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Subaru Forester 2005 Review

Forester has as just been upgraded for the third time.

It is a car that attracts more and more buyers with each passing year, with sales already on their way to another record this year.

Subaru says the compact, five-seat all-wheel drive wagon has more diverse appeal than any other model in its lineup.

Forester has as just been upgraded for the third time, with the release of the MY06 model that sees both cosmetic and mechanical changes across the range.

The new model misses out, however, on the new look previewed with the larger, seven seat Tribeca that has just gone on sale in the States.

The new three-piece Alfaesque front grille is also a hallmark of the new, soon to be released Impreza.

But not, we can report, in the new Forester – and some would say that's a good thing.

On the other hand, the MY06 model's styling is, if anything, more conservative, with less dramatic headlights and a squarer, straighter radiator grille.

Clear look tail lights have replaced the old ones, in keeping with the current trend.

Turn indicators have also been added to exterior mirrors.

Four airbags – front and side – are now standard across the range, giving Forester a maximum five-star safety rating.

In a power play for market leadership, power output is up across the range.

The 2.5-litre engine that powers the X and XS models (same engine that powers new Liberty), rises from 115kW to 121kW – an increase of eight per cent.

That makes it the most powerful car in its class, Subaru is keen to point out.

The fire-breathing 2.5-litre turbocharged power plant in the XT jumps from 155kW to 169kW – an increase of 9 per cent (one kilowatt more than WRX).

Electronic throttle control is standard across the range, delivering a crisper, more responsive feel to the pedal.

Suspension, meanwhile, has been upgraded across the range, with firmer damper and spring rates, producing less pitching and tighter, firmer cornering.

Inside, you get a choice of light or dark trim no matter which model takes your fancy.

There was nothing particularly wrong with the old Forester and the changes that have been made will only serve to build on this fine reputation.

We were able to sample automatic versions of both the XS and turbocharged XT models this week in the chilly climes of southern Tasmania.

The news is all good, except for the fact that the firmer ride, while it delivers better handling, might not be to everyone's taste.

Older people in particular are attracted to Forester because it's easy to get in and out of, with no mountaineering necessary.

The seats are at exactly the right height to pivot and stand up when exiting the vehicle.

These people might not appreciate the firmer ride.

More power means quicker acceleration times, particularly in the case of the XT which now sprints from 0 to 100km/h in a flat six seconds – down from 6.4 seconds.

That's almost as fast as a WRX and should further the XT's sports appeal.

Normally aspirated models, meanwhile, drop from 10.4 to 9.8 seconds for the dash.

The turbocharged XT is also available for the first time with a Sportshift four-speed sequential auto that allows the driver to change gears manually.

XT also gets high powered headlights and 17 inch alloy wheels.

New Forester is priced from $31,990 which includes registration, green slip and stamp duty – but not dealer charges that vary from dealer to dealer.

Pricing guides

Based on 65 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

X 2.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,800 – 4,730 2005 Subaru Forester 2005 X Pricing and Specs
X Weekender 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,500 – 5,610 2005 Subaru Forester 2005 X Weekender Pricing and Specs
XS 2.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $3,000 – 5,170 2005 Subaru Forester 2005 XS Pricing and Specs
XS Luxury 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,100 – 5,390 2005 Subaru Forester 2005 XS Luxury Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.