Subaru has always been proud of the handling of previous Foresters, making much of the extra agility afforded by a lower, estate-like body and the boxer engine layout’s naturally lower centre of gravity.
Despite the Forester now being longer and taller than ever, it continues the family tradition of surprising agility. Wide tracks help to offset the effects of a lofty roofline, as does the fact that the engine is positioned so low.
This, coupled with the Forester’s relatively low kerb weight, endows the Forester with remarkably sprightly handling. It certainly feels much more willing to change direction than the majority of its SUV peers. However, the electrically assisted power steering, though commendably precise, feels too light to instil real confidence on turn-in.
Once settled into a corner, the Forester never feels anything other than utterly safe and secure. If you’re pressing on – especially on damp roads – the Forester is prone to some gentle understeer, but the nose is easily tucked back in by lifting your right foot, or by the impressively unobtrusive but effective stability control system.
The ride is not the softest, but the tyres’ relatively tall sidewalls work well with the suspension to create a controlled yet supple ride quality. Most impressive of all, though, is the hush with which the suspension deals with humps and bumps – whether those are coarse motorway surfaces or lumpy suburban side streets. Subaru’s engineers have clearly put a lot of effort into this part of the Forester’s dynamic repertoire and it definitely seems to have paid off.