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Journeys : Oct Nov 2010
20 October / November 2010 6446 First drives Darren Moody Subaru Forester Diesel It seems like every new car I drive these days is a diesel or has a diesel variant. Subaru is no different, having released a diesel Outback earlier this year, followed by the recently-released Forester diesel on test. This engine is Subaru’s first attempt at a diesel – they’ve stuck with their boxer engine design and kept the engine capacity to 2.0L. As with all moder n diesels, this engine uses common rail injection boosted by a turbo charger. At 108kW of power, it is slightly lower than that produced by the Outback (110kW), but torque remains the same at a chunky 350Nm between 1800 and 2400rpm. Despite the engine similar ities, on the road the Forester felt more comfor table with the diesel engine than the Outback. I had a number of Life on the move theories on this, but couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Things like gear ratios and tyres are shared and the Forester is only 30kg lighter than the Outback. There was noticeable diesel clatter when driving through the gears, but once you have settled into cr uise mode you couldn’t pick it from the petrol version. Engine character istics are similar to other diesels, w ith quite noticeable turbo lag below 1500rpm, after which power comes on. While on paper the torque output does match similar capacity engines, I felt you really had to use higher revs than normal before changing up to maintain momentum on Hobart’s hilly streets, causing the engine to become quite noisy. Economy for the diesel engine is rated at 6.4L/100km compared to the petrol version at 9.3L/100km. One noticeable omission from the model range at this point is an automatic transmission – the only configuration is six-speed manual. I haven’t heard any whispers on an auto or CVT version yet, but I’m sure Subaru engineers are working on it, because until they do release an automatic, sales are going to pass them by. As w ith all Subar us it is all-wheel-drive, has a full list of safety features and a 5-star ANC AP rating. Interior fit options offer excellent value for money, with inter ior and exter ior build quality right up there. There are two model specifications for the diesel starting at just under $36,000 plus on roads for the base 2.0D or just under $40,000 plus on roads for the 2.0D Premium.
Aug Sep 2010