This week on: The World By Vehicle

The Subaru Forester; a not wagon not SUV vehicle for the alternative lifestyle. Its Generally regarded as a good car, a good tuning base for sleepers and a quirky and loved member of the already interesting Subaru Family, especially the SF and SG generations. People have been turning these into time attack machines, stance wagons and STI killers for a decade plus...but what about actually taking them back to the woods? Are they and good as an overland expedition vehicle?

photography by Chazz Layne

Well, one man wants to find out. Over at Expedition Portal, Chazz Layne has been turning a 2003 Forester into a capable, rugged and cheap overland vehicle to explore the more traveled, but still challenging, overland routes on a budget.

Part 1 is focused on the basics - Suspension upgrades, tires and engine prep. Starting with a blown motor and having to do a swap and fixes himself this self proclaimed non-mechanic is able to get it back to life in in from to tackle the trail. And that starts me thinking about why he may not be crazy at all, after all whats the most important thing you need in an overland vehicle; reliability and easy of repair. Thinking about it, he might actually be onto to something. No its not as capable as a land cruiser or land rover defender, but its going to be easier to repair on the side of the road and be just as reliable otherwise. Point for you Chazz


Part 2 Is all about armor. Because the Forrester isn't particularly suited to, well, the forest, it needs its soft and costly bits protected for uses its designers never intended it to be used for. So on goes the armor and you know what? It works. I can't say I'm surprised, I owned a 2005 XT manual for a few years and found them to be fairly capable machine so long as you had little regard for mechanical sympathy...and that's okay! with the EJ251 and 4EAT the Subaru has the right combo of low down torque, and mechanical bulletproofing that a little abuse wont hurt it too bad.

What do you think, does the Little Foz have what it takes?

The World By Vehicle is a series created mostly to vent my passion for exploration, overland travel and all things vehicle related travel. Follow allow with the tag TWBV or click here