Subaru is celebrating the production of its one millionth Forester - one of the first and, arguably, most successful crossover sports utility vehicles to combine off-road ability with sporty handling. In fact, the Forester is Subarus most popular export model with 83.2 per cent being sold outside Japan.
The milestone was reached nine years and three months after the company began production at its Gumna Yajima Plant in December 1996. Since then there has been a complete model change in 2002 followed by an extensive facelift for the 2006 Model Year. Naturally, the Forester continues to showcase Subarus admired symmetrical all-wheel drive system and low-centre-of gravity horizontally-opposed boxer engines. Worldwide Forester sales reached 119,743 units last year - a 6.2 per cent increase on 2004.
The first-generation Forester set a new world record with an average speed of 180.082 km/h in a 24-hour endurance challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It has continually scored well in all US and European crash tests and received several towing awards in the UK including outright Towcar of the Year 2004 and Compact 4x4 Winner 2005 from The Caravan Club.
The latest range starts at ??17,595 on-the-road for the Forester 2.0 X which has a new 158 PS four-cam boxer engine and features a high equipment count which includes a low-ratio gearbox, hill-holder clutch and self-levelling suspension. Meanwhile, the 2006 MY Forester 2.5 XT now has a 230 PS turbocharged boxer engine which gives a Porsche Cayenne-challenging 0-60 mph time of 5.7 seconds in manual form. Forester 2.5 XT prices are from ??21,995 OTR.
The Forester went on sale in Japan in February 1997 followed by the USA in July with a European debut in the September. The second generation was introduced in February 2002 with European sales starting in October.
2006/02/23 I 11:50 CET I Editor: marathonrally.com/subaru