Subaru Forester pushing safety above all
Before safety was a big thing in vehicles, I remember reading about Volvo patenting the V-type three-point safety belt in 1959. It was a move that revolutionised the automobile world, as now, it is present in every vehicle. Continuing with that forward-thinking style about safety is Subaru, which has been pushing driver-assistant technology for some time now.
Even though it is a Japanese car company, most of its models are not designed in a manner similar to its counterparts. Subaru is a company that seems to march to the beat of its own drum, starting with its unique design language and boxer engine.
The Forester, which was developed in 1997, looked more like an elevated station wagon than a traditional compact SUV. However, Subaru built this car around practicality and safety and has gradually carved out a niche for itself.
Currently in its fifth generation, the overall design theme is similar to the original, however, the vehicle is now crammed with electronic safety features. As previously stated, the company has been paying keen attention to push safety above all, with notable features like their EyeSight assist technology.
There are three display screens, which can seem awkward at first, but are very easy and fluent to use. The main one is the 6.3-inch LCD multifunction display, which houses all the relevant information regarding things like music and vehicle information. Then there is the 4.2-inch display in the dial cluster. This acts as a summary screen, where bits of crucial information are shown. This can include the gas mileage and many other safety alerts like lane-departure warning. The third screen is on the dashboard, in front of the windshield. This shows the orientation of the vehicle, whether it is slanted or leveled, as well as the vehicle information such as the engine temperature.
What is good is that there is a synergy with how all three displays function, and a lot of the information doesn’t overlap, except multimedia content, such as the music being played.
Using technology in a meaningful way
I remember the first time lane-keep assist came out. I was eager to try it on Jamaica’s roads, and at the time, it primarily worked on the North-South highway. Now, it can pick up any stretch of white line and give a visible or audible warning. For me, this is a feature that is best on highways if the driver becomes drowsy.
What was most useful was the blind-spot assistant, which flashes an orange light in the side mirror, whenever a vehicle is close to the Forester and is hard to detect. This helped me out a lot round town, when the bikers would zip past me unannounced. In many of these cases, I was trying to make a turn or overtake someone, when I was warned that an object, coming from behind, was passing the vehicle.
To help with the all-round visibility, there are cameras at the front, as well as on the side view cameras. These mostly help when parking or coming out of tight spots as they are faced towards the ground and show the distance from surrounding objects. What is nice is that the screen on the dashboard is used to display these images while the screen in the centre consle is mainly used for the reverse camera.
Performance wise, it was very fuel efficient, with ‘sport’ and ‘intelligent’ driving modes being the main options to choose from. There is also ‘X’ mode for challenging terrain, if the vehicle has to work extra hard to manoeuvre itself out of a tricky situation. The 2-litre engine is matted to a CVT transmission, which sends the power on in a gradual and non-rapid manner.
When buying a vehicle like a Forester, functionality has to be priority. It is about having a vehicle that can do a little of everything, from driving offroad, packing it with luggage or driving it around town. It may never have the sexiest design, but that has never been the point with Subara. For them, it’s about what is practical and safe.
Cost: $9.1 million
Engine: 2 Litre
Torque: 196 Nm at 4000 rpm
Fuel tank: 63 L
Body Type: Compact SUV
Competition: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5
- Vehicle was provided courtesy of Kingston Industrial Garage Ltd, 923-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org