Test Drive: 2016 Subaru Forester

Forester

The 2016 Forester has evolved nicely. It is bigger and bolder than former iterations of this popular SUV.
(Photos: Jack Kazmierski)

A safe bet for the modern fleet.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS: Safety comes in a variety of packages. Sometimes it’s passive, sometimes it’s active, and sometimes it’s a matter of crashworthiness. When it comes to the 2016 Subaru Forester, this SUV has all the bases covered.

Although cost of ownership, resale value, fuel economy and other factors play a large part in the way fleet managers look at their vehicles, driver safety is paramount. To that end, the Forester not only offers value for the money, along with great fuel economy (for a vehicle of this size), but it also boasts a broad range of features and technologies designed to (first of all) prevent an accident, as well as to minimize injury when an impact is inevitable.

Subaru’s EyeSight system

The Forester comes standard with Subaru’s all-wheel drive system, which translates into sure-footedness on all roads and in all weather conditions – a big plus in the overall driver safety picture.

Add to that the fact that the Forester has been designed to minimize blind spots and offer exceptional visibility in all directions, and you’ve got a driver who is sure to see trouble coming sooner rather than later, improving response times.

In fact, when it comes to visibility, Subaru says the glass area is larger than ever on the Forester, as is the side mirror surface area. These enhancements, combined with a high seating position, give the driver a better view of the road and vehicles all around him.

The next layer of safety is the most impressive – Subaru’s exclusive EyeSight system.
This optional feature employs two stereoscopic cameras to monitor activity on the road ahead, and to provide assistance to the driver via multiple advanced active-safety systems. In other words, think of EyeSight as an extra set of eyes that are always looking at the road ahead.

With EyeSight monitoring the road, Subaru’s Adaptive Cruise Control can keep a safe distance to the car ahead, the Pre-collision Braking system can slow or stop the car in case of an emergency, and the Lane Departure and Sway Warning system can keep the car in the lane and under control.

The EyeSight system is so good, in fact, that Foresters equipped with the technology have been designated an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.

Forester evolution

Park an older Forester beside the 2016 model, and the difference is striking. The Forester has matured nicely over the years, and the most recent generation is bigger and bolder than ever.

Cargo capacity is impressive (up to 2115L), making it a practical option for fleets that need to haul people and their cargo. The interior is spacious and comfortable, and the Forester inspires confidence on the open road.

Available with either a 2.5L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder boxer engine (170 hp, 174 lb-ft of torque) or a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine (250 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque), the Forester offers the choice of a 6-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). T

The latter comes with Subaru’s X-Mode system, which takes control of the engine, transmission, AWD system, and brakes to help the driver safely navigate the most challenging driving conditions.

If safety is one of the key features you look for in a fleet vehicle, the 206 Forester should definitely be on your selector.

VEHICLE: 2016 Subaru Forester 

PRICE RANGE: Starting at between $25,995 – $37,995 

PRICE AS TESTED: $37,995 

ENGINE OPTIONS: Available with 2.0L horizontally opposed, 4-cylinder boxer engine with twin-scroll turbocharger and intercooler or a 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder boxer engine 

TRANSMISSION OPTIONS: Available with 6-speed manual or Lineartronic CVT 

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION (AS TESTED): 2.0L turbocharged / CVT 

NOTEWORTHY FEATURES ON TEST VEHICLE: Harman Kardon sound system, X-Mode system for added traction 

FUEL ECONOMY (ADVERTISED): 10.2 L/100 km (city), 8.5 L/100 km (hwy) 

FUEL ECONOMY (AS TESTED): 10.6 L/100 km (city) 

COMPETITION: Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Venza, VW Tiguan

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