Smarter, Safer, Further 2013 Subaru Forester XT Review

Last week I was given the opportunity to test the new smarter, safer, further, 4th generation 2013 Subaru Forester XT, by Subaru Centurion. With more focus on the Subaru BRZ lately, I feel the Forester has been neglected and is well-deserving of some attention in the spotlight.


2013 Subaru Forester XT Review


A Subaru Forester might not be your first choice for an exciting car to drive, but this version takes its breakfast with a turbo-charged shot of 95 octane petrol.


Now in its 4th generation, the exterior of the Forester has held onto some elements from the previous generation Forester you’ve come to know, while also offering more refined styling in other aspects of the design. With the Forester sharing some resemblances to the WRX over the years, Subaru has decided to ditch the bonnet-scoop found on the previous models and replace it with specific styling enhancements on the XT model. These include more aggressive styling on the nose of the car, chrome accents around the fog-lights, mesh style grille and specifically designed 18-inch rims.

2013 Subaru Forester XT

Still closely related to the exterior is engine in the Forester… The engine found in the new Forester XT is similar to the engine found in the Subaru BRZ. With it’s 2.0L turbo-charged 4-cylinder Boxer engine, the 2013 Subaru Forester XT accelerates the 2 110kg body from 0-100 in an impressive 7,5 Seconds while emitting 197 g/Km of Co2 and using on average 8,5 l/100Km of  fuel. This means you should get around 706km on it’s 60 litre tank.

Here are some more specs of the new Forester XT*:

0-100 7,5 Seconds
Co2: 197 g/Km
Max Speed: 210 Kph
Power KW: 177 kW
Torque NM: 350 Nm
Fuel Capacity: 60 litre
Fuel Consumption Urban: 11.2 litre/100km (8.9 km/litre)
Extra Urban: 7.0 litre/100km (14.3 km/litre)
Combined: 8.5 litre/100km (11.8 km/litre)
Fuel Range 706 Km
Length: 4595 mm
Height: 1735 mm
Width: 1795 mm
Wheelbase: 2640 mm
Ground Clearance: 220 mm
Approach Angle: 23.0
Departure Angle: 25.0
*Manufacturer stats


Climb into the 2013 Subaru Forester XT and you will find an abundance of buttons to press and information waiting for you to read at the touch of a button. You will also find some new safety features including:

  • Anti-whiplash front seats
  • Driver-knee airbags
  • Brake override (Designed to make it impossible to accelerate the vehicle if the brake pedal is pressed)
  • Impact-sensing fuel cut-off

You will also find electric steering, 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth phone-compatibility and a USB input socket, auxiliary input, cruise control and multifunction steering wheel amongst some of the first things you will notice. The Bluetooth on the Forester I found to be rather impressive, with clear sounding audio when chatting on the phone, both on your end and the person who you are speaking to – even at speed on the highway. What impressed me even more about the Bluetooth on the Forester was the way it integrates with your phone’s media player. After pairing my iPhone with the system, and switching the radio to the Bluetooth input, the music it played was if I had popped a CD into the CD-player and was listening to it, with no music quality loss to the sound system over the Bluetooth music streaming. The only critique I do have about the radio was that if that song you love starts playing and you REALLY crank up the volume, there is some distortion towards the last few notches of the volume, but the chance of listening to music at that volume is few and far between.

Of all the buttons on the multifunction steering-wheel, there is also 2 buttons to help you switch between the 3 driving modes on the transmission. Most of the time you would probably end up leaving it in “Intelligent” mode, which is aimed to keep both the revs and the consumption low.  There is also a “Sport” and “Sport-Sharp” mode. In the sport mode, the gearbox aims at keeping you in the Forester’s power range, where the Sports-Sharp mode keeps the revs even higher, with a simulated 8-speed transmission. You will also find 2 paddle-shift controllers comfortably behind the steering-wheel for when you’re feeling sporty.

An extensive vehicle information screen means that the 2013 Subaru Forester XT isn’t a car you can just jump into and expect to know what each button does without reading through the manual or fiddling with each one. Looking through the information screen on the dash can be a little confusing, but using the interface becomes more familiar and easier to use over a couple of days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Other nice-to-haves on the Forester include powered, push-button boot lid with height setting, keyless entry, and panoramic sunroof. The panoramic sunroof cannot tilt, but can be opened extensively down the roof. And in the absence of low-range, Subaru has provided a button to activate “X-Mode,” which co-ordinates the engine’s throttle with the car’s dynamics control system, so that all-wheel drive can make a comfortable off-road decent at safe, stable speeds. You also get a full reverse camera display in the dash of the Forester that accurately shows where you are reversing and gives a clear picture, even at night.

The Drive:

The new Forester offers a comfortable daily driving experience with its well-balanced steering-wheel which gives excellent feedback of where your wheels are sitting on the road whilst driving. Considering the Forester weighs in at 2 110kg’s, the car has a heavy feeling to it while driving, especially for someone like me who is used to a small hatchback. However, with this weight, the car doesn’t feel unstable while cornering and doesn’t offer too much roll around the corners… Even if you let the Forester eat up the corner and spit it out as you exit it at the other end.

With tolerable fuel consumption both in town and on the open road, the new 2013 Subaru Forester XT is definitely a car you can use every day and still comfortably enjoy on the roadtrips you have planned.

With the 2013 Subaru Forester XT model as tested costing R529 000, similar competitors include Toyota’s RAV4, Mazda’s CX-5, Volkswagen’s Tiguan, BMW’s X1 and Audi’s Q5. But, when you consider what you’re getting standard on Subaru’s 2013 Forester XT, it becomes a tough choice.


I prefer the more masculine body lines of the new Forester XT compared to the previous model and with its more powerful engine, beefed up transmission and more on-road performance, the 2013 Subaru Forester XT is smarter, safer and able to take you further. It’s seemingly endless power means that there’s fun to be had while driving, just waiting to be unleashed. The abundance of buttons to press while enjoying the roadtrip ahead of you, whether it be on the road or off, will keep you entertained all the way. Why not give Subaru Centurion a call on 012 653 7309 and ask for Gerhard Lourens and arrange a test drive. Or go find your nearest Subaru dealership now and check out the new Smarter, Safer, Further 2013 Subaru Forester XT.

‘Till then…

Always remember, give a jackass an education and you’ll have a smartass!

Signing out.



2013 Subaru Forester XT Review Gallery

Leave a Reply