My Subaru Forester 2.5 XS (2010) is really a remarkable vehicle, and has afforded my family and I many opportunities to go off the beaten track and see things we would otherwise not have been able to. I feel obliged to honour some of the achievements of my Forester.
Sutherland, Karoo, South Africa
A well-timed long weekend in Sutherland, South Africa co-incided with a beautiful cold front that left this small Karoo town (home of the SALT telescope) covered in snow – from space a white circle measuring approximately 50 km would have been seen, up to half a metre deep in places. In wet, muddy, snowy and icy conditions my Forester was supreme – I had so much traction it was hard to believe. I could hit the brakes hard, accelerate strongly from standstill and the loss-of-traction warning light never even came on. While other 2WD vehicles were sliding around and being recovered, the snow-covered roads were my playground.
Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Just a weekend spent camping with family, with a few dirt roads (and passes) thrown in for fun. I lost a tyre here in an “accident” as an inconsiderately driven Toyota Hilux approaching from the front squeezed me to the side of the (very narrow at that point) road where I hit a rock on the full – any tyre would have burst. I picked up a slow leak on another one which was easily fixed with a plug.
Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa
I travelled up the Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa, and down the other side again – a roundtrip of 300 km of gravel travel. This included the notorius Eselbank Pass en route to the quaint Moravian village of Wupperthal, as well as some really smooth, fast gravel roads with delicious sweeping bends. Again, supremely competent, no obstacles it couldn’t overcome and rather surprisingly no problems from the Bridgestone Geolanders.
Sani Pass, Lesotho
But the crowning achievement has been on a recent trip to Sani Pass in Lesotho. We (my brother, my two teenagers and I) covered 1,900 km over three days (with no driving on the middle day). We left and returned from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, travelling very comfortably at or around the national speed limit and returning an overall fuel consumption of a mere 8.6 litres / 100 km. We conquered the mighty Sani Pass in Lesotho – gaining 1,000 metres in altitude over just 8 km of a very bad gravel road with no difficulties whatsoever, despite sporadic appearances of ice and snow on the road. We were surrounded by hardcore 4×4 vehicles with primarily AT and even MT tyres – I was seriously concerned that my Geolanders would not be up to this test as they have already covered 50,000 km and are described as being best for highway use with a bit of offroad thrown in – but again experienced no problems whatsoever. Ground clearance also amazed me with the ONLY touchdown being the towbar on a man-made cement drain crossing the road. Our last three hours of the return trip was in darkness with heavy rain, and driving through potholed mountain passes around Grahamstown – again the fantastic AWD system of the Forester providing absolute confidence during these tricky conditions. I’m really struggling to find many other vehicles that could match this kind of overall performance!
I really love my Forester – it offers me so many cars all in one – a 4×4 to tackle Sani Pass, a car with rally pedigree to tackle a good gravel road or a wet mountain pass with enthusiasm, a comfortable and relaxed (fairly economical) long-distance cruiser, a daily commute vehicle to work and back, space for a fourball’s golfclubs (and the fourball), space to pack in furniture, or dogs or picnics – it’s got it all.
Subaru Forester Forever!
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