The 5th generation Forester keeps the adventure alive.
Subaru has already established itself as the adventure brand, and a key model to that vision is the Forester. It's the SUV with space for the whole family, all the action gear they need, and the ground clearance to get it just about anywhere it needs to go. At the 2018 New York Auto Show, Subaru gave us our first look at the all-new fifth generation Forester. So before the Subaru Forester reaches local shores, here are ten things you didn't know about the all-new SUV.
Though the Forester may be much bigger than those two, it's really just a bigger sibling. It's due to the new Subaru Global Platform that underpins the new Forester – the same platform that underpins not only the Impreza and Crosstrek, but one that will underpin every single Subaru model that comes out for the next decade, including the Outback, Legacy, and WRX and WRX STI. When the Impreza debuted, we were told it cost $1 billion to develop – but these development costs are now trickling down to reduce the costs of other models – the Forester being the first to benefit.
The last generation Forester featured new engine architecture from Subaru in the form of the FB25 engine. Subaru has advanced the engine further now, and the new 2.5-liter Boxer 4-cylinder now features direct injection, higher compression, and active valve control system (AVCS). Subaru claim increased outputs – up to 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque from 170 hp and 174 lb-ft – along with increased responsiveness, and improved economy. While we wait for EPA-certification, Subaru has released a claimed estimate of 33 mpg on a highway cycle.
While the current Forester has offered 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models with a traditional 6-speed manual, the 2019 Forester eschews the stick-shift for the latest advancement of Subaru's continuously variable transmission – in aid of efficiency primarily. Standard with the CVT, all models benefit from Subaru's SI-Drive system with selectable drive modes. Base models feature the choice between Intelligent (I) and Sport (S) modes, while the Forester Sport gets an extra Sport Sharp (S#) mode for extra performance. The CVT can also mimic the effects of a manual gearbox in manual mode, by simulating a 7-speed manual using steering-mounted shift paddles.
For the MY19 Forester, Subaru has grown the wheelbase from 103.9 to 105.1 inches, resulting in gains in head, hip, and shoulder room. The trunk has also grown in size, now up to 76.1 cubic feet with the rear 60:40 split seats lowered. The load floor is flatter than before, and the load area has been optimized for larger objects. Notably, loading has also been improved by widening the tailgate opening by 5.3 to 51.2 inches in total. A powered tailgate is available on Limited and Touring trim lines, and roof rails are standard on all but the base trim line.
For 2019 the Subaru Forester gets increased value for money in the way of new and improved features. Automatic climate control is standard on all models, and the heated seat functionality is now 3-stage rather than 2. In Touring trim, the rear seats are also heated, whilst Keyless Access and Push Button Start are standard on most trim lines. Subaru's Starlink Connected Services have also been bolstered and now feature Remote Engine Start, with remote climate control. Other connected services include WiFi and concierge services.
The Subaru Global Platform underpinning the Forester has been engineered to be one of the safest platforms on the market. Subaru has prided itself in recent years on scoring top marks from international and local safety authorities, and as such, the new platform is endowed with advanced crumple zones and construction engineered specifically to improve crash safety. The latest EyeSight safety suite is also featured, providing advanced crash avoidance systems such as pre-collision braking, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and adaptive cruise control.
First debuted on the Subaru WRX and WRX STI performance models, Active Torque Vectoring is now standard on all 2019 Subaru Forester derivatives. The system uses a brake-based torque vectoring system to apply the brakes on the inside wheel during cornering, tightening the cornering lines, improving handling responses, and minimizing the effects of understeer.
A party trick incorporated in the Lineartronic CVT gearbox, X-Mode optimizes control of both the engine and gearbox, along with the all-wheel drive system to ensure maximum grip on slippery surfaces. X-Mode mimics a low-range transmission and controls front and rear clutch pack force to enable improved ability on slippery surfaces and steep inclines/declines. Sport, Limited, and Touring models feature a dual-mode version of X-Mode that adds Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes for even more capability in any situation.
Subaru has paid particular attention to the real-world needs of Subaru Forester owners, particularly buyers with a desire for adventure. As such, the materials used in the cargo area floor, sides, and rear gate offer a new textured surface that's more resistant to dirt than ever. The material is also scuff-resistant and easily cleaned, making sure that everything from mountain bikes to camping gear can be packed away quickly without the need to clean up beforehand. PVC material has also been used on the bottoms of the front seat backs to protect them for rear passengers' dirty feet, and the pockets on the seat backs are now sub-divided for better organization.
The top of the line Touring model features Subaru's DriverFocus safety technology. This segment-exclusive tech uses facial recognition software that identifies the signs of fatigue behind the wheel and warn drivers to take a break. The system can also recognize up to five different drivers and automatically adjust settings such as seat position, climate control settings, and the multifunction displays automatically upon entry.
Arriving in dealerships later this year, the fifth-generation Subaru Forester continues Subaru's legacy as the adventure brand for the masses, but brings the brand into a new era of safety and advanced technologies.