SOME cars are so beautiful they can literally make your heart race.
Their silky curves compel adoration from millions, finding space on bedroom walls across the world and becoming the headline act on shows such as Top Gear.
Even the smell of a V8 engine can have the same intoxicating effect as a sweet perfume.
The Subaru Forester is not one of those cars. The bods at Subaru won’t be offended by this.
Since the Forester arrived in 1997 it’s never boasted pageant-winning design, yet it’s one of the best-selling Subarus ever.
Subaru knows its market. It looks at the droves of rival SUVs which have arrived since and thinks “meh.”
As far as it’s concerned Nissan can chase punters with the innovative design of the Qashqai.
It shrugs its shoulders at the Peugeot 3008’s sumptuous interior.
The Forester is unapologetically “normal” looking.
That’s not to say it is a normal car.
The Forester is the founder of the modern SUV craze, the grandaddy of the soft-roader.
Originally built on the same platform as the Impreza, it was one of the first to combine the utilitarian skill sets of a 4×4 — more space, ground clearance, all wheel drive — with the usability of a normal car.
The road handling is tight and refined enough to live with on the M25, but it doesn’t have to reverse when Tarmac gives way to a river crossing or muddy field.
It sent a flare into the sky for the rest of the industry — everyday folks living everyday lives want small 4x4s.
The 2017 Forester is a pleasing mix of its traditional strong qualities, with a few tweaks and tech additions to help it compete in a treacherously overcrowded market.
It’s still solid and well built, with an unbeatable AWD system which could traverse the Andes while towing a bungalow.
And the signature Subaru boxer engine still powers it, which affords a lower centre of gravity than a traditional engine, enhancing its wet-weather stability.
That boxer engine also means it’s safer in the event of a crash — a huge selling point for the parents who snap up SUVs.
Because the engine sits lower, in a head-on collision it drops down into the crumple zone, rather than get forced straight backwards towards the cabin.
So it removes itself from harm’s way at the same time as soaking up the hit.
But in the new model, safety is taken to a new level with the addition of Subaru’s EyeSight system.
Blind spot monitoring, lane departure and rear cross traffic alerts are all included in the package, as well as automatic rear braking high beam assist.
Such a full complement of (genuinely useful) tech clashes with the Forester’s look, which can be described as “functional” at best.
If I was being uncharitable I would describe it as boring.
But that leads me back to my original point.
Subaru couldn’t give a flying proverbial about that.
Pretty cars aren’t what its customers are looking for.
The new Forester has been treated to near front and rear lights, and a slightly more handsome grille, but that’s about it.
Two-wheel drive SUVs are all the rage these days, a popular choice with those who just want the added space and safety of a bigger car, plus value-attractive design.
But the Forester comes at the same market from a different angle — sod what it looks like, let’s make a SUV which is genuinely unstoppable, which can also double up as a family car.
And that’s why I love it.
- Price: £26,495
- Engine: 2.0 litre diesel
- Economy: 43.5 mpg
- 0-62mph: 11.8 secs
- Top speed: 119mph
- Length: 4.6 metres
- CO2: 150g/km
The out-of-style 37OZ still a good sport
IT’S easy to forget that Nissan makes a good, old-fashioned rear-wheel drive sports car, with its ever increasing line-up of SUVs, electric vehicles and minuscule Micras.
However, if you head to your local dealer and peer into a darkened corner somewhere, you might catch a glimpse of the lesser-spotted 370Z – Nissan’s naturally aspirated 323bhp 3.7-litre V6-engined thrill machine that first landed on our roads way back in 2009.
Gas-guzzling, emissions-emitting rear-wheel-drive sports cars might not be the flavour du jour, but the Japanese marque has seen fit to refresh its shapely performance car and drag it into 2018.
A new look gives it black door handles and a black rear bumper fascia, dark-tinted headlamps and rear combination lights — all previously only available on the Nismo upgrade but now come as standard.
New 19in alloy wheels are also thrown in, as well as a stunning new infrared metallic paint option that brilliantly shows off the zed’s flared arches and swooping waistline.
The car might be approaching a decade old but it still stands out in a crowd, while the addition of a new, race-ready Exedy clutch means it drives better than it ever has.
Couple this lightweight transmission with Nissan’s throttle-blipping rev-matching technology, and you’ve got an extremely enjoyable machine, especially on track.
Thankfully, little else has changed.
The engine delivers the same amount of grunt, the suspension remains firm but forgiving and the chassis still feels properly sorted.
Inside, there’s the new NissanConnect Premium infotainment system, which features a 7in touch-screen, satnav, DVD player and rear-view camera, but really this is still the cracking driver’s car we know and love.
Admittedly, the advent of the hyper hatches, which boast devastating performance and everyday practicality for a similar price, means the 370Z has got a bit of a battle with its fresh-faced rivals.
But this remains a lot of sports car for the money, and one of the best looking things in a Nissan dealership – even if they do try and hide it away in a darkened corner.
- Price: £29,185
- Engine: 3.7-litre V6 petrol
- Economy: 26.6mpg (combined)
- 0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
- Top speed: 155mph
- Length: 4,265mm
- Turning circle: 11 metres
- CO2: 248g/km
Reader’s car of the week
AMERICANA doesn’t come much prettier than this, sent in by Eddie Lorkins from Benfleet, Essex.
He says: “Here is my lovely 1955 Chevrolet pick-up truck, restored by me.
“It has a 3.8cc six-cylinder engine that does 18mpg. It’s all original and runs a treat.
“It only comes out on fine days. It doesn’t have all the modern gadgets that new cars have but it always turns heads.”
To see your pride and joy here send a snap and brief description to email@example.com.
Nick’s best Sun Motors picks under £10,000
THERE are some great deals on cars under £10,000 at www.thesun.co.uk/motors.
2014 Vauxhall Adam 1.4i Jam 3dr, £6,995
More than £3,000 extras, one lady owner, MOT until Sept 2018. 29,000 miles.
2009 Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDi 170 GTD
MOT until May 2018, 67,000 miles, two previous owners, full VW service history.
2014 Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 Airdream, £9,850
Two previous owners. With satnav and park assist. 105,000 miles.
2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK 270 CDi Avantgarde 2dr, £1,995
Two previous owners, 131,000 miles. Black leather interior.
2005 MINI Convertible 1.6 Cooper S 2dr, £3,750
48,250 miles. Climate control parking sensors. One owner.
2012 Mazda 3 2.0 Sport [i-Stop] 5dr, £7,450
Six-speed gear box. Built-in Bose sound system. 45,000 miles.
2013 Fiat 500 1.2 S 3dr Dualogic Auto, £7,500
Excellent condition, start/stop button. MOT until 2018. 17,000 miles under one owner.
Bike news: Keep warm out riding this winter
WINTER is coming – not just a well-worn Game of Thrones quote but a grim reality facing scooter riders across Britain.
But if you tool up correctly, your wind and rain-swept rides need not be miserable experiences.
Here, Sun Motors’ scooter commuter DAVID FIRTH checks out some of the top kit on the market to tackle the worst that the British weather can throw at you.
Tucano Urbano Easy-on Neoprene Handgrip Covers (£39.99, tucanourbano.com): Slightly fiddly to secure into place but once on these will keep whipping windchill and lashing rain at bay.
Not a drop gets through. Solid, quality build and the rigid hand openings allow plenty of room for manoeuvre, even with winter gloves on.
Oxford Subway 3.0 Textile Jacket Tech Black (£99.99, oxfordproducts.com): Lots of technical detail for a jacket costing less than £100. The removable thermal liner keeps things warm, while a waterproof membrane ensures you stay bone dry, even in a downpour.
It’s not all about tech – the soft cuffs and collar make for a comfortable ride too.
Frank Thomas Tornado A15-16 gloves (£29.99, jsaccessories.co.uk): The soft fabric allows great freedom of movement, while the solid protection on the knuckles, palms and fingers and reflective flashes tick the safety boxes.
Can withstand a fair amount of rain but they do soak up a bit of water when it tips it down.
Bell Bullitt Helmet Stripes Vintage White (£399.99, urbanrider.co.uk): Many scooter riders favour an open-face helmet but this closed-face option is more weatherproof.
Even with the visor down it offers excellent visibility and the fit is close but comfortable.
Undeniably pricey but it’s protecting your bonce so well worth the investment.
And just look at it – a thing of rare beauty.
Tucano Urbano Scooter Leg Cover Termoscud (£84.99, tucanourbano.com): A blanket that attaches to your scooter but with so many clever touches.
When you’re not riding, a fold-out flap can be used to cover your seat in case of rain.
Clever features too – inflate the chambers along the side to prevent it from flapping at higher speeds.
Spoke Bulletproofs trousers (£129, spoke-london.com): OK, not actually bulletproof but certainly durable enough for the rigours of winter scooter riding.
The nano-tech material stretches nicely over the knees and the water-repellent finish makes a mockery of light showers.
A reflective fold on the rear pocket is a neat safety feature – and they are smart enough to go straight from scooter to office.
Also come in three “build” options so you can find your perfect fit.