This is a simple yet extremely effective SUV. I liked the way the XS drove and how effortlessly it did everything. It still packed that Subaru punch – and most importantly it sounded like a Subaru! You could tell and feel that this wasn’t a 4×4 just for show, it really wanted to be off-road. Unfortunately I didn’t get a full opportunity to go off-road but you could feel that the capability was there. I was at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre and that simple off-road driving was done with absolute ease. There was good comfort while driving the XS, although it’s not super luxurious it was a comfortable drive. It had all the space a typical Joburger would need. I liked the full-time 4 x 4 and that you could change it to low range on the move, which I thought is brilliantly useful!
The test car was a manual, which is always a surprise in any bigger vehicle these days! It had a 5 speed box, and I always prefer 6 speed boxes. In the JHB area, you do spend most of your driving time on a highway, and having 6 gear just makes sense. It saves on fuel, makes the ride a little less stressful, and all in all is a very JHB way to drive. It does have most of the niceties like automatic lights, but not automatic windscreen wipers. It is, of course, like most Subaru, very safe with all the airbags you’ll need and side impact protection etc included.
It does score in the handling department. Subaru has always been ahead of its time with its permanent all wheel drive systems and the Forester has clearly benefitted from Subaru’s rally heritage. It’s more of a “driver’s car” than most other offerings in this category. The higher spec turbo fitted model would probably tick most of the boxes if you’re looking for an SUV with a difference!
Overall I’m impressed with the XS, it fits into the SUV market well and I think it’s a wonderfully efficient alternative to the usual SUV crowd. Even though it is a cheaper alternative it never feels cheap. It doesn’t offer the same extras as some other vehicles in its segment but then again it doesn’t have the same price tag. If you’re used to having all the gadgets you’ll notice they’re missing but overall it merely feels a comfortable and reliable SUV to drive. I did feel it didn’t have that “wow” factor that most Subaru have. All in all it’s a clever efficient SUV but albeit a little simple. It’ll do the job well but may lack the sparkle of some SUVs in its class.
Specs Worth Noting:
- Price: R328,000.00
- Diff Lock: Yes
- Low Range: Yes
- Full Time 4×4: Yes
- Gearbox: 5 Speed Manual
- Power Output: [email protected]; Torque: [email protected]
- Auto Traction Control: Yes
- Limited Slip Diff: Yes
- Climate Control: Yes
- Auto Headlamps: Yes
- Auto Windscreen Wipers: No
- Air Bags: Driver, Passenger, Front Sides and Curtain Sides, Side Impact Protection: Yes
- Brakes: ABS, EBD, BAS, TCS and VDC
- BMW X1 sDrive 20i: R365,348.00
- Chevrolet Captiva 2,4 LT 4×4: R346,300.00
- Dodge Journey 2,0 CRD R/T AT: R399,900.00
- Ford Everest 3,0 TDCi 4×4 XLT: R399,280.00
- GVM Hover H5 2,0 VGT 4×4: R269,990.00
- Hyundai 2,4 GLS 4×4 AT: R334,900.00
- Jeep Patriot 2,4 Unlimited CVT: R309,990.00
- Kia Sorento 2,2 4×4: R365,995.00
- Renault Koleos 2,5 Dynam Premium 4×4: R399,900.00
- SsangYong Kyron XDi AT: R329,995.00
- Suzuki Grand Vitara 2,4i AT: R346,900.00
Thanks to our model Kristen.
More photos in the Gallery.