A tall car with suspension tuned to go off-road usually means its mass gets shifted about while cornering, speeding up and slowing down, effectively pulling the weight off the tyres and causing it to lose grip.
But thanks to a well-sorted suspension system and four-wheel drive that has been constantly developed in extreme conditions for years, the Forester manages a passable job of being the hottest SUV the sensible side – price-wise – of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
It manages to sprint to 60mph from standstill in 6.0 seconds, and with 236lb-ft of torque, the manual-only XT will always bolt forward if you want it to. In the wet conditions on launch, the car slid without much provocation, but the four-wheel drive brings the misbehaving tyres back into line without any trouble.
It’s a blast to drive, but its nature is hidden underneath a workmanlike exterior so loved of Forester customers. They’re generally the type of person who want their SUV to fit in on the high road rather than the King’s Road, and Subaru reckons many are country estate workers, surveyors, doctors, farmers or architects – people whose jobs, rather than pursuits, take them to the countryside.
It sits above the feisty 177bhp Forester 2.0XT, which continues the firm’s tradition of offering niche cars for customers with very particular requirements.
The 2.5XT is well specced, with black leather upholstery, 12-spoke alloy wheels, MOMO steering wheel and satellite navigation, although prices are yet to be announced.
Emissions are high at 261g/km, as with most Subarus, and its combined fuel consumption figure is 25.7. But the firm reckons it will suit fleet managers looking for a specific type of vehicle and not a high-value running-cost proposition.
Time will tell how popular the 2.5XT is , but its unusual mix of attributes could turn it into a cult vehicle for the discerning SUV driver.