Scheduled to arrive at U.S. retailers later this year, the 2019 Forester will be available in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and Sport trim levels, all powered by an updated 182 HP 2.5-liter boxer engine with Auto Stop/Start tech.
Also, all trim levels get the Lineartronic CVT transmission and the automaker’s well-known Symmetrical all-wheel drive system as standard, while the EyeSight Driver Assist technology is also available at no extra cost.
It’s the flagship Touring spec however that debuts the DriverFocus safety system, which can alert the driver of fatigue or distraction, as well as automatically adjust certain driver settings (seat position, climate, multifunction display etc) during start-up. DriverFocus works by using facial recognition software and can also recognize up to five drivers.
It’s clever, but is it better looking?
The 2019 Forester, while boasting new styling features, doesn’t look remarkably different compared to its predecessor. The goal however, was for it to blend in well with the rest of the Subaru family.
Still, the prominent wheel arches are still there to emphasize the presence of Symmetrical AWD, front, side and rear underguards are standard on all versions and so are the new LED headlights. Roof rails are also standard on all but the base-spec version, and buyers can match high-gloss black or silver trim highlights with new colors such as Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl.
When it comes to overall size and practicality, the new Forester has grown, boasting a 105.1 inch (2,669 mm) wheelbase and 39.4-inches (1,000 mm) in rear legroom – a 1.4-inch (35.5 mm) increase over its predecessor, which had a wheelbase of 103.9 inches (2,639 mm). Furthermore, the 2019 car has a flatter load floor and an increased rear gate opening width. Subaru says that you’ll be able to load a full-size golf bag sideways without tilting it in the new Forester. Also, Limited and Touring models get a power rear gate as standard, whereas Premium and Sport buyers will be charged extra.
As for the passengers, they will be sitting more comfortably thanks to gains in headroom, hip and shoulder room, a quieter cabin, better seats, more practical center console as well as the wider rear door openings.
Let’s talk about all the features
All Forester versions get standard automatic climate control (dual-zone on Limited and Touring), and available heated front seats that come with a three-stage control as opposed to a two-stage one like before.
The Touring trim gets new heated rear seats for 2019, while Sport, Limited and Touring get Keyless Access with Push Button Start as standard – an optional extra on the Premium. Other noteworthy features would be the Subaru Starlink Connected Services (now available with Remote Engine Start), SI-Drive Engine Performance management, Electronic Parking Brake, Trailer Stability Assist, Welcome Lighting, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.
We also can’t forget about Reverse Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Trafic Alert, Steering Responsive Headlights or the Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
Meet the new Forester Sport
In order to stand out from the rest of the Forester lineup, the Sport version boasts a black gloss-finish grille surround and black-finish 18-inch wheels and rear roof spoiler. Then there are the orange accents on the black underguards and roof rail mounts, whereas the interior features a unique dark grey material with orange stitching and accents throughout.
On the move, the Forester Sport uses a version of Subaru’s Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) with Intelligent and Sport Sharp modes, while the Lineartronic CVT gearbox comes with a seven-speed manual mode with steering wheel-mounted paddles. The Sport also comes with a multi-function display, LED fog lights, High Beam Assist, exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start and PIN Code Access, plus the All-Weather Package which holds heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
For added convenience, this version offers a cargo area LED light with auto-off, and a rear gate LED flood light that illuminates the area surrounding the rear gate when it’s open.
This is the most capable Forester ever
With a generous 8.7 inches (22.1 cm) of ground clearance, the 2019 Forester is better equipped than most competitors to leave the safety of tarmac for some rougher terrain, according to the automaker.
Once you’re on the move, you’ll have to rely on the updated 2.5-liter boxer engine, producing 182 HP and 176 lb-ft (238 Nm) of torque, a modest improvement over the 170 HP and 174 lb-ft (236 Nm) of torque in the previous model. Still, on paper, you should be able to accelerate quicker than before, and average up to 33 mpg (7.1 l/100km) on the highway.