Riding Out the Storm

5/27/2016

The Versatile Subaru Forester

Sometimes the road gives you more than you bargained for. In the Subaru Forester, I felt ready for anything.

I’ve been looking forward to taking my first test-drive in the Forester all week, and today is the day. I’m traveling from my home in Portland to the Oregon coast for a relaxing day of beachcombing with my mixed-breed dog Danny when the radio announcer breaks the news: A rainstorm known in the Pacific Northwest as a “Pineapple Express” is blowing in, bringing high winds, 30-foot ocean swells, and landslides in the Coast Range. Not the best day to be on the coast.

Photo: George Ostertag / Alamy Stock Photo
Map of Oregon

Switching Gears 

Revising my plans on the fly, I turn the Forester around and retrace my route, opting instead to take Danny for a hike in Oregon’s L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. There I hope to avoid the worst of the rain and still salvage something of the day. 

Having lived in Oregon for decades, I’m not about to let a little shower stop me. It’s not the weather, after all, it’s how you’re outfitted for it – and when it comes to bad weather, nothing beats wrapping yourself in a Subaru Forester.

As I near the entrance for the park, it becomes clear that the rain has followed me inland. The weather is now too miserable for hiking here, even for hardy Oregonians like me. But I’m not done yet. Changing course yet again, I stop and enter a new destination – the adorable city of McMinnville by way of Newberg – into the navigation system via the convenient touch-screen and hit “Go.” Moments later, I’m headed down OR-47 toward the scenic, rolling countryside of the Willamette Valley. I’ll take a leisurely drive, tour Newberg on the way, find a cafe for lunch, and then window-shop my way down the McMinnville high street. I hope.

Ready for Anything 

As I drive, the storm gets steadily worse. Fallen leaves clump together in the gutters and drains, leaving nowhere for the sudden deluge of rainwater to go. The way before me seems more river than road. I briefly wonder if Subaru offers an available snorkel option, but quickly discover that the sure-footed Forester has everything it needs to navigate the storm. The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive maintains a tenacious grip on the slippery asphalt.

Yet while Forester is managing the foul weather with ease, I’m still sharing the road with other drivers who are struggling with the extreme conditions as they aren’t lucky enough to be driving a Subaru. After a close encounter with a hydroplaning vehicle in the lane next to me, I wisely decide to exit the highway in favor of surface streets.

Once again, Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology2 proves the ideal co-pilot, alerting me when vehicles ahead stop quicker than I expect.

East First Street in Newberg.
Map of Oregon

Change of Plan Part III 

An hour later, I enter Newberg, only to receive a disappointing weather update: record-setting rainfalls, standing water, flooding, and landslides have forced the closure of 10 roads, and the water is rising in McMinnville. My window-shopping plans are now basically a wash, I’m miles from home, and my options for escape are now more limited. But my time on treacherous roads with Forester has given me confidence that I can return with no trouble. After grabbing a quick bite, Danny and I begin our journey back to Portland.

Once again, the navigation system is my friend as I drive home, responding to reports of traffic congestion ahead and offering previews of alternate routes for me to accept or decline with a single touch. When a stretch of clear highway opens up in front of me, I switch lanes effortlessly, and when I ask Forester for a little more oomph, it complies instantly. While others around me are hunched over their steering wheels and peering desperately into the rain, I’m settled into my seat, safe and warm, calling up my favorite radio stations, and singing along as I drive. 

All’s Well That Ends Well

After nearly three hours of driving through the storm, Danny and I finally arrive home. Later that evening, I watch news reports of people kayaking in a flooded Newberg parking lot – right where we had been parked that very afternoon. 

With a laugh, I’m surprised to realize that, despite everything, I still managed to enjoy my day of riding out the storm. Most importantly, I arrived home safe and happy.

The 2017 Forester goes on sale July 1. Contact your retailer for more information and schedule a test-drive

1 Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are systems designed to assist the driver by monitoring the rear and side areas of the vehicle during a lane change or reversing and are not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. 2 EyeSight is a Driver Assist Technology, which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, weather and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. Please remember to turn off EyeSight when going through a car wash. 3 Reverse Automatic Braking is a system designed to assist the driver by detecting objects to help avoid a possible collision when the vehicle is moving in a reverse direction.  It is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, weather and road conditions. Always exercise caution and use vehicle mirrors and Rear-Vision Camera when backing up. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations.

2017 Subaru Forester