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Subaru's all-new Forester SUV arrives on local dealership floors - We have details, pricing and specs

2018-12-10 11:19
2019 Subaru Forester

Image: Quickpic

Almost 22 years since the first Forester rewrote the rulebook of conventional wagon practicality and driveability, the all-new, fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester is set to arrive on South African dealership floors on December 11 2018.

Redesigned from the ground up and the third vehicle from Subaru built upon the new Subaru Global Platform, the 2019 Forester sets new standards for the segment and promises to deliver more confidence and enjoyment to customers, as set out in Subaru’s design and engineering philosophy.

Only getting better

The Forester has played a key role in establishing the Subaru customer base in South Africa and has remained the most popular and successful model from Subaru in the region.

GALLERY: 2019 Subaru Forester

Ashley Lazarus, Marketing Manager for Subaru Southern Africa believes this model will continue the success.

"For two decades, the Forester has offered customers the highest standards of safety, versatility and reliability for amazing value and that only gets better with this new model," he added.

READ: Next-generation Subaru Forester confirmed for SA

The Forester is all-new and delivers impressive improvements in the areas of ride, handling, safety, occupant convenience and comfort. The Forester’s design has always prioritised these key elements and the 2019 model takes all of these qualities to new heights.

Improved design

It’s unmistakeably Forester and an evolution of the previous model. The width, length and wheelbase of the car have increased yet the height is 5mm lower than before, creating a more robust and sturdy stance that also yields more interior space and legroom.

The rear section of the car now includes split rear taillamps with a more pronounced C-shape, and the black rear cladding now extends higher than before, a more practical and adventurous design.

2019 Subaru Forester

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Key features at the front are broader LED headlamps, a redesigned grille, fog lamps surrounds and new underguard treatment for added protection during off-road excursions. The roof rails have also been redesigned, now featuring loopholes on the premium spec model, for easier securing of ropes when tying cargo onto the top of the car.

A new series of 17 and 18" alloy wheel designs has also been created for the Forester, finished in silver or high-gloss black metallic and to complement these wheels, there are three brand new colours specific to the new Forester: Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl.

Overall, the larger car exudes a sense of practicality, quality and dependability in its new design. And it’s certainly the same in terms of interior design features.

2019 Subaru Forester

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All Subaru vehicles, and most certainly the Forester, have carved a reputation for adventure and family practicality. And so with the new interior design of the vehicle, this is noticeable in the attention to detail in every part of the new cabin.

The design is synonymous with the latest vehicles based on the Subaru Global Platform, with a number of design traits of the current generation XV and Impreza, now with new levels of fit and finish and added practicality specific to Forester customer needs.

A high focus on occupant comfort is emphasised in the new materials used on the door panels and centre console. Matching trim on the air vents and around the gear selector also complement the quality interior with new fabric or leather seats designed for optimal ergonomics, comfort and safety.

Meeting the needs

The popular Forester is designed to meet the multiple needs of various customer types: families, adventurers, sports people and more. The consideration of various needs placed on the vehicle have resulted in a more versatile and user-friendly Forester.

The newly designed rear now allows for a wider and higher opening width with up to 1 300mm. Coupled with the split-folding 40:60 rear seats now also redesigned to create a flatter loading area when folded down, loading cargo into the new Forester has never been this easy.

2019 Subaru Forester

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The cargo capacity is now 520L with the seats in place and extends up to 1060L with the rear seats folded down. Careful consideration has also been given to the materials used in the boot – an easy-to-clean yet aesthetically pleasing texture that is also used on the lower bumpers and wheel well cladding.

The larger dimensions of the car have also resulted in much-improved passenger leg room, shoulder room and hip room. Added to the space, the new Forester has been designed to ensure entering and exiting the vehicle is much easier and more comfortable especially when parked in awkward, confined spaces.

By squaring off the rear doors and extending the distances between the rear seat cushions and the B-pillar has allowed for easier ingress/egress and easier installation of child seats.

2019 Subaru Forester

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The new Forester also features new side sill steps at the rear that are wider and flatter to assist with access but also designed with a slip-resistant material for when these double up as steps to use when loading or setting up the roof rails.

Other convenience features include rear seat pockets designed to include smartphones and tablets alike, a pair of USB ports for rear passengers in addition to the 2 USB ports up front and rear air-conditioning vents for air flow to rear passengers.

"The attention to detail and the consideration of all driver and passenger needs is a large part of what the new Forester is about. This car has been designed with the customer in mind," Ashley Lazarus says.

Safety of the utmost quality

The previous generation Forester has been awarded 5-star safety ratings from all of the most reputable agencies across the world including being rated highest by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 12 years running.

The first global safety tests are in and the new 2019 Subaru Forester gets safer than the outgoing model. Subaru Corporation announced the newly-redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester SUV received the top rating in the Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP) preventive safety performance assessment.

2019 Subaru Forester

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Premium Forester models come standard with EyeSight driver assist safety system and earns JNCAP’s top safety rating of Advanced Safety Vehicle Triple Plus (ASV +++) conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport (MLIT) and the National Agency for Automotive Safety & Victims’ Aid (NASVA) in Japan.

The Forester also benefits from no less than seven Airbags: 2 front airbags, 2 side airbags, 2 curtain airbags and 1 driver’s knee airbag. It delivers class-leading all-round visibility with fewer blind spots throughout the cabin than ever before.

Within the cabin, new Forester now comes with an automatic mirror tilt-down function on the premium spec model when the driver engages reverse gear.

This assists with viewing blind-spots while reversing and parking. Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Reverse cameras also complement the view of the vehicle’s rear.

2019 Subaru Forester

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The Forester is built with Subaru core technology combination of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Boxer engines. On the Subaru Global Platform, manoeuvrability is further enhanced with less body roll than the outgoing Forester and more direct steering.

These are critical components for hazard avoidance responses. Active Torque Vectoring assists in this area as well, a feature that distributes less torque or brakes the requisite wheels for more precise handling and better driver control in situations where a loss of control is detected.

This technology forms part of Subaru’s Preventative safety technology called Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC). VDC controls a number of vehicle systems such as braking, torque distribution and engine output to ensure maximum traction and control when driving.

The system includes Anti-Lock Braking, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist and Traction control technologies. All of the above safety features come standard on all new Forester's.

A first for any Forester in South Africa, is Subaru’s award-winning, game-changing EyeSight Driver Assist technology. The new Forester features the latest EyeSight technology. 

Developed over 30 years, this technology has seen unprecedented success globally. Studies conducted in Japan have shown a notable 61% fewer accidents with cars that were equipped with EyeSight.

This cutting-edge system works like a second pair of eyes for the road ahead, using a pair of stereo cameras to capture colour images with excellent image recognition up to 110m ahead—nearly as capable as the human eye.

One of the system’s key features is its ability to spot potential danger such as other vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles or motorcycles and warn the driver in due time or even apply emergency braking if needs be to prevent a collision or at worst, reduce the damage of a collision. This is just one of the many features of EyeSight.

Adaptive Cruise Control between 0 – 180km/h is also made possible with EyeSight. Adaptive Cruise Control maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead by continuously monitoring the distance and speed difference, constantly adjusting the engine, transmission, and brakes where needed.

Lane Sway and Lane Departure alerts the driver with a buzzer and flashing indicator if it detects lane drift or lane changes that are made without signalling. Other EyeSight features include Lead Vehicle Start Alert which warns the driver when traffic up ahead is moving forward and Pre-Collision Throttle Management, a system that warns the driver and cuts power from the throttle in the event of wrong gear selection or accelerating from an intersection too early when a car is still right in front.

2019 Subaru Forester dials

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Also new on vehicles equipped with this version of EyeSight is an Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH) function. This is a smarter and more versatile feature that replaces the previous Hill Start Assist function and holds the vehicle on all road gradients, not only inclines. Apart from the added convenience, features like AVH also reduce driver fatigue, a key part in mitigating accidents and mistakes on the road.

Reverse Automatic Braking is also available on the premium grade, which helps the driver avoid collisions when reversing at a low speed. The system employs sonar sensors to detect a possible hazard and automatically stops the car if the driver does not respond.

EyeSight is equipped standard on the 2.0i-S ES and the 2.0i-L ES derivatives, both at a price of under R500 000 making them the safest mid-sized SUV in its class at this price point.

Powertrain and capabilities

In South Africa, the all-new Forester features a new direct-injection 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre Boxer engine that delivers 115kW of power @ 6 000rpm and 196Nm of torque @ 4 000rpm.

This is delivered through a Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission) that is lighter and more efficient but also improved to better match engine noise and therefore deliver a more silent driving experience. 

Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive remains standard across the range and in combination with the engine, provides a balanced, safe, agile and fun driving experience. New fuel consumption figures are 7.6 litres per 100km, a 13% saving over the previous generation car.

Select Forester models feature Subaru’s drive mode selection programme, Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE). This drive mode selector located on the multi-function steering wheel tailors the driving experience between more economical and comfortable driving to a more sporty and dynamic experience.  Intelligent Mode delivers a smooth driving performance where Sport Mode delivers a more responsive throttle.

Foresters have become known for delivering unbelievable off-road ability, a smooth driving experience on gravel roads and poor road conditions. X-Mode and Hill Descent Control is standard across the range, but a more advanced X-Mode is added to the high spec model. 

The new Forester confidently conquers almost any road all at the turn of this new X-Mode selector dial. This new version now has a SNOW/DIRT mode for slippery surfaces covered with snow, dirt or gravel. 

The other option is D. SNOW/MUD mode for especially treacherous surfaces on which the car can become stuck such as deep snow, mud, or dry dirt. Selecting these modes moderates power delivery to the wheels that need it most.

Of course, all-new Forester retains its class-leading 220mm of ground clearance, but more consideration has been given to improved departure and break-over angles. All have been optimised to conquer obstacles without sustaining damage or getting stuck.

Convenience and technology

As with the new wave of Subaru vehicles recently released, the Forester ushers in the highest levels of comfort, convenience and technology specifications. It’s the nature of Forester to offer great levels of value in the entire package, no less with the new car. 

Standard features across the range are high-resolution touchscreen infotainment with smartphone integration, Apply CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth control with switches to operate these on the steering wheel as well as voice-command functionality and four USB ports.

Also, standard are electric windows, electric parking brake, electric side mirrors, multi-function display, remote keyless entry, a security system with engine immobilizer and powered seats for the driver and passenger.

The High spec version adds features such as electric seats with 2-memory programmable settings, a 9-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, rain-sensing front windscreen wipers, and Sunroof.

Forester also features a revised electric tailgate that operates in 5 seconds, almost half the time of the previous model.

All new Foresters are sold with Subaru’s 5 year /150 000km Warranty and a 3 year /75 000km Full Maintenance Plan which is further extendable to a 5 year /150 000km.

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