Not one person we spoke to at the LA show had anything positive to say about the new Subaru Forester. Even next to the conceptually similar new Toyota RAV4 it looks poor. The previous version was inoffensive if wholly conventional where as this new model is both dull and ugly. Quite an achievement.
Like the RAV4, the Forester lost sight of its original raison d’être a few generations ago and is now just another compact SUV. Its interior is perhaps slightly preferable to the outside because it’s so soporific there is almost nothing to say about it. Yes it’s practical and no doubt hardy but then so are elasticated waistbands.
Subaru has always had a wholesome, engineering-led and slightly offbeat vibe backed up by neat, functional design. But in this instance the design actually detracts from the appeal. You’d never buy a Subaru for its design (SVX excluded) but this is perhaps the first time you wouldn’t buy one because of it.
By Owen Ready