A staple in Subaru's range, the Forester SUV has been a part of the range since 1997. That's almost as long as the brand has been in South Africa, the Tokyo-based company celebrating it's 30th local birthday this year.
And what a way to celebrate - the current-generation Forester has always been a good car, with reliable powertrains and excellent build quality. However, the styling may have been a touch conservative for those who wanted their SUV to stand out. The mid-life update bestowed upon the Forester addresses that, with a new grille and a slimmer headlamp cluster. Not only does it look more modern, but sportier too.
Subaru says the headlamps now include LED bulbs for "improved driver vision as part of the Adaptive Headlamps and High Beam Assist features.
Forester sport models gain six-bulb LED units with a black housing, while the Premium model receives a classy chromed horizontal pieces for the fog lamp housing. Elsewhere on the Forester, the rear spoiler, tailgate and mirror caps have been enhanced. Sport models receive a geometric textured material on the mirror caps and rear while Premium models receive chromed mirror covers and high gloss black covers.
Base models sit on all-new 17-inch alloy wheels while higher-spec models gain 18-inch items.
For 2022, Jasper Green Metallic has been replaced by Cascade Green Silica, while the rest of the paint choices remain unchanged. Inside, Sport models receive the generous use of orange trim in the interior of the SUV, with the dark grey colour scheme working well with the bright hue.
While the exterior has had a refresh, the powertrains remain unchanged. However, the front suspension has been fine-tuned to improve the ride quality, handling and steering response. This, says Subaru, was done by reworking the coil springs and dampers. Improving refinement was done by fitting the 2022 Forester with new aluminium engine mount brackets.
The Forester's all-terrain programme, X-Mode, receives an improved Hill Descent Control speed management. It now allows for manual acceleration on descent, the system re-engaging when the driver removes their foot from the accelerator. This is standard on all Forester models.
"The revised X-Mode programme also has the ability to re-engage at speeds of 35 km/h or below, after the system has dis-engaged beyond that speed. This tweak allows for less intervention by the driver to continually re-engage the system if the all-terrain environment requires it."
Also updated is Subaru's brilliant EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. Updated for the 2022 Forester, the enhanced safety system now has a dual camera system which boasts a wider field of view, almost doubled, says Subaru. Improved software provides a faster and more intuitive interface, with the myriad safety features working with "even better precision." Included in the safety suit is Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Departure and Sway Warning. Subaru also says the system works with better efficiency at intersections than before.
Three technologies also debut; they all employ active steering inputs.
Active Lane Centering keeps the car in the centre of the lane, making use of the Adaptive Cruise Control. Lane Departure Prevention keeps the Forester in the correct lane by adjusting the steering and bringing it back to the right lane. Lastly, Autonomous Emergency Steering can steer the Forester away from an accident, whether it's a pedestrian or another vehicle. "Autonomous Emergency Steering sometimes works in conjunction with the Emergency braking function but can also work when the system deems emergency braking is not adequate to reduce the severity of a collision," says Subaru.
This is standard on all ES-spec (EyeSight) models. According to the Japanese brand, the Forester ES models remain the safest vehicles in their class.
2.0i CVT: R486 000
2.0i-S ES CVT: R564 000
2.5i-Sport ES CVT: R599 000
2.5i-S ES CVT: R649 000
Local introduction is scheduled for January 2022.