2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D - Car Review

by under Review on 27 Sep 2010 02:00:16 PM27 Sep 2010
Price Range
$34,690 - $45,990
Fuel Consumption
6.7L - 7.4L/100km


Value-Packed Family Favourite

Subaru Forester is the compact SUV favored by Australian families and the recent addition of the Forester Diesel boosts the model’s appeal even further.

Forester Diesel should give Subaru the impetus to maintain 2010 sales leadership in that competitive segment – ahead of Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-TRAIL.

However you look at it, the third generation Subaru Forester, priced from $30,990, just makes sense – both for family buyers and weekend adventurers. Forester Diesel – priced from $35,990 – is the ideal compliment to a competent lineup. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Overview

Car Showroom tested the entry-level Subaru Forester Diesel – the 2.0D. The Forester Diesel 2.0D Premium ($39,990) gains leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver, 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-stack seven speaker audio system and Xenon headlights amongst its extra features.

Like all Subarus, the Forester Diesel shines as an all-rounder, with no real weaknesses. Quality design and manufacturing are also Subaru standouts. 


Importantly, apart from its practical interior, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, five-star ANCAP safety, excellent fuel economy and Euro 5-compliant exhaust emissions, there’s one extra attribute for the Forester Diesel – a 1600kgs towing capacity. That’s 200kgs more than the naturally aspirated petrol Forester models and for all SUV buyers, towing capacity counts big-time. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Engine

Subaru’s 2.0-litre DOHC horizontally opposed (‘Boxer’) turbo-diesel engine - as fitted to the Forester Diesel and Outback Diesel - is a particularly impressive piece of engineering. Subaru was late to join the diesel team, but Forester Diesel delivers all the latest gizmos like common rail high-pressure direct injection and a closed loop Diesel Particulate Filter – with the added complexity of the Boxer layout.

Maximum power is 106kW at 3600 rpm and peak torque of 350Nm is available from just 1800 rpm. Mazda’s CX-7 diesel is considerably more expensive at $43,640, but delivers 127kW/400Nm; market-leader Toyota doesn’t offer a diesel engine for the RAV. 


Subaru Forester Diesel is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. Petrol Foresters have a five-speed manual but Subaru’s six-speeder is dimensionally identical to the four-speed auto so it’s an easy fit.

We have to confess an attraction to the Forester Diesel – its acceleration and strong mid-range torque deliver the performance characteristics you associate with Subaru, while its quiet, refined operation is not what you get from the still annoyingly noisy diesels offered by some Japanese rivals. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Interior

Right off the bat, the third generation Subaru Forester scored points with a much more spacious interior than its predecessor. Forester Diesel gets the same roomy layout and comprehensive features.

Subaru Forester Diesel has large and spacious seats front and rear with excellent legroom for the second row occupants. The drivers’ seat offers height adjustment and combined with the rake/reach adjustable, three-spoke steering wheel to deliver a reasonable driving position (special mention for Forester Diesel’s large exterior mirrors – nice aerodynamic shape for minimal wind noise and an excellent view). 


Instruments are a conventional three-gauge (Subaru Forster Diesel provides a large, circular fuel gauge next to the speedometer) with stylish blue graphics.

Controls for the climate control air-conditioning and audio system are on the dashboard’s center console. Subaru Forester Diesel runs a single in-dash CD system compatible for MP3, WMA and iPods and with remote controls on the steering wheel.

Apart from Subaru Forester Diesel’s previously mentioned abundant rear seat legroom, the Car Showroom Junior’s booster seats were easily installed and they commented on the excellent view from the relatively high seating position. The rear seat split folds 60/40 to provide access to the excellent luggage area, which comes standard with a sturdy cargo security blind.


Typical for Subaru, the Forester Diesel delivers a quality, refined feel thanks in part to the choice of high quality trim materials and excellent manufacturing quality. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Exterior & Styling

In this segment, on one hand you have the pure SUV look of Toyota’s RAV and at the other extreme are the curves of the Mazda CX-7. The Subaru Forester Diesel sits between the two – part SUV, part wagon.

Forester Diesel rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and scores a matt alloy finish for the door handles, roof rails and some chrome around the new-look ‘Subaru Family’ front grille. 


At 4560mm overall length, 1795mm width and 1700mm height, the Subaru Forester Diesel is one off-roader that won’t challenge your parking skills or the dimensions of your compact home garage. No wonder Forester Diesel is a family favorite.

Subaru Forester Diesel offers a low loading lip for the tailgate – another plus for family grocery loading and weekends away.

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D On The Road

Forester Diesel wears Subaru badges so you expect the driving dynamics to be top-shelf – if not quite as hardcore as the Spec R Impreza WRX STi. Rather the Forester Diesel impresses with its all-round abilities.

Around town Forester Diesel is maneuverable easy for females and first-time SUV buyers – aided by the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission and its light clutch. Forester Diesel’s 10.6-metre turning circle makes some other compact SUVs looks downright cumbersome. 


Both in town and on the freeway, Subaru Forester Diesel’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel provided good response for overtaking and merging.

Over our mountain roads test loop, the Forester Diesel was a tad more precise than full-size SUVs but not as sharp as say Ford’s Mondeo Wagon. Of course the flip side to that is the reasonable off-road ability provided by the Forester Diesel’s suspension travel and calibration.

In all conditions, the refined and quiet operation of the Forester Diesel was impressive. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Challenges

Like all SUVs – compact, mid-size or large – the safety and convenience of the Subaru Forester Diesel would be enhanced by a reversing camera. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Verdict

It’s an oft-used term, but Subaru Forester Diesel impressed because if its all-round competence. Value and safety are further strong suits. 


Subaru Forester is our number one best-selling compact SUV for good reason – it’s damn good. 

2010 Subaru Forester 2.0D Competition

Toyota’s RAV has unquestionable off-road ability and Toyota’s reputation for dependability. What is doesn’t have is a diesel engine – score one for the Subaru Forester Diesel.

Mazda’s CX-7 seats the family in comfort and is very car-like in its driving dynamics, but its diesel requires an extra $7650 over the Subaru Forester Diesel.

Nissan’s X-Trail Diesel is just a tad more expensive than the Forester Diesel 2.0D as tested and lacks the Subaru’s interior space.

Thumbs-up: All-round ability; spacious interior; nice drivetrain; value-for-money
Thumbs-down: Just needs a rearview camera

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