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The order books have been open for a while now, and after enjoying a public showroom preview in June, the fourth-gen Subaru Forester finally officially enters the Malaysian market.

Our car is the 2.0 XT, which has a meaner-looking, more angular front bumper than its naturally-aspirated siblings. Under its bonnet lurks a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0 litre ‘Boxer’ flat-four engine that produces 240 PS at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 3,600 rpm (280 PS for Japan, 253 PS for the US).

Armed with a Lineartronic CVT and Subaru’s symmetrical Active Torque Split AWD system, the 1,635 kg crossover is capable of doing the century sprint in 7.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of just over 220 km/h. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are quoted at 8.5 litres per 100 km and 197 grams per km respectively.

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The CVT is supplemented by shift paddles and SI Drive (Subaru Intelligent Drive), which offers Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp drive modes. Select Sport Sharp and you’ll have eight virtual ratios to play with. A system called X-Mode collaborates with the AWD system to provide off-road settings. Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist are also standard fare.

Fully imported from Japan, the Subaru Forester 2.0 XT is 4,595 mm long (+35 mm from its predecessor), 1,795 mm wide (+15 mm) and 1,735 mm tall (+35 mm), with a 2,640 mm wheelbase (+26 mm). It sits 220 mm off the ground, on 18-inch aluminium alloys wrapped in 225/55 tyres. The driver’s eye point is 34 mm higher than in the previous car.

Suspension is handled by MacPherson struts up front and double wishbones out back, while brakes are ventilated discs all round. The fuel tank holds 60 litres of petrol.

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The equipment list is long – there are auto HID headlamps with self-levelling and pop-up washers, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear fog lamps, a sunroof and power folding door mirrors with integrated LED indicators. There’re also roof rails, keyless entry and start, cruise control and a powered tailgate, amongst others.

Inside the Subaru Forester, you’ll find fabric seats, auto dual-zone air-con, a multi-function display, audio controls on the steering wheel, a total of three 12V outlets and an eight-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. Connectivity is provided for Bluetooth, USB and AUX.

The boot can hold 422 litres of cargo; fold the 60:40 split back seats down via the one-touch folding switches and this jumps to 1,541 litres.

Defense mechanisms include seven airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Control, ABS, ISOFIX and side door reinforcement beams. A safety pedal system prevents the pedal from being forced back into the driver’s feet in the event of a collision. The Subaru Forester has a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

The Subaru Forester 2.0 XT costs RM199,800 (OTR without insurance), or RM206,482 with insurance. It can be had in Satin White Pearl, Jasmine Green Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic (limited availability), Dark Grey Metallic and Crystal Black Silica. Offered is a five-year or 100,000 km warranty.

For more pictures, visit our showroom gallery.