So… do you like orange?
Bright, fluorescent, hi-vis-vest-worthy orange?
Because while the Subaru Forester Sport variant added to the medium SUV range last year offers more than just colourful trim elements, it’s certainly the most immediate feature people notice.
There are orange highlights and inserts inside and out: under guards, roof rails, air vents, stitching and more, which stand out even more thanks to the almost as liberal use of black trim on the grille, wheels, fog light surrounds and such.
We know we’re banging on about it a bit, but it’s worth focusing on given the styling tweaks are essentially all that separates the Sport from the Forester Premium, which is $1550 cheaper, save for a sunroof, LED fog lights and water repellent cloth seats.
It’d be a pretty easy $1500 to save.
All Foresters scored a revised headlight design for 2021, plus a Collision Detection Unlock function which unlocks doors and the tailgate after a heavy collision to reduce the possibility of occupants being trapped in the vehicle.
More importantly, the tow rating was raised from 1500kg to 1800kg on on-hybrid Foresters, which won’t appease serious caravanners but it does improve overall practicality — which remains the Foresters strong suit.
As with the Outback, the Forester’s 2.5-litre petrol engine — which is only 2kW and 6Nm shy of the Outback’s outputs — does enough without being a stand out.
Its main issue it the CVT automatic, which makes the Forester sound like it’s struggling even though it’s actually moving along just fine.
As with the performance, the fuel economy is acceptable is not spectacular.
The water repellent seats are certainly comfortable and noise, vibration and harshness levels are all good for the class.
Keeping with Subaru’s DNA, the handling and body control is commendable for the segment — though a turbo would engine would of course help it live up to its Sport moniker.
It’s certainly no Forester XT.
But just as the Forester’s positives continue, so too do its downsides — namely, the Eyesight safety system.
We’ve long found it too intrusive and it’s only gotten lippier in its current iteration.
Using a camera to monitor a drivers face so they’re looking at the road is clever, but is too pedantic in its operation.
Turning your head to better hear rear passengers is met with beeps telling you to look at the road — even if you are doing exactly that — while on one trip I had constant beeping telling me to be alert when I was driving normally.
And after the Outback did away with Subaru’s trademark second, dash-mounted info screen, it now feels a bit dated and unnecessary here.
One of the most practical and spacious medium SUVs you can buy, but we’d probably go for the Premium over the Sport unless you really, really dig the colourful trim.
2021 SUBARU FORESTER SPORT SPECIFICATIONS
- Price $41,990
- Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
- Outputs 136kW/239Nm
- Transmission CVT automatic, AWD
- Fuel economy 7.4L/100km