STI Forester tS

Subaru Forester tS Review: “Improved performance sets it ahead of the pack” by Hideaki Kataoka

The tS series is a complete car that carries the badge of Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru’s motorsports division. The Forester tS has been developed with creating the best SUV in the world in mind, delivering the ultimate driving enjoyment. However, the Forester tS will only be available until the 5th of April. Moreover, it is an STI-tuned version of the second generation turbocharged 2.0XT EyeSight. The benchmarks used for its tuning were the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

What’s noteworthy about it is that it’s the first time that a complete car from STI has been equipped with the EyeSight driving support system in combination with Brembo brakes. Meanwhile, performance upgrades include the exclusive suspension that has been lowered by 15mm, a flexible tower bar, flexible support, and a flexible draw stiffener. It is also outfitted with 245/45 R19 tires.

Its distinction from the catalog model can immediately be felt on the road. Many tall SUVs tend to understeer, but the Forester tS is surprisingly neutral in this area. When driving fast on winding roads, the body roll is skillfully eliminated and allows you to dive into the corners as you wish. It doesn’t have steering or response lag common to most SUVs. Because of the excellent suspension movement and high chassis rigidity, its controllability has been greatly improved.

The car is responsive and properly turns to the direction you desire, so it’s enjoyable to rhythmically drive it through consecutive corners. The unnecessary movements have been greatly reduced and it has a wonderful ground feel. The improved braking ability is also noteworthy. Even when the brakes are applied suddenly, the car remains stable; this makes it easier for the driver to control the car. It has a different sense of stability compared to other SUVs. It’s quite a firm ride. However, given the tire size it uses, you’ll understand why it’s a firm ride. There’s no direct thrust.

As always, the two-liter four-cylinder horizontally-opposed direct injection turbo engine is powerful. When the S# mode of the SI-Drive is engaged, the transmission becomes an eight-speed close-ratio transmission, giving the driver more control and higher power. Hence, it demonstrates a dynamic acceleration performance. The paddle shift is also easy to use. However, it could be more impressive if the turbo lag were to be reduced. The Forester tS is a good ride, and is equipped with safety equipment and basic car amenities. Since it’s a practical car, it can also be used as a family car.

â–  Five Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior/ Interior Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Foot Work: ★★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★

Hideaki Kataoka │ Automotive Journalist
He became a freelance automotive journalist after working as an automotive magazine editor. He writes extensively on cars regardless of genre or generation (i.e. classic to new cars), and is well-versed in next-generation vehicles such as electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Japan (AJAJ).

(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)