Drove the all new, fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester this last week, and it is a very evocative SUV, you have to have an opinion about it, good or bad, and in my case it was good.
Redesigned from the ground up and the third vehicle from Subaru built upon the new Subaru Global Platform, the 2019 Forester sets new standards for the segment and promises to deliver more confidence and enjoyment to customers, as set out in Subaru’s design and engineering philosophy.
The Forester has long been the top model at Subaru, and has converted many drivers to become ardent Subaru fans.
The Forester is all-new and delivers impressive improvements in the areas of ride, handling, safety, occupant convenience and comfort.
The angular bonnet and creases in the styling, make it unmistakeably Subaru, in this case the Forester.. The width, length and wheelbase of the car have increased yet the height is 5mm lower than before, creating a more robust and sturdy stance that also yields more interior space and legroom. The rear section of the car now includes split rear taillamps with a more pronounced C-shape, and the black rear cladding now extends higher than before, a more practical and adventurous design. Key features at the front are broader LED headlamps, a redesigned grille, fog lamps surrounds and new underguard treatment for added protection during off road excursions. The roof rails have also been redesigned, now featuring loopholes on the premium spec model, for easier securing of ropes when tying cargo onto the top of the car.
A new series of 17 and 18-inch alloy wheel designs has also been created for the Forester, finished in silver or high-gloss black metallic and to complement these wheels, there are three brand new colours specific to the new Forester: Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl. You always feel unique in a Subaru, and it is an eye turning car as well.
The Forester is a SUV with a myriad of uses, from Mom’s taxi, to family car, to outdoors man, it has a use for everyone. With seat fold down options in a 40:60 split, it creates a bigger loading area when folded down. The cargo capacity is now 520L with the seats in place and extends up to 1060L with the rear seats folded down.
It has improved passenger leg room, shoulder room and hip room. The new Forester also features new side sill steps at the rear that are wider and flatter to assist with access but also designed with a slip resistant material for when these double up as steps to use when loading or setting up the roof rails. Other convenience features include rear seat pockets designed to include smartphones and tablets alike, a pair of USB ports for rear passengers in addition to the 2 USB ports up front and rear air-conditioning vents for air flow to rear passengers.
The previous generation Forester has been awarded 5* safety ratings from all of the most reputable agencies across the world including being rated highest by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 12 years running
Premium Forester models come standard with EyeSight driver assist safety system and earns JNCAP’s top safety rating of Advanced Safety Vehicle Triple Plus (ASV +++) conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport (MLIT) and the National Agency for Automotive Safety & Victims’ Aid (NASVA) in Japan.
For Subaru, safety begins from the ground up. It starts with the new Subaru Global Platform which better disperses energy in a collision for reduced risk to passengers. Added to this, the Boxer engine and gearbox are designed to be pushed below the vehicle during a frontal collision instead of crashing into the cabin. Forester also benefits from no less than seven Airbags: 2 front airbags, 2 side airbags, 2 curtain airbags and 1 driver’s knee airbag.
The Forester presents a further leap in vehicle visibility never before seen on any other Subaru vehicle. Within the cabin, new Forester now comes with an automatic mirror tilt-down function on the premium spec model when the driver engages reverse gear. This assists with viewing blind-spots while reversing and parking. Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse cameras also complement the view of the vehicle’s rear.
In South Africa, the all-new Forester features a new direct-injection 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre Boxer® engine that delivers 115kW of power @ 6,000rpm and 196Nm of torque @4,000rpm. This is delivered through a Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) that is lighter and more efficient, but also improved to better match engine noise and therefore deliver a more silent driving experience. Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive remains standard across the range and in combination with the engine, provides balanced, safe, agile and fun driving experience. New fuel consumption figures are 7,6litres per 100km, an 13% saving over the previous generation car.
The drive that you get in the Subaru Forester is smooth, and although the CVT gearbox does hunt for the ideal gear sometimes, it is not so much as to irritate you. I did not get to take the Forester off-road, but it has the tools to acquit itself well. This new version now has a SNOW/DIRT mode for slippery surfaces covered with snow, dirt or gravel. The other option is D. SNOW/MUD mode for especially treacherous surfaces on which the car can become stuck such as deep snow, mud, or dry dirt. Selecting these modes moderates power delivery to the wheels that need it most. It has 220mm ground clearance as well.
In a tech savvy world you would expect features across the range like high-resolution touchscreen infotainment with smartphone integration, Apply CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth® control with switches to operate these on the steering wheel as well as voice-command functionality and four USB ports. Also, standard are electric windows, electric parking brake, electric side mirrors, multi-function display, remote keyless entry, a security system with engine immobilizer and powered seats for the driver and passenger.
The pricing at last look is as follows:
· The 2.0i CVT (Base Spec) retails at R429 000.
· The 2.0i-L ES CVT (Medium Spec) retails at R469 000.
· 2.0i-S ES CVT (High Spec) retails at R499 000.
All new Foresters are sold with Subaru’s 5yr/150 000km Warranty and a 3yr/75,000km Full Maintenance Plan which is further extendable to a 5yr/150,000km.
In summing up, the Forester is an enigmatic SUV that will set you apart. It has great features, and is offering all the comfort, space and tech that you could desire.