14.11.08: Subaru's future

Time 13 years ago

subaru forester diesel imageTODAY, I drove home in Subaru’s future. It’s potentially very bright indeed.

See, I got my hands on the Forester diesel for the first time: Car Dealer has one of the first in the country. As I write, I’m seriously, deeply impressed.

The petrol Forester left me cold. Heavy, the gutless petrol engine coped like an asthmatic pity pony after 30 years of 40 Woodbines a day. It also drank fuel like drinkers in the last-ever happy hour. Completely underwhelming. ‘Where’s the diesel?’, journos asked, tenaciously following the most obvious line of enquiry in the world.

Only one not one obvious, for decades, to Subaru. Diesel? Ugh. Finally, though, the Japanese rally-conquering giants lowered their noses just enough to realise they, perhaps, ought to be looking into this funny diesel lark. But resolved that, if they were going to lower their standards to even get their hands remotely mucky, they’d do it their way.

How they did. Earlier in the year, the world’s first flat-four ‘boxer’ diesel engine went on sale. it’s an engineering masterpiece, something technobods can barely believe is possible, can ever work, and has made mass production, but is. And is now on sale in the Forester. Which is now here, in the Car Dealer car park.

I’ve snared it for the weekend. And, late yesterday evening, I drove it back from the office for the first time ever.

My first thoughts, as the familiar cammy Subaru starter growled? Ooh. My. This really is quite something. It’s amazing!

Completely smooth, Lexus-like refined and unearthly creamy, it’s a remarkable, astounding engine. Seriously. What’s more, while peachy at low revs, pile some on and all that familiar Subaru off-beat throb is there, just like in a toned-down rally car. I’m not kidding! It punches, the turbo whooshes, it’s properly fast and able. All packaged in an engine that, aside from some faint clatter (which could just be the ‘motorsport cams’, you could jokingly tell customers…) is petrol-like.

It’s torquey, too, and despite cruising as fast as a busy M1 and M6 would allow me to, I still averaged 44mpg last night. Genuinely, it transforms the Forester, into a top-10 contender for me this year.

Thing is, in a month or so’s time, it will also appear in the Impreza. Another car that, to now, has whelmed me not one iota. With a six-speed box, all this torque AND the same gigantic bonnet scoop that the Forester boasts – all mixed in with recession-busting, green-great VW TDI-like economy – well, you can see why I’m getting rather excited.

You can understand why Subaru dealers are ticking the days off their calendar, too…

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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