Right now Im currently driving a Pajero but in the market for a smaller SUV, so when the opportunity came to drive the new Subaru Forester I couldn’t say no. I’m fairly familiar with Subaru and its product line, as I’ve spent years selling them back in the US and I’ve also owned a few WRX’s in my time. The Forester has always been a fantastic vehicle and is definitely the hottest small SUV out there in the market so it was a no brainer that it is on top of my list.
The All-New Forester comes with plenty of improvements for maximum comfort and enjoyment. It has been reengineered, reimagined and redesigned to include a host of enhanced features, resulting in a balance of easy handling, spacious interior and top notch driving experience.
Safety is very important with me and the All-New Forester is equipped with award-winning safety features, like Subaru’s EyeSight technology. This is an advanced driver assist technology that includes automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure and lane sway warning. The feature is available on select variants of the Forester.
Eyesight is something that I personally love from using it back in the US but really wasn’t sure how it would cope with the craziness of Manila driving. But it WORKS! Matter of fact it did amazingly well with Manila's driving conditions. It react quickly but it never felt like it was controlling the vehicle, it alerted me when the car in front of me moved forward while I was too busy with my phone and it slowed me down when someone irresponsibly cut me off.
In addition, features such as auto vehicle hold and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) are also available on the new model. Subaru’s rear vehicle detection system is fantastic for the roads here in the Philippines. Tell me how many times have you backed out of a parking space and a pedestrian, motorcycle or bike crossed your path almost hitting them? With SRVD, the new Forester will automatically alert you in case this was to occur.
Back in the US, the Forester came equipped with either a 2.5liter motor or the 2.0Liter turbocharged XT model, so initially I was a bit hesitant driving the 2.0NA motor. But in reality it was great for Manila driving. It provided enough power to comfortably cruise on SLEX, but if you wanted similar acceleration to that of the XT I would suggest installing the DTE Pedal box. This gave the 2.0liter Forester a much quicker acceleration even on its ECO. The DTE PedalBox is Made in Germany and TUV certified. It has 3 modes: Eco, Sport and Sport+ and within these mods there are 3 adjustments +3 and -3 in sensitivity, so there is so much you can do with the DTE PedalBox.
The new Forester’s interior is fantastic. The leather seats were comfortable and interior had plenty of space for a stroller, golf bag and other items you made need for a weekend trip. The head-unit was great other than the fact it lacked Apple car play and Android auto but bluetooth connectivity was fantastic; the screen was very responsive and over all it was easy to use. A dash cam from Mio or DDPAI and all-weather mats like Hippo Tech mat or Hamer floor mats would be great additions to the interior as well.
The Foresters exterior looks fantastic, it’s a bit bigger from the previous generation Forester but nothing that would change it’s driving characteristics. Headlights are great with a beautiful cut off, allowing you to see everything on the road. The wheels could be upgraded to some 18’s or even 19’s depending on your preference. We fitted a set of 18x8.5 on a set of 235/40 tires and it sat perfectly flushed to the fenders.
Overall the Forester was great and would be a fantastic replacement to the Pajero. It has plenty of power for Manila driving, interior space was more than adequate and it looks great from the outside. Needless to say, its definitely #1 on my list.