October 20th, 2020

Forester evolves in the right direction


By Lethbridge Herald on September 28, 2018.

Redesigned model will be familiar to buyers
Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com
The Subaru Forester has become a legend among compact crossovers since it was first introduced to North American buyers in 1998.
With a spacious interior, good power and decent off-road capability, the Forester puts both the sport and utility into the term “sport utility vehicle,” which now is mostly used in reference to an ever-diminishing genre of truck-based haulers.
For 2019, Subaru has redesigned the Forester but fans need not fear about the Forester being unrecognizable from the SUV they’ve come to love.
Subaru has restyled the Forester, this week provided for a test by Luke Davis of Subaru Lethbridge, the company’’s promotional literature describing the change this way: “Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, this fresh Forester is longer, wider, more spacious, quieter, safer, more comfortable and better handling than ever before. Yet, the Forester still retains its essential Forester-ness, courtesy of standard adventure-ready systems, such as Subaru Symmetrical Full-Time AWD, X-MODE, SI-DRIVE and Hill Descent Control.”
Subaru adds: “more athletic and edgier, the exterior design of the all-new Forester foreshadows the fantastic all-road/all-weather performance that lies underneath. The carved front fascia sets the stage for hawkeye-shaped LED headlights and available angular LED accent lights. The body is more muscular, yet more aerodynamically efficient at the same time. The stylish rear fascia and distinctive LED taillight assembly emphasize the high ground clearance. The wider stance speaks to a more planted and more dynamic driving experience.”
I couldn’t describe it better myself. While the changes to its appearance are relatively subtle, they give the Forester a sense of maturity and style. It’s a refined look that in a sense elevates the Forester from a well-rounded utility player to a sophisticated and well-rounded utility player.
For 2019, only one engine and transmission combination is available, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. That engine now cranks out 182 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Gone are the turbocharged engine and manual transmission, which combined for a mere five per cent of all Forester sales.
According  to Subaru, “a new standard Idle Stop Start system assists with efficiency, along with a new thermal management system that improves engine warm-up during cold starts.”
Fuel efficiency improves slightly to 9.0L/100 km city and 7.0 highway or 31/39 mpg city/highway.
Subaru improved cargo capacity inside the Forester, with a wider and bigger area capable of carrying a tour-sized golf bag, says the company. The rear seats, says the company, fold flatter, too. And there are now four cargo hooks to tie stuff down.
Improved sound deadening, aerodynamics and passenger space are also supposed to improve the driving experience for passengers who also get redesigned seats for those long days on the road. And they can be really long with a fuel range estimated to be around 800 kilometres (500 miles).
All models of the Forester for 2019 are equipped with active safety systems, such as Subaru Symmetrical Full-Time AWD, Active Torque Vectoring, Traction Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control. Higher-level trims also get the EyeSight suite of safety technology and a new “DriverFocus” system.
From a driver’s perspective, the Forester is still what owners love about it.
It’s peppy, easy to manouevre and with those new seats, more comfortable than ever before. It still has the massive greenhouse for superb visibility and a good seat height. The ability to fold down those rear seats flatter will certainly enhance the cargo-carrying capacity of the Forester which looks better when the seats are folded compared to previous editions.
The start-stop technology works seamlessly, shutting down the Forester at idle and igniting the engine immediately when the gas pedal is pressed. There is none of the roughness that i’ve experienced with some other systems, a credit to Subaru for refining this fuel-saving technology.
I was among those who loved the old turbo edition but buyers won’t miss out on power with the new powerplant. In fact, the majority of buyers may notice a slight improvement in performance.
Two infotainment systems are available, one with a 6.3-inch screen, the other eight-inch, depending on trim. The legibility of gauges and placement of controls are still awesome and familiar.
With the Forester already a hit, Subaru didn’t need to reinvent the proverbial wheel with its redesign. Instead, it wisely refined the Forester, continuing its evolution in a subtle but important way.
As always, the Forester is a top choice in the realm of compact crossovers. Buyers can’t go wrong with it.
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