New C-shaped tail lights adorn a body that’s still characteristically chunky. Picture: SUPPLIED
New C-shaped tail lights adorn a body that’s still characteristically chunky. Picture: SUPPLIED

Subaru has announced the pricing of its new fifth-generation Forester SUV that will reach SA showrooms in early  December .

The three-model range will be priced from R429,000 to R499,000 and will boast improvements to its offroad ability, fuel economy and ride comfort. Subaru also calls it the roomiest and most refined Forester to date.

The Forester, one of the niche brand’s top sellers in SA, made its international debut at the 2018 New York motor show. It has been restyled with distinctive C-shaped tail lights and LED headlights, but retains its characteristically boxy styling.

Built on a new platform shared with the Subaru XV and Impreza, the 2019 Forester rides on a wider and longer wheelbase for improvements to handling and ride comfort, while retaining its generous 220mm ground clearance.

One of the more offroad-capable SUVs in the segment, the Forester has been upgraded with improved approach and departure angles to better tackle rough adventure trails.

Premium model has an X-Mode feature that automatically adjusts the throttle power in offroad driving. Picture: SUPPLIED
Premium model has an X-Mode feature that automatically adjusts the throttle power in offroad driving. Picture: SUPPLIED

Debuting in the premium model is a new two-mode X-Mode system which automatically adjusts the throttle power in offroad driving, leaving the driver to handle only the steering in difficult driving conditions. X-Mode offers two settings, one for driving in snow and deep mud and the other for driving in sand and snow. Other Forester models have the standard X-Mode single mode function, but all versions get hill descent control.

At the same time, body roll has been reduced to give the big Subaru better handling agility, while good cornering traction is ensured by active torque vectoring which brakes the wheel closest to the corner to reduce understeer.

The new Forester will initially be available with Subaru’s normally-aspirated 2.0l  “boxer” petrol engine with outputs of 115kW and 196Nm, powering both axles through symmetrical all-wheel drive. Gearbox duty is performed by a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which Subaru says has expanded gear ratios for better fuel economy.

A more powerful normally-aspirated 2.5l engine will expand the offering in 2020 or 2021, but the turbocharged 2.5l Forester XT has been dropped from the line up.

The cabin is enlarged and has improved connectivity with Apple Carplay and Android Auto functionality, and all three versions come with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag) and a reversing camera. There’s an extra 35mm of rear legroom, as well as cavernous 2154l boot with the 60:40 split rear bench seat folded, up 54l  on the previous Forester.

Standard in the two higher models is Subaru’s Eyesight driver assist technology, which in a Japanese road safety study was found to lead to 61% fewer accidents than vehicles without it. Eyesight features automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, lane-keeping assist, pre-collision throttle management and lead vehicle start alert.

Prices

Forester 2.0 CVT – R429,000
Forester 2.0 L ES CVT – R469,000
Forester 2.0 S ES EVT – R499,000

Prices include 5 year/150,000km warranty and 3 year/75,000km maintenance plan