Subaru to Revamp Popular Forester for 2019

Posted by at 3:02 pm on April 2, 2018

The Subaru Forester, one of the brand’s best-sellers in the U.S. and a key cog for the automaker’s growth here, has been redesigned and injected with more safety features to stand out in the ultracompetitive compact crossover field. Unveiled rec at the New York auto show, the 2019 Forester has a crisp, updated look that keeps the nameplate aligned with the ethos of previous generations, but it grows in physical size.

The fifth-generation Forester is the latest model to join the Subaru Global Platform, which debuted with the 2016 Impreza sedan and hatchback. The 2018 Crosstrek followed, and the upcoming Ascent three-row crossover will ride on a modified version of the platform.

The wheelbase now stands at 105.1 inches, Subaru says, up from 103.9 inches, with rear seat legroom growing by 1.4 inches. Subaru says the Forester will be more spacious overall, especially when it comes to headroom as well as hip and shoulder room.

Subaru will offer five trims for the 2019 model year: standard, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring.

All Foresters will be powered by the same engine, a freshened 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 182 hp and 176 pound-feet of torque, up from 170 hp and 174 pound-feet. The Forester will be available with a continuously variable transmission only.

Sport and Touring trims, Subaru noted, will have a manual mode that “simulates a seven-speed manual transmission,” thanks to steering-wheel paddle shifters.

The Sport trim is new and features exclusive design touches that include a black gloss grille, black 18-inch wheels and orange accents throughout the exterior and interior.

The previously offered XT trim and its turbocharged engine did not make the jump with the redesign.

Standard safety features

As with the upcoming Ascent, Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology, which is highlighted by automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure and sway warning and lane-keep assist, among other features, is now standard across all Forester trims.

Standard on the Touring trim is a new safety feature Subaru has named DriverFocus.

Combined with EyeSight, DriverFocus “is a monitoring system that uses facial recognition software to identify signs of driver fatigue or driver distraction,” Subaru said.

The feature, which the automaker claims is the first in the segment, can recognize up to five drivers and can remember their presets for seat position, climate and infotainment. The interior features new seats, an 8 inch touchscreen on all but the standard trim as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. A 6.5-inch touch screen is found on the standard trim, while higher trims get an 8-inch touch screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard across all lines.

The front seats are new, Subaru noted, and the cabin is quieter than before, thanks to the global platform’s design.

The Touring trim is “the most luxurious Forester ever,” the automaker said, pointing to the 10-way power driver’s seat, the eight-way power front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats.

In addition to the creature comforts and safety improvements, the Forester stays true to its outdoor-focused roots with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive, body cladding and roof rails that are prominently featured on all trims except standard.

Ground clearance remains the same at 8.7 inches, which is identical to the Outback, Crosstrek and Ascent.

The redesigned Forester is set to go on sale in October.

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