MANY of us have fancied a 4x4 at some time because it’s good to feel that you have all that metal around you.
But most off-roaders are big and chunky and that makes them thirsty and slow.
So if you'd rather have real 4x4 capability in a smaller and more car-like package, the Subaru Forester could be just what you are looking for.
It's very easy to drive and to handle in confined spaces and should you need the towing or off-road ability, it is brilliant.
There are two versions of the same two-litre engine in the model built between 2002 and 2008, with 123 or 170bhp, and top models have a 2.5-litre with 208bhp.
All are mated to a five speed box driving all four wheels and are good to drive – very car-like and easy, with light controls and good power steering. The non-turbo covers ground well, but never feels particularly quick, while the top models are fast and very willing.
The ride is very comfortable but there is lots of roll when pressing on through corners, which helps cause understeer sooner that you might expect, when the front wheels gently lose grip.
The interior is about the size of a Ford Focus estate so it can swallow a family and all their holiday gear without too much trouble.
Price: Pay about £3,970 for an '03 03-reg, £4,800 for an '04 54-reg, or £9,200 for an '07 07-reg auto
Mechanical: 123bhp, 1,994cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all four wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11 seconds
Combined mpg: 33
Insurance group: 11
CO2 emissions: 204g/km
BIK rating: 20%
Main rival: Nissan X-Trail