Subaru’s top-selling SUV has become even more off-road and family friendly.
Revealed at the New York motor show today, the new fifth-generation family bus brings larger and more spacious proportions to the familiar SUV with better performance and a simpler drivetrain.
Offered with only one engine and a CVT transmission, all but one of the previous powertrain choices have been made redundant and a manual transmission is no longer available.
Filling the boots of the Japanese brand’s most popular model, the new five-seat SUV is built on the same Subaru Global Platform architecture as the latest XV and Impreza models. Subaru says the new structure will bring class-topping collision safety and hazard avoidance, along with improved ride and handling.
Outside, the Forester doesn’t deviate far from its previous model’s design, adding extra low side cladding, accent colours, gloss black trims and new 17- and 18-inch alloy wheel designs.
Slightly larger, the Forester now measures 4625mm long (up 15mm), 1815mm wide (up 20mm) and 1730mm high (5mm lower), with a 30mm increase in wheelbase to 2670mm.
The extended wheelbase allows for a wider rear door opening and increased C-pillar angle for easier entry and exit on the back seats. Leg room for rear-seat passengers has also grown by an unspecified amount along with shoulder room.
Passengers in the back also have access to USB ports and three seat-back pockets for storing mobile devices.
A wider 1300mm boot opening provides easier access to a bigger square-shaped boot that is the largest ever in the model’s history, providing “a dramatic increase in loading capacity,” over the previous 422 litre size according to Subaru. The boot also features a new automatic opening and closing tailgate that can shut and lock the car at the touch of a button.
The driver doesn’t miss out either, with a raft of new systems and ergonomic additions to improve safety.
The seats have been shaped and moulded with a support cushion that reduces driver fatigue while Subaru’s first implementation of its Driver Monitoring System alerts drivers to signs of drowsiness or distraction on the road. It also automatically adjusts seat position, door mirror angles and air conditioning preferences at the flick of a switch. Revised A-pillar position and a larger glasshouse is also said to offer improved vision.
All occupants benefit from a new Human Machine Interface climate control function that adjusts the temperature precisely by calculating the number of passengers inside.
Infotainment also gets an upgrade to a larger 8.0-inch display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, while the driver’s instrument panel is combined into the console for a seamless look.
Underneath, the naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol boxer engine has been overhauled with 90 per cent new parts. It ups power and torque to 136kW at 5800rpm and 239Nm at 4400rpm, 10kW and 4Nm higher, while bumping fuel consumption lower. It remains mated to a CVT transmission with seven stepped gears and a sports mode in certain models that has quicker acceleration off the mark.
Matching some of its rugged looks is an enhanced X-Mode setting for off-road and slippery surface conditions that automatically optimises engine, transmission and braking controls with all-wheel drive torque vectoring. Off-road-oriented models also get switchable modes for more adventurous tracks and trails.
Ground clearance remains the same at 220mm high but Subaru says the widest possible approach, departure and ramp break-over angles have been incorporated into the design for the ‘most rugged’ Forester yet.
The latest safety standards should also be met with Subaru’s Eyesight that packs in autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise and lane keeping assist as well as seven airbags, automatic rear braking with vehicle detection for backing out of car parks, automatic steering headlights, auto high beam and a rear vision camera.
Subaru Australia will confirm local specification and pricing later this year before cars hit showrooms in September 2018.
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