Disclaimer:Images used in this article show the turbocharged 2000 Subaru Forester. Note that the car in the review was non-turbo.
Back in high school, whenever you had a stage performance and lacked the appropriate gear to look as cool as you envisioned, you borrowed items from those who had what you needed. I cannot forget a time a guy called Moses went on stage and from his outfit, the only thing he owned was himself.
Sometimes as soon as Moses stepped off the stage after killing a Daddy Yankee “Gasolina” aerobics with a bit of gymnastics dance performance, he handed his outfit to the next performer. The sweat dripping wet outfit was the least of the next performer’s worries. Putting up a show and not getting booed was what mattered.
If you were keen, a senior 2 line up of performances would almost always have the same shoes, same chain and same black G-Unit hoodie. In brief, we borrowed to create an impression and enrich the experience.
A thing about borrowed items is that they never quite fit. You’re not as comfortable as you’d be in your own item. And this has been a thing with a lot of my car reviews. When I get to the car am test driving, I have a few hours with the car, within which time, I have to get comfortable with it to be able to critically enjoy it and do an informed review. Thankfully, I always make it work.
For this review though, I had a 2000 Subaru Forester T25 (STi) for 24 hours, so best believe by the end of my day with it, I was as comfortable as I am in my own underwear – this does not in any way imply that sometimes I don’t wear my own underwear!
Subaru has never been a brand I admire. I love the bespoke performance for the performance models, but I don’t fancy them. There is nothing wrong with them (except that they are desperately ugly) but I have failed to adore them. This, with the exception of the Subaru Legacy B4 lineups starting with the 2003 4th generation. Those, are gorgeous!
Every time I am in a front wheel drive car, all the reasons I prefer rear wheel drive become more apparent. Front wheel drive doesn’t provide that push that sinks you into your seat when you bury the foot. It pulls. The pull is not as sensational as the push. It is infact offensively boring.
This Forester is a front wheel drive and for the 24 hours we spent together, it wore me out. I run all my errands with it, took it on an early morning test drive on the Northern bypass, but it was just not very fun to drive.
Practical? Yes, please! Fun? It was as fun as the lazy jokes you’re compelled to laugh at when eating rich dinner on expensive china at your boss’ house. And rightfully so.
Being the non-turbo, it was a very civilized car. And being the top model of that production year, it was more of a luxurious speed boat. It is from a fast heritage, but this one is for the rich people that love the way Subarus look but are not interested in its legendary performance.
The interior was everything I’ve never imagined to find in a 2000 Subaru. Considering that not many people go for the top models of the production years they buy, these top of the range models are very rear to come by. Having one for 24 hours was me experiencing and learning to appreciate the luxury offerings from Subaru.
Leather seats, automatic head lamps, electric everything – seats, mirrors, steering wheel adjustment etc…, the small nuts and bolts that form the interior all felt impressively well done and carefully placed.
This model also comes with upgraded suspensions for better comfort, and even through the lumpy and bumpy roads, the ride remained calm and collected. The car isn’t very raised but the ground clearance is more than adequate. The adjustable electric seats also enable you to raise the seat and for someone short like me, I was able to sit really high.
The ground clearance and adjustable seats give it very good visibility and you can see well from the front and the back. The pillars on the door frames connecting to the windscreen aren’t too thick and the visibility is impressive compared to other crossover SUVs I’ve driven. The back window is very wide and this makes the car very easy to reverse park.
Comparing with similar Subarus from 2000, this STi’s components felt richer in fibre, plastic, metal and overall texture. The interior felt and was indeed expensive. And thinking about it, I fail to understand why anyone would opt for a base model when for almost the same price, one can find a good deal for an STi off the internet.
The simple answer would be that not many of us know that there are variances in the models’ manufacturers make. Even me, as a car enthusiast that spends most of my days reading about cars, I had no idea the STi models were this cream.
The very fascinating and modern interior aside, let’s talk about where it actually matters. Performance.
I’ve always said a non-turbo Subaru is not exactly what Sabura is about. Given the rally blood and the overall lunacy of Subaru drivers, when you drive a subaru and feel civilized in it, you might need to stop and get out to be sure.
Despite the 2.5 Litre thirst, instant power and throttle response, my favourite things about any car, were not present in this car.
On many occasions, I pulled into the on-coming traffic lane to overtake and when I buried the foot, the car had me waiting before it responded. It was like ringing the door bell at your best friend’s house while you stand in the rain, and he has to get out of the bathroom first, wrap himself with his towel and find his crocs which were actually stolen the previous night before he can come and open for you.
The power and take off find you already on the path to heaven’s courtroom for judgement after you died of boredom from waiting for the car to respond.
The only “Subaru stereotype” that this Subaru perfectly lived up to was the ridiculously loud muffler. It had people in the evening Ntinda traffic jam looking at me and shaking their heads, not in amusement, but in a “he is a 20-something year old in a Subaru, what do you expect?’
All this to say that performance isn’t this particular car’s strong suit. It performs reluctantly. It’s not as grippy as I had anticipated, it is not as fast and it isn’t as idiotic as a Subaru should truly be.
But all can be justified, performance would not be your sole reason for buying this STi. Comfort; that is why you’d ignore the turbocharger, the stiffer suspensions, the low profile tyres and all the teeth crunching engineering of the performance model Subarus and buy this luxury speedboat. It is remarkably an affordable way to practically travel in reasonably furnished comfort.
Author: Ian Paul Byamugisha
Ian Paul Byamugisha is a writer/author/novelist and car journalist. As a writer for Newslibre, he writes car reviews, cars news, tech news and anything that one might find interesting to read. Currently working on a spy novel collection titled “Arthur Vintage.”