Subaru Forester Sport e-Boxer

Subaru suits you sir – and you too madam – if it’s a combination of style, SUV capability and sterling pedigree that you are in pursuit of in these hectic pell-mell days of fast living, fast food and ‘fast’ past the post elections. You don’t even have to stop to think about it, for who better than Subaru if you’re chasing a manufacturer of four-wheel-drive cars who got there first and has had the opposition playing ‘catch-up’ ever since.

The ‘crossover’ concept is quite often – in the hands of other manufacturers – on the crossroads to nowhere. In short, one can make a compromise too many, resulting in a vehicle that Baron Frankenstein might wax lyrical about. Friends – Subaru makes no such mistake. It can dish out a deal that has customers salivating, by cleverly adapting the SUV’s appearance to today’s style-conscious imperatives while, frankly, underpinning a very attractive car with hardware that does the business in the best possible way.

‘Whatever is he blathering on about?’ I hear you ask. Well, to put things in another way, the £38,455 Forester Sport e-Boxer is no ‘lottery car’. This is no ‘Grand Rover Evocative’ or ‘Gently Bentley Blingtayga’ in which Del Boy would ‘promenade’ through Chelsea. This is a car that says so much about you in the most unobtrusive way. Like your old Crockett and Jones brogues, you usually hang on to a Subaru for a long time…and then buy another.

Inside the large and airy cabin there’s plenty of room for five and lots of luggage. Cabin architecture is high quality and tough and yet there’s a feeling of intimacy too. Well equipped with all the adjuncts to modern motoring like rear camera, cruise control, heated seats…I could go on. Of course there are safety aids to keep you safe in this rugged vehicle that’s ideal for battling everything from the busy highway to bumpy forest tracks.

But how does the Forester feel behind the wheel? You sit tall and enjoy good visibility – and the range of seat adjustment lets anyone from a delicate princess to Jethro the farm labourer, get comfortable.

Cars like this often wallow when the roads are twisty – but not the Forester which displays surprisingly controlled handling thanks to a low centre of gravity. Naturally the car’s dynamics on or off-road are excellent. Hustle around your country estate with ease – but, of course, the serious mud plugging is best left to your estate manager in his Land Rover Defender. Off to town in the next instant to call on The Windsors (Do you know them?) and it’s as comfy as can be. It’s just an all-round jolly good egg of a car.

Powered by Subaru’s hallmark horizontally opposed 148bhp four cylinder petrol engine – ably assisted (with no ‘plugging-in) by a small battery – that drives all four wheels through a six speed auto (CVT) transmission, the Forester is so relaxing to drive. You can, however, press on to near 120 mph should you be of a criminal persuasion. It’s an excellent propulsion system that makes light work of on-road or off-road travel because in all conditions the car’s dynamics are first class. And it’s about time to dismiss those negative rumours that the ‘boxer’ engines are not particularly economical. Even Subaru gives the average mpg as just 34.9mpg – which is strange because your correspondent covered many miles over a variety of routes and the average was over 45mpg. On a gentle long run an average of over 50 mpg was achieved: quite remarkable.

Take it from me, the Subaru Forester is top of the tree, dovetailing dynamism and performance with the versatility demanded today and underpinning it with Subaru’s trademark all-wheel drive for superior all-weather and off-road ability.

So there you have it. The car’s all-round manners are the finest – and I was blessed for part of my test with a companion equally well-mannered, equally stylish and equally capable of unsurpassed versatility – being not only a concert hall flautist but a cordon bleu cook too.

“What a superb vehicle!” she cried. “A veritable symphony of a mechanical polyphony, which hits the right note at the right time in the right way.”

Diverting as her company was, I kept my attention on the road and on the subtle and reassuring Subaru.

With that ‘Boxer’ engine punching clever beneath its belt it was plus points all the way.