Subaru used to be terrible with vehicular designs. Whatever designers it had, they would normally craft brilliant concepts that promise plenty at auto shows before transitioning into disappointing production models.

This applied to the Subaru Forester as well, so it eventually became difficult to believe that the automaker could improve on the SUV’s looks.

But it has, surprisingly. Though gradual, recent refreshes have transformed the Forester’s looks from ugly to practical, which actually suits Subaru’s image.

The growing popularity of vehicles from Jeep, the Mercedes G-Class, as well as upcoming rock crawlers such as the Ford Bronco and Chevrolet Blazer prove that the boxy form of the Forester would be able to charm consumers as well.

Still Plays Rough

At a time where coupe SUVs are growing trendy, it’s nice to have blokes like the mid-size Subie roaming the streets and off the beaten path. It rides high and offers great safety tech – including Subaru EyeSight – along with better versatility via the Subaru Intelligent Drive Mode selector, though it’s not the most comfy ride around.

Even though Subie has made some progress on this front, the Forester’s CVT can still be a pain to deal with, plus its infotainment system could use some better updating. Given that the Honda CR-V has gained Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, Subaru has more work to do in this department.

And while the Forester’s general appearance is less unsightly than before, its range-topping 2.0XT model remains its worst visual offender. That’s unfortunate, as the best driving experience from the nameplate is offered by that model.