Following it’s unveil at the New York International Auto Show earlier this year, Subaru South Africa have confirmed that their all-new, fifth-generation Forester will launch locally early next month.
The World Car of the Year 2019 candidate might look a tad sedate compared to the Subaru Viziv Future Concept that previewed it, but don’t let its looks hide the fact that this SUV is sporting some impressive technology under the skin. Despite that, the styling of the new Forester is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and is strongly reminiscent of the model it replaces, with LED headlights and a more wind-swept front end standing out as the most obvious updates.
The Mazda CX5-rival continues the model's tradition of offering a car-like ride and handling with the capability of an SUV. Standard symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive, a hallmark of Subaru's vehicles, provides all-weather confidence and capability, while standard active torque vectoring, first introduced on the WRX and WRX STI performance models, offers improved handling and cornering performance.
With all-new design and engineering, the new Forester is designed around the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), that sees its wheelbase grow by 30mm to 2670mm overall, resulting in the roomiest cabin in its history, while retaining the manoeuvrability that's synonymous with the popular Subaru, whilst delivering major improvements in safety, ride, handling and occupant comfort. All Forester trim levels come standard with seven airbags including Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbags, front seat side pelvis/torso airbags, side curtain airbags and driver's knee airbag.
The Forester also features some innovative technology called EyeSight Driver Assist, which further works with Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Departure and Sway Warning; and Lane Keep Assist. EyeSight uses two Subaru-developed colour cameras mounted inside the car on the upper edge of the windshield, thus reducing the potential for damage that could occur in bumper-mounted systems.
The system processes stereo images to identify vehicles traveling in front, as well as obstacles, traffic lanes and other objects. It's also capable of detecting pedestrians in the vehicle's path and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. Under certain circumstances, Eyesight is able to bring the vehicle to a complete stop, thus avoiding a collision.
The new Forester will be the first model in the Subaru line-up to receive the new two-mode X-Mode system. X-Mode is a device that automatically adjusts the throttle power in off-road driving, leaving the driver to handle only the steering in difficult driving conditions. The new X-Mode offers two modes - one for driving in snow and deep mud and the second for driving in sand and snow, and debuts on the premium model. Other Forester models have the standard X-Mode single mode function. Both versions feature Subaru's Hill descent control.
There’s a new motor too, a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre BOXER motor that produces 115kw and 196nm – up by 5kw on the previous 2.0-litre, although torque is down by 2nm. It’s paired with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission, and features stop-start technology. It also features the familiar SI-Drive, Subaru's drivetrain management system that allows you to specify quicker throttle response and more aggressive transmission 'shifting' from the CVT when switched from Intelligent to Sport driving mode.
Subaru Southern Africa will reveal final specification and pricing closer to its launch in December.