Well this certainly rang true with the Subaru Forester. As soon as I stepped inside I felt at home. And no, I'm not some country bumpkin, or a young mother piling the kids in the back for the school run.
Having spent the majority of my life living in the city, I certainly don't class myself as a ruddy, earthy type referred to in a former road test. I am more of a city girl in fact.
Only just scraping the 5ft mark, I loved the seating position of the Forester. Yes, it is high and the steering wheel can be lowered to extreme proportions, but this is perfect for drivers who don't have long legs and, ultimately, it gives a fantastic view of the road ahead.
Although I haven't tested the Forester's full four-wheel drive skills, its ability to manage both main and country roads is well above par, and the ride is more than comfortable with plenty of room for passengers.
Our 2.0X model doesn't have the added turbo rush of the 2.0 XT, but to be honest, for an additional £2,500 and an increase of seven bands in benefit-in-kind tax, I think our X model with the all-weather pack (AWP) copes just fine without it.
The Forester is reasonably lively under acceleration, even after driving our long-term Mazda6 2.3 Sport for two weeks, and makes unfussed progress at a steady 70mph. If I have to pick fault with our long-termer, the two things which spring to mind are the gearchange and the 30 second time limit which activates the immobiliser – and, in my case, the alarm.
I did find the gearstick only grudgingly co-operated while manoeuvring in and out of tight spaces, finally only yielding by slipping it into neutral and starting again. As for the alarm, you have 30 seconds to get the car started after unlocking the doors. If the ignition isn't switched on by the time 30 seconds expires, the vehicle is immobilised.
However, if you are loading shopping into the back while talking to a friend, and fail to put the keys into the ignition, you run the risk of accidentally activating the alarm unless you follow procedure to the letter.
If you are outside the car, this means locking it and unlocking it again for the best results, or if you are inside, pressing the button on the key fob with the ignition switched on. However, there is some debate here at Fleet News as to whether the security benefit this feature brings is worth all of the extra hassle it entails.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% taxpayer): £79 per month