The most successful vehicle in the Subaru range is the Forester, selling over 12,000 in 2017 and 250,000 since initial launch in 1997.
So you can believe Subaru take any changes to the model seriously. I have just come back from the launch of the 5th generation Forester, based on their new Subaru Global Platform (SGP).
The new platform transforms the Forester in almost all aspects, with improved interior space, ride, handling, safety and quietness.
There are four models in the line-up, the Forester 2.5i, Forester 2.5i-L, Forester 2.5i-Premium and Forester 2.5i-S. For pricing head to our pricing and specifications article.
All vehicles have Subaru’s awesome Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, all feature the 2.5L boxer engine, all have a seven speed manual mode Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and EyeSight driver assist is now standard across the entire Forester range
The fifth-generation Forester AWD SUV debuts with the Subaru Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus (DMS) – enabling drivers to personalise cabin preferences – a first for a mainstream brand in Australia.
It looks exactly as it should for the market, with a bold, muscular look that evokes a sense of adventure.
The bonnet and grill have a presence about them, with a subtle flaring towards the sides to accentuate the adventure aspect. All Forester variants have alloy bonnets and front guards, for weight-saving.
All models have roof rails, heated external mirrors, shark fin antennae and smart looking alloy wheels, with distinctive new design 17″ (2.5i and 2.5i-L) and 18″ wheel patterns (2.5i Premium and 2.5i-S).
Adding to both the style and safety, all models also have LED tail lights and LED Steering Responsive Headlights, dusk sensing, with integrated Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)
The SGP makes a big difference inside the Forester. It positively cavernous for its size. I can sit in both the front and back seats in absolute comfort.
It’s not only the size that impresses. The doors shut with a solid feel. There are soft touch points everywhere, the attention to detail in stitching and joins etc. is noticeable.
The driver’s seat in all models is comfortable. Unfortunately there isn’t any additional lumbar support.
It was also evident that there is plenty of head room, even with the sunroof in the top spec model.
The thick rim steering wheel is both height and reach adjustable and houses an array of controls all ergonomically designed for easy reach and use.
The dash features two large white on black dials with a digital MFD between them that allows a degree of customisation and a large menu of information displayed.
The centre stack is busy and packed with information. The widescreen 6.3″ colour display in all Forester variants is located at the top centre of the dashboard.
Every Forester is equipped with the new third generation infotainment system, with 6.5″ (Forester 2.5i and 2.5i-L) and 8″ (2.5i Premium and 2.5i-S) screens.
The third generation head unit at the heart of the infotainment system enables Smartphone connectivity, based on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto services.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is greatly enhanced with the addition of the front three quarter glass panels. The front ‘A’ pillars, while thick, don’t intrude as much as some others..
Rear passengers are well catered for. Not only by the wide opening doors and amount of available space, but the comfort of the seat. I think only the Honda CR-V has anywhere near the same rear leg room.
The boot space is larger, wider and more practical than before.
The rear seats fold almost flat allowing a long load area, and the width now accommodates what seems to be the standard measure, a set of golf clubs, but more importantly, is better suited for prams and porta cots.
The 2019 Forester is absolutely jam packed with features, and pleasantly, most of them are standard across the range.
Rather than go into detail here, we have another article that explains what comes with each model in detail.
Let’s just say that there isn’t much missing, and you get excellent value for money.
Drive and Engine
The Subaru Forester features the Euro 6 compliant, 90%-new 2.5-litre direct injection four-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer engine offers increased combustion efficiency.
This has increased power and torque and better fuel economy. The engine produces 136Kw/ 239Nm. This transfers to all four wheels though the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and a seven speed manual mode Lineartronic CVT.
All Foresters are fitted with the clever X-Mode system. X-Mode is particularly helpful on steep declines and inclines, on dirt or slippery surfaces like gravel or mud.
On dirt roads the Forester is as good as some more highly priced and fancied SUV’s. On road ride and handling is amazing for the type of vehicle it is.
It feels tight and well connected to the road.
The steering is responsive and the suspension soaks up mid corner bumps
Ok, I’m not really sure where to start, there so much to talk about here. At the time of release the MY19 Forester hadn’t undergone ANCAP testing, however that shouldn’t be an issue as all Subaru’s have a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
It’s a company policy.
Let’s take a moment to chat about the Pre-collision Braking. On the launch Subaru had set up a demonstration where I drove the vehicle directly at a blow up parked car.
It was a weird experience simply letting the car proceed towards a crash without my foot on the brake, yet the system worked brilliantly and the car stopped with plenty of room to spare.
Even more impressive was the reverse demonstration. Here I let the car simply roll towards the “vehicle” without any control other than steering and the system again detected the collision and stopped the car before it collided.
- AWD capability
- Internal space
- Ride, Handling and Safety
Not So Good Bits:
- No diesel or turbo engine options
- Lack of aditional lumbar support
- No Headsup Display
The Subaru Forester is aimed at the adventurous family with 2 or 3 children that wants to use their vehicle not only for school runs, but as an escape on weekends and holidays.
For this purpose it is perfectly designed
The latest version, the MY19 Subaru Forester shows significant improvements on an already excellent vehicle. It is perfectly suited for the adventurous family with younger children, or even an older couple that just wants a little space.
Subaru has set the standard for the segment, it’s up to the others now to catch up.
Facts and Figures: 2019 Subaru Forester 2.5i-S
- Engine: 2.5i petrol boxer producing 136kw/239Nm
- Transmission: CVT automatic
- Safety: TBA
- Warranty: 3 Yrs/ Unlimited Km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $33,490