Fifth-Gen Subaru Forester Revealed

A bigger wheelbase helps increase passenger and cargo room, while direct injection and a higher compression ratio boost the 2.5L boxer’s output.

March 28, 2018

3 Min Read
3919 Subaru Forester on sale later this year in US
'19 Subaru Forester on sale later this year in U.S.

NEW YORK – Subaru reveals the fifth generation of its popular Forester compact CUV here at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

The Japanese automaker bills the model as its roomiest Forester yet, thanks in part to a 1.2-in. (30-mm) increase in wheelbase that boosts rear-seat legroom 1.4 ins. (36 nm). There are also said to be gains in head, hip and shoulder room.

The Forester again is powered by Subaru’s 2.5L boxer 4-cyl. with stop/start and paired to a CVT. In the CUV, the mill puts out 182 hp, compared with the 170 hp from the outgoing Forester’s 2.5L. The engine is updated for ’19 with direct injection and a higher compression ratio to quicken acceleration, Subaru says. An active valve control system on the exhaust side also is added.

The CVT in Sport and Touring grades has a manual mode with seven simulated gears.

Various modes, including Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp, can be selected.

Sport Sharp is exclusive to the new Forester Sport grade, which Subaru says was “inspired by the needs of outdoor enthusiasts.” The grade’s exterior has black-finish trim pieces (grille, wheels, underguards) and an exclusive dark gray interior with orange stitching and accents.

Meanwhile, the Touring grade is billed as the most luxurious Forester yet due to its 10-way power driver’s seat and new heated steering wheel and rear seats.

Being built on the new Subaru Global Platform (Impreza, Crosstrek) makes the cabin the quietest yet in a Forester, Subaru says in preshow materials distributed to media. The automaker says it “worked to tune out certain frequencies to make conversation or listening to music at highway speeds more comfortable.”

The CUV gets new front seats for improved comfort on long drives and a more spacious center console thanks to an electronic parking brake.

Influenced by how its customers use their vehicles, Subaru selected a scuff- and dirt-resistant textured material for the cargo floor, sides and rear gate trim. A PVC material on the backs of front seats also is said to resist scuffing.

On sale later this year in the U.S., the ’19 Forester introduces what Subaru bills as a segment-first distracted-driving prevention technology, DriverFocus. Facial-recognition software is used to determine when a driver is fatigued or distracted. DriverFocus, standard on Touring grades of the redesigned CUV, works in concert with the brand’s EyeSight driver-assist technology to help prevent accidents.

EyeSight is standard on all ’19 Foresters and includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure with sway warning and lane-keep assist, among other features.

Subaru’s updated infotainment system first seen on the current Impreza is on the new Forester, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Pandora and Subaru’s Starlink app integration system.

Touchscreens in the vehicle vary in size from 6.5 ins. (17 cm) to 8 ins. (20 cm). The larger screen also can be had with built-in TomTom navigation.

True to form, Subaru has all-wheel drive standard on the new Forester, as is active torque vectoring from the WRX and WRX STI models. Increasing its off-road-ability is X-Mode with hill descent control, Vehicle Dynamics Control (optimizes wheel control on slippery surfaces, steep inclines) and a dual-mode version of X-Mode for snow/dirt and deep snow/mud. The dual-mode X-Mode is standard on Sport, Limited and Touring grades.

Subaru calls the CUV’s look “more rugged,” but at the same time having a similar appearance to brand’s family of vehicles. This ruggedness is reflected in “prominent” wheel arches and shoulder lines that “emphasize height and strength.”

The brand’s signature hexagonal grille has active grille shutters to improve aerodynamics and lessen fuel consumption, while entry and exit is made easier with rear doors that open wider and a steeper C-pillar angle.

Cargo space for the vehicle grows, as does the tailgate opening’s maximum width. Subaru says a fullsize golf bag can be loaded sideways without tilting.

Roof rails are standard on every grade save for the base model, with the rails on Sport and Touring grades having integrated tie-down hooks.

Subaru sold 177,563 Foresters in the U.S. last year, unchanged from 2016. Through February, Subaru sold 22,488 Foresters, down 12.4% from like-2016, Wards Intelligence data shows.

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