived
height of the car. Larger wheels plus design changes
at the rear give a taller look, more imposing and closer
to a conventional SUV, while the bar below the window has
been raised by 30 mm and painted body-colour instead of
anthracite, to make the tailgate appear deeper and the
window higher with its base levelled with the shoulder
line of the car.
In addition, the bottom lower centre
section of the rear bumper has been made black giving the
impression of a higher ground-clearance.
However the low-centre-of-gravity
horizontally-opposed ‘boxer’ (flat) engine and
full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive drivetrain ensure
higher degrees of stability, active safety and driver
involvement. Extensive chassis revisions aimed at
reducing pitch and roll and further improve road holding
and steering precision.
interior with sporty orientation (pictured
2.5 XTE version).
Interior - The upgraded interior
(UK specs and equipment, but may differ between markets)
boasts new features such as a multi-function centre
console/ armrest/ table/ cup holder, plus a new load bay
restraining system and water-repellent seat trim.
The new multi-function centre console
between the front seats offers a multitude of uses. These
include an armrest which slides forward, hinges vertically
and flips backwards creating a small table. It also
slides far enough rearwards to provide the rear-seat
passengers with two cup-holders.
The multi-function centre console also
has a console pocket able to hold four CDs, while a 12
volt power outlet allows driver and passengers to recharge
their mobile phones.
the optional leather seats.
The load bay has a new
luggage-restraining system with hooks and bar hangers
fitted below the conventional load-cover.
The rear-seat base has been extended by
50 mm to improve comfort, while front seat fore and aft
adjustment is now via an easy to access full-width towel
Seats and doors feature water-repellent
material, while trim choice is extended with the new XE
and XTE models offering the choice of black or beige
leather. The X and XT models have off-black cloth
All models except the entry-level
Forester 2.0 X have audio controls mounted on the steering
wheel plus a six-stacker radio CD player and seven
speakers. The Forester 2.0 X has a single-disc radio
Subaru says that like the 1997 original
Forester, SUV clichés are avoided such as a rear
door-mounted spare wheel which hamper handling by
introducing a pendulum-effect weight just where it is not
Instead, the full-sized spare is mounted low in the
boot floor with the striking rear-end featuring a
hexagonal-shaped tailgate and unusual, triangular
2.0 litre - A new four-cam
naturally-aspirated 2.0 litre ‘Boxer’ engine gets now
158 PS (33 PS more than before), raising the top speed
(manual) by 10 mph (16 km/h) to 122 mph (196 km/h), and
reduces the 0-60 mph (0-96.5 km/h) time from 11.1 seconds
to 9.4 seconds.
Subaru Forester (UK
consumption, imperial mpg (litres/100 km)
The automatic version improves by a 14
mph (22.5 km/h) boost to its top speed at 118 mph (189
km/h), with a 1.3 second cut in its 0-60 mph time which is
now 11.6 seconds.
The all-aluminium unit features twin
overhead camshafts per cylinder bank (DOHC) plus an Active
Valve Control System (AVCS) which is a form of variable
The 1,994 cc engine retains the same
92mm bore and 75 mm stroke as before but the compression
ratio is now a high – and therefore more efficient –
2.5 litre turbo (XT) - First
introduced for the ’05 Model Year, the 2.5 litre turbo
(XT) gains an extra 19 PS, raising power to 230 PS and
reducing the 0-60 mph time to 5.7 seconds with the manual
gearbox (top speed is 215 km/h). The 2.5 XT gets a new
optional automatic transmission featuring ‘sportshift’
manual selection and linked to the ‘Subaru Vehicle
Dynamics Control’ (SVDC) to enhance handling and road
holding (see below).
Performance enhancements are partly due
to raising the compression ratio from 8.0:1 to 8.4:1, with
other revisions to the exhaust system and the introduction
of a secondary air intake.
The Forester 2.5 XT has a rear
limited-slip differential, full-time symmetrical all-wheel
drive and self-leveling rear suspension.
changes aim for a bolder look.
Like the new Legacy, the Forester 2.5
XT uses a sintered steel journal cast cylinder block to
reduce Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH).
Both the bore and stroke are enlarged compared to the 2.0
litre unit – now standing at 99.5 x 79 mm instead of 92
x 75mm – while the 16 valves are operated by two
overhead camshafts per bank as before.
The intercooled turbo remains
small-sized for strong initial acceleration and flexible
Revised range -
The model which competes against the Honda
CR-V, Nissan X-Trail and Toyota RAV4,
gets a revised and simplified model range. The previous
2.0 XT (turbo) is dropped and replaced by a better value
2.5 XT (similar price). Leather trim and cruise
control are added to the new 2.5 XTE.
The entry-level 2.0X continues
with virtually identical equipment to the ’05 MY car,
while the ‘All Weather-Pack’ is replaced by the 2.0 XE
which adds – among other items – leather trim, heated
front seats and cruise-control.
New features include larger 16 ins
diameter wheels for the naturally-aspirated models and 17
ins wheels for the turbos which also gain
HID xenon headlamps
with self-leveling. Beige or black leather seat trim is a
new no-cost option on the 2.0 XE and 2.5 XTE.
and agile thanks to its low centre of
All models boast pop-up headlamp
washers while all but the entry-level 2.0 X have audio
controls mounted on the steering wheel. The Forester’s
trademark large electric sliding and tilting sunroof
continues on all but the 2.0 X and 2.5 XT.
UK on-the-road prices (all
prices include mica/metallic
paint) start from £17,595 for the 2.0 X
manual (add £1000 for the automatic gearbox), to £20,495
for the 2.0 XE, £21,995 for the 2.5 XT (+£1,350 for the
Sportshift automatic) and £24955 for the 2.5 XTE
(+£1,350 for the Sportshift automatic).
- Both manual and automatic transmissions have been
improved for the facelifted ’06 Forester with, for
example, all manual transmissions having a shorter travel
for a slicker shift. The shift-stroke is now 10 mm
shorter, while the firmness of the gear-change itself is
enhanced by 15 percent.
Naturally-aspirated Forester 2.0 X and
XE models with automatic transmission feature a 3 kg
lighter transmission with direct-control type system for
economy is also optimised
thanks to a slip lock-up device and the use of advanced
electronics to control change-points.
2.0 XE with automatic transmission.
‘Sportshift’ is introduced
for turbo Forester 2.5 XT and XTE models, with more
responsive reaction, and allows manual selection up and
down the gearbox.
Manual naturally-aspirated Foresters
have a dual-range gearbox which gives 10
speeds. Dual-range is selected by depressing the
clutch and raising a small lever next to the gear-shift.
This can be done on the move.
Low-ratio advantages include extra
control through enhanced engine-braking in slippery
conditions. This could be while driving down a
snow-lined street littered with abandoned cars or while
pulling a caravan off a rain-soaked field.
The Forester’s dual-range system
makes hill starts that much easier and is kinder to
the clutch, especially that the hill-holder clutch
– standard on all manual models - prevents rolling
backwards when stationary on a gradient.
Dynamics Control - New for ’06 is an automatic
version of the turbocharged Forester 2.5. Standard
on this model is Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control
(SVDC) which combines active safety with enhanced
It sensors on all four wheels to detect slip, with
other sensors registering front to rear G-forces and
Symmetrical AWD Transmission –
Subaru’s rally-honed symmetrical all-wheel drive
transmission reduces drive friction, fuel consumption and
power loss for several reasons.
First, the short ‘boxer’ engine is
in-line with the transmission. Then, its low height allows
the front drive-shafts to be almost horizontal,
while power is sent to the
rear wheels is in a straight line via a prop shaft rather
than via an awkward transfer box.
non-turbo versions have a dual-range
gearbox with 10 speeds.
The light and compact AWD system can be
installed in the transmission case, and the symmetrical
AWD system allows chassis engineers to tune the suspension
for excellent handling and road holding.
The Forester’s full-time AWD system
on manual models splits power 50/50 front to rear which
gives enhanced straight-line tracking and extra agility
As soon as slip is detected, the centre
differential with its viscous-coupling distributes torque
to the axle with the most grip. This happens in
milliseconds, and all the driver is aware of is less
understeer/oversteer than expected and reassuring grip
where a 2WD car would be sliding.
Centre of gravity
- The unitary body and the all-wheel-drive
system are not the only reasons behind stability. Thanks
to its low centre of gravity, its all-alloy
horizontally-opposed engine, and the Impreza-based
chassis with long-travel all independent suspension, the
Forester can offer a similar high seating position and
ground clearance to a conventional SUV but with a lower car
handling caracteristics and active safety.
Revised suspension - The
facelifted Forester gets strengthened suspension mounts
and revised spring and damper settings to better control
wheel movement. As before, the Forester’s front and rear
struts are fitted with rebound springs to reduce pitch and
better control body roll.
Coil springs and damper valves have
been fine-tuned, geometry tweaked and suspension bushing
revised to give a linear response to the steering
seat of the basic 2.0 X version.
The standard self-leveling rear
suspension keeps a constant ground clearance for covering
unmade tracks/rough terrain – even when the car is fully
laden with passengers and luggage.
Thanks to larger 16 ins wheels with
215/60 tyres on the naturally-aspirated models and 17 ins
featuring 215/55 tyres on the turbos, the Forester X and
XE now boast a greater 205 mm ground clearance (200 mm for
the XT and XTE).
Safety - The Forester XT’s
active and passive safety measures include (UK specs)
electronic brake force distribution (EBD), four-channel,
four-sensor anti-lock brakes (ABS) and large-diameter
ventilated front and rear discs.
Active front head-restraints reduce the
risk of whiplash injuries while the passenger airbag is
dual-stage allowing progressive protection during less
severe impacts and total deployment in a more serious
crash. Large side airbags are also standard, protecting
both the torso and head.
High-tensile steel panels with
tailored blanks are used in key impact areas, combining
strength with good energy-absorbing properties, while aluminium
is used for the bonnet, front and rear bumper beams, roof
rails and sunroof frames keeping down weight.
Like all new Subarus officially
imported by Subaru (UK) Limited, the new Forester 2.5 XT
offers a three year/60,000 mile warranty plus three years’
paintwork and 12 years’ anti-corrosion cover (with
inspections). This is in addition to three
years’ free membership of Subaru Assistance – a
comprehensive home and roadside repair and recovery
package throughout the UK and Europe, administered by Mondial