While many may be disappointed that the new Subaru Forester looks very little like the Subaru Viziv Future Concept that previewed it, don’t let its sedate looks hide the fact that this SUV is sporting some impressive technology under the skin.
There’s also a new engine on offer. The previous 126kw 2.5-litre motor has been binned in favour of a 136kw 2.5-litre boxer. There’s no turbocharger though, but acceleration and fuel economy are said to have improved. 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.
The Toyota RAV4-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.
Subaru is incorporating a new technology called DriverFocus, which is a new facial recognition system to watch for driver fatigue. The system is paired with other safety features like EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, and also includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assistance. DriverFocus can recognize and remember up to five drivers and remember their individual pre-sets for seat position, door mirror angles and climate, among others.
Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, the Forester's wheelbase grows 30mm to 2670mm overall, resulting in the roomiest cabin in its history, while retaining the maneuverability that's synonymous with the popular Subaru. 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 fifth generation Forester is expected to go on sale in the US in Q3 of 2018. Subaru Southern Africa are yet to confirm if and when it will reach South Africa.