Let me be the first to admit – I love the original Subaru Forester. I love its boxy styling, complete with a very Mini-esque upright windscreen, I love its classless appeal, and the fact that it looks just as well when covered in mud as it does just after a good scrub. And while Subaru has taken the model in a very different direction since the first generation, turning it into a pretty standard Toyota RAV4 / Honda CR-V competitor, the original Forester was quite an influential car – along with its larger Outback brother, it was one of the original “raised wagons” that are proving so popular today. And just the other day I realized that the Forester bares a striking similarity to another Japanese car from that era…
The 1998 Toyota Land Cruiser. Now, one could argue that many Japanese cars from this time look alike, and there is a lot to that. Still, to my eyes there is no denying just how much the Forester and Land Cruiser look like a smaller and larger cars from the same carmaker – they have a very similar light treatment at the front, a similarly upright windscreen, similarly pumped wheelarches (even if they’re executed a bit differently) and overall a very similar shape. In the end, though, to me the Forester is the better-looking of the two, hands down, especially that the 1998 “J100” Land Cruiser was to me a step back from the original and butch “J80” model from the early 1990s.
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