At last count, there were at least 95 different SUVs and crossovers of varying sizes for sale in Canada. Ninety-five! And thanks to a new crop of sub-compact SUVs, that number is still growing, with new models or significantly updated ones popping on to the market every few months like so many mushrooms or Toronto condo towers.
There’s truly something to suit every buyer’s desires too. Looking for a gargantuan bus that’ll hold eight people and tow a forty-foot boat? There are a few of ‘em out there. How about an SUV that performs (and sounds) better than most sports cars? No problem, several choices there too.
And the luxury and features? Hoo boy! Stuff that was exotic kit – like adaptive cruise control, active lane-keeping assistants and air conditioned seats – found on high priced machines only a few years ago can be spec’ed on a $30,000 micro-ute now.
Don’t even get me started on the styling. Swoopy lines, fancy pearlescent, tri-coat, paint, big, sporty wheels and body kits are all the rage now. Never mind those ridiculous “Sport Activity Coupe” things.
While the automotive world continues to flush sanity down the drain in leapfrogging itself for more tech, more performance, more flashy exteriors (and interiors!), there remains a quiet population of buyers seeking an unpretentious, reliable and practical mobile conveyance unit.
For those people, Subaru still makes the Forester you see here.
While it’s true the Forester can be optioned up with navigation, the exceptional EyeSight suite of adaptive safety features, and an industry-best CVT transmission, this Forester, a $29,995 Touring trim model, has none of that.
What it does have is a tall, boxy profile with lots of glass all around the cabin, and door mirrors affixed to the door instead of the corner of the window. And an upright seating position that all work together to give driver and passengers an uncompromised outward view. This means the cabin is bright and cheery, and safer due to unobstructed sightlines.
That boxiness also provides door openings, both front and rear, that are very square. This allows occupants to get in and out of the Forester with little risk of smacking their heads on a steeply raked A- or C-pillar. Plus, by not sloping the roofline or rear hatch dramatically, the cargo hold is wide and tall and offers best-in-class capacity. There’s a large, removable rubber mat with cupped sides in the cargo hold to help keep the messes of adventure (or simply a spilled carton of milk in your grocery run) from ruining the carpet.
Imagine that, a Sport Utility Vehicle that actually remembers the Utility part of its name.
CVT Blasphemy? Test Drive: 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i
The seats – wrapped in durable fabric, not leather that’ll make your back sweat – are firm yet comfortable and have headrests that go up and down, but also ratchet forward to ensure optimal positioning for safety and comfort. And just because they’re not wrapped in the virginal hides of some fancy Italian bovine, doesn’t mean they can’t be heated – they are, because it just makes sense if you’re going to use your Forester regardless of the weather (and you should).