SUBARU FORESTER 2.5i-S Price as tested: $41,490 This month: 786km @ 9.7L/100km
PLENTY of us with a taste for fast and nasty motorcycles would argue there’s never a bad day to buy one. My partner, on the other hand, has no such affiliation, so she did mount a case that this particular day wasn’t exactly ideal to be throwing a leg over an unfamiliar 125kW crotch rocket for a 50km ride home.
Sydney skies were chucking it down, and the barometer in our neighbourhood – a vast storm water drain we can see from our back balcony (“water views!” claimed the agent) – was a brimming torrent, clearly at max capacity. My partner was mouthing words that I would later learn were to do with road closures and dangerous standing water and leaving it for another day, but all I could hear was, “blah blah blah … Italian V4 … Sachs suspension … every carbonfibre option … won’t last at this price …”
So Ana just rolled her eyes and settled into the Subie’s passenger seat, agreeing to drive it home after I’d sealed the deal on the bike. The seller was on a tight time frame, so I hustled as quickly as I dared as cats and dogs and even the odd sodden pigeon tumbled from the skies. As the wipers tried their best to clear the deluge, I took a moment to grudgingly acknowledge that yes, all-wheel drive can occasionally be genuinely beneficial.
The Forester’s 18-inch Bridgestone Duelers are not exactly limpet impersonators in the wet, but they do telegraph their modest limits with a decent degree of clarity. It’s the AWD system that really took most of my attention, though. Subaru is a bit unusual in insisting on a set-up that delivers a near-constant 50-50 frontto-rear torque split in normal driving, rather than an on-demand system favoured by many manufacturers. The theoretical downside of constantly driving both ends of the car is fuel consumption, but clearly Subaru says bollocks to that, and obviously believes that the consumption penalty is worth it for not having to wait that millisecond for slip to be recognised and for drive to be apportioned to the end in need.
The Forester’s traction is outstanding. You can monster the throttle and it just gets the torque down to the road with barely a flicker of the ESC light.
It was still belting down after doing the deal on the bike, so as my partner slipped behind the wheel for the drive home, I took some solace in the fact she was driving an SUV with such accomplished wet-weather performance. She grew up in the São Paulo suburb right next to where Ayrton Senna was raised, but sadly doesn’t quite have his mastery in the rain.