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1999 Subaru Forester
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Found this while attempting to keep myself entertained around the web, I felt its one of the more accurate opinion related article for the subaru foresters (sf body)


SUBARU FORESTER LIMITED
$29,950 five-speed manual
$31,950 four-speed auto

If the Forester is not the perfect all-purpose vehicle then it comes incredibly close. Like the CR-V, it has helped rewrite the rule book for the leisure wagon category and does so at an affordable price.

The basic model, at $26,990, lacks only dual airbags and anti-skid brakes. The $31,490 Limited is on par with the equipment levels of the CR-V and the RAV4 with the power and safety pack.

It also has the most impressive standard features in this class: air-conditioning, dual airbags, anti-skid brakes, cruise control, remote central locking, full-time 4WD with low range, power steering, power mirrors, 21 storage compartments, two map-reading lights, two power outlets, three cup-holders, armrests in the front seats and, just like the CR-V, a plastic tub under the rear floor ... to name a few.

Its front seats are the most comfortable of the four cars with a firm backrest, plenty of adjustment and handy armrests which make a long distance drive more tolerable. Rear leg and headroom is similar to the CR-V, but the low and short rear seat cushion is less comfortable. High floor sills and a smaller door opening mean access is not as easy as in the CR-V.

All-round vision is good; the low tailgate glass and lack of a rear-mounted spare tyre give peace of mind when reversing near small children. The driving position is higher than a sedan but not as tall and commanding as other 4WDs. There are three child restraint anchorage points across the rear roof. The swing-up tailgate is just like a conventional wagon's.

The Forester has a security luggage blind but, oddly, lacks an engine immobiliser. The NRMA security rating is an alarmingly low 24 points out of 100 compared with the CR-V's class-leading 87.

Instruments, though well positioned and purposeful, are not as pretty as the CR-V's - a comment which also applies to the rest of the car.

The Forester is narrower and shorter than the Honda but has a similar wheelbase. Underbody clearance angles are the worst of this foursome thanks to bulky bumper bar overhangs front and rear, which compromise its heavy-duty 4WD system in really tough going. Ride height is acceptable.

Unlike the Honda, the Forester has the drivetrain to pluck it out of a muddy bog and pull it up steep banks, but not enough clearance to leap large rocks.

On the road it drives like a high-quality car, thanks to its Impreza underpinnings. With a big body on top, it displays more body roll. The tyres grip well for a compromise between dirt and tarmac rubber and the chassis is typically Subaru, well-balanced and enjoyable to drive on country roads.


Steering is light and direct and brakes are above average - unlike the others, the Forester has four-wheel discs. The anti-skid brakes work well on bitumen and better than expected on dirt (the natural enemy of ABS) because Subaru tested the Forester on Australian gravel roads during its development.

The engine feels slightly underpowered carting around such a sturdy, tight body but it returns the most miserly fuel consumption figures for this class, sipping 8.8 litres/100 km in the 'burbs and 7.0 in the bush. The manual gearshift is notchy going into second, a Subaru trademark.

Excellent noise suppression and refinement distinguish the Forester. It is a quiet coccoon, with cabin insulation generations ahead of the RAV4 and Kia and, subjectively at least, superior to Honda's CR-V.

TO SUM UP: Built like a bank vault, the Forester is car-like yet has a superior 4WD system.

GOOD: Light controls, low noise, high quality and as good a performer on a dirt track as it is on a four-lane highway.

BAD: No anti-theft engine immobiliser, bulky bumpers limit off road versatility.

http://www.drive.com.au/editorial/article.aspx?id=8275&vf=1
 
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