Wife drove the Gen4 2014 XT Forester today

And I tested out Sport Sharp mode

Today I took the wife down to City Subaru in Victoria Park to see what she thought of the 2014 XT Forester.

She loved it! She was not in the least perturbed by the overall larger feel of the Gen4 Forester.

Regular readers will know that I prefer smaller feeling cars and I am not that happy with the new larger feel of the latest Forester—I currently have a Gen2 XT. While the car is only technically about 1” longer and 1” wider with a 1” longer wheel base, and is actually marginally lighter than the Gen3 model, for some reason when you drive it the feeling you get is that is it about 30 percent larger than the previous Forester. Well I thought so anyway.

But, while she agreed it did feel bigger, the wife thought it felt awesome to drive. She especially liked how quick it was and how flat it stayed turning corners. Because of the feeling of size you expect it to roll a lot on metro road 90 degree corners; but there is very little roll—almost none.

I also had a second little test drive and this time I got to test out Sport Sharp mode available with the CVT in the XT model, which I talked about in a previous post (here). This was the first time I have tried out the Sport Sharp mode.

I was impressed.

Engaging Sport Sharp mode, which is just a press of a button on the steering wheel, makes a noticeable difference to the engine and gearbox performance. Also a new display shows you the virtual gear the car is in. So you can see on the display, when you tap the accelerator, as the CVT automatically slips from virtual 6th to 4th gear. Then, as you go into the corner and apply a little more accelerator coming out of the corner, it instantly slips from 4th to 2nd. As you pick up speed you see it going from virtual 2nd to 3rd, then 3rd to 5th (yes, it skips 4th if you don’t push it), and then to 6th.

In my little test drive the transmission did not get to 7th or 8th. Anyone who knows Victoria Park in Western Australia will understand why. There are no useful straight runs there where you can get into an overdrive gear ratio. In Sport Sharp you need to be able to ‘coast’ at 60 kph to get the CVT to slide to 7th (1st overdrive), and you need to be able to ‘coast’ at 80 kph or above to have it slide to 8th gear (2nd overdrive).

I must admit the Gen4 Forester is growing on me but the $47,500 price tag is somewhat of a worry.