And now, a soft-roader
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And now, a soft-roader

The Chevrolet Forester is a good compromise between a hardcore sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and a car

india Updated: Apr 03, 2003 17:17 IST

First came the utility vehicle, then the multi-utility vehicle and the sport-utility vehicle. As if this wasn’t enough, came mouthfuls like two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive. Now we have what Chevrolet India calls ‘all-wheel drive’. Chevrolet is the new umbrella brand of General Motors India. The Forester is the first of such vehicles, and comes from Subaru – a well-known Japanese car manufacturer and part of General Motors star alliance.

The Forester is a soft-roader – a crossover vehicle that is a good compromise between a hardcore sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and a car. The ingress and egress is fantastic courtesy seat height that just lets you walk in or out of the vehicle. The windows are frameless, a first for any car sold in India. Amongst the other good exterior features is the two-tone paintwork featuring a stone guard below the waistline that protects against chips, brushes etc. What is standard is 16” alloy wheels as are jewel-type front lamps and integrated fog lamps.

The interiors have an upmarket look about them. The seats offer great lateral support and the arm-rest is handy to rest your elbows. The music system looks unimpressive but the sound that flows is better than most cars. Twin tripmeters and two airbags are standard. Child locks and child seat compatibility are standard too, and so is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

The Forester is great to drive. 120 horses at your command, at a highest 5,600 rpm, which means that if you put your foot down, the vehicle gathers its skirts and goes off. Being a 16-valve engine, she thrives on revs and the new all-wheel drive system ensures that she has massive levels of grip. A limited slip differential is standard, which means limited off-roading capabilities exist, but it’s doubtful whether many owners would exercise this option. The vehicle offers great control and traction and good engine power. I reckon she would do about 9kpl in the city.

Was there anything I did not like? Yes. The wiper and the light stalks are the other way around like any other GMI vehicle. A word about airconditioning. No, it was not lacking in performance, but for a car that comes with a sticker price of Rs 15.59 lakh, a manual air-conditioning system is just not done.

First Published: Mar 27, 2003 01:00 IST