The Fourth generation of the Subaru Forester, the popular and capable SUV
On sale in the UK in May. this new Subaru Forester is widely expected to quickly become the Japanese brand’s most popular model. After the launch that Drive attended we widely agree. Since the introduction of the first Forester in 1997, sales of SUVs in the C segment have increased eightfold. This new Forester has now changed to appeal more to users of all types in the SUV market.
Watch the Drive 10 Second Video of the New Subaru Forester XT
Interior and packaging
Shaped around SUV buyers’ top priorities, the Forester offers a high and commanding driving position; generous interior space and cargo capacity; exterior dimensions that are easily steered through city streets; and ease of entry and exit for adults and children. High ground clearance and All-Wheel Drive provide the all-terrain capabilities that Forester is rightly renowned for.
Watch the Drive 10 Second Video of the interior of the New Subaru Forester XT
Subaru engineers have been able to noticeably increase the size of the cabin in the new Forester by expanding the wheelbase and widening the vehicle’s body, while cargo capacity in the new model has also been increased, continuing the Forester tradition for maximum practicality.
The new Forester is 2mm taller than the outgoing model, 15mm wider, and 35mm longer, with a 25mm longer wheelbase – and through clever packaging, there are bigger increases in interior space than external dimensions. The addition of a powered rear tailgate on the highest XT trim level, first in class, further improves the vehicle’s ease of use and functionality.
Subaru designers have significantly improved the quality and ambience inside the new Forester compared to the outgoing model, through the use of higher grade materials on the dashboard, the centre console and doors. Particular attention has been given to the controls and areas touched by the driver, such as the steering wheel and gear shift, while optimising the switchgear feel of all other controls.
The new Forester is also an exceptionally safe vehicle and was recently awarded the full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating. Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) electronic stability control system has been upgraded for superior stability, while a new Trailer Stability Control also improves safety during towing. Greater use of ultra-high tensile steel reinforces the vehicle, making it exceptionally strong yet light.
All safety equipment is fitted as standard to every model in the Forester range, including twin front, side, curtain and knee airbags, upholding Subaru’s commitment to improving crash safety performance.
Every Forester is equipped with two core Subaru technologies: Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, affording surefootedness in all conditions, and the latest generation Boxer engines, contributing to a low centre of gravity which is beneficial to balance, road holding and handling.
Engines and transmissions
Forester buyers will have three 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engines to choose from – a 150ps naturally-aspirated petrol engine and a 147ps turbocharged diesel unit from Subaru’s FB family of engines, as well as a new FA20 DIT direct injection turbocharged petrol unit, which produces 240ps and has been engineered for high power, responsiveness and efficiency. All three engines comply with Euro5 emissions standards.
The new Subaru Forester is available with the choice of either a new six-speed manual transmission – available on 2.0i and 2.0D models – or an upgraded version of Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT automatic, available as an option on 150ps petrol models and standard on vehicles equipped with the new 240ps DIT engine.
All Lineartronic models also gain paddle shift and a custom driving mode system, Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), which allows drivers to choose between different driving modes to match road conditions.
In uneven or slippery road conditions, all-terrain capability is enhanced further with the introduction of X-Mode on Lineartronic CVT models, a new All-Wheel-Drive control system which includes Hill Descent Control and makes traction even better than the outgoing model’s.
In everyday driving conditions, the new Forester’s agility, driving performance and ride quality are all improved over the outgoing model’s through a combination of Subaru’s latest technologies and enhanced chassis and body rigidity.
The Forester, as well as being hugely practical, has been engineered to be fun and engaging to drive, and the vehicle’s fully-independent suspension has been upgraded to improve steering response, traction and ride comfort.
There are six trim levels for buyers to choose from, all with a generous level of standard equipment: XE and XE Premium is available on all naturally-aspirated petrol models; X, XC and XC Premium on all diesel models; and XT, the highest specification, is standard on 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol versions of the new Forester.
Lineartronic is available on XE and XE Premium models and is fitted as standard to XT versions.
All Forester buyers will have the peace-of-mind of a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty, plus a 12-year anti-corrosion guarantee.
Prices for the new Subaru Forester are increased only marginally over the outgoing model, despite the greatly increased levels of standard equipment and technology.
The most affordable model in the range, the 2.0D X, starts from just £24,995 on the road while the range-topping 2.0i XT is £30,995. The New Forester is on sale from May 1.