Subaru Forester BKK-4

The 2016 Subaru Forester made its regional debut at the 2016 Bangkok Motor Show today. As previously reported, the refreshed SUV is now locally assembled at Tan Chong’s Segambut plant in Malaysia. However, not all variants of the Forester offered are CKD units.

For both the Thai and Malaysian markets, the Forester is offered in two CKD variants – a base 2.0i and 2.0i-P. A CBU from Japan offering will also be offered here, badged as the 2.0 XT.

Each variant measures 1,795 mm wide and 1,735 mm tall, but there is a difference in length, a result of two front-ends. The 2.0i (4,610 mm long) receives the facelifted bumper as seen in Tokyo, while the 2.0i-P and XT (both 4,595 mm long) gets the same face as that of the, well, XT.

Even so, all three benefit from new tail lamps (now with C-shaped design elements) and a new grille design with the Subaru logo now located in the centre of the chrome bar. The 2.0 XT seen here is wearing an STi styling pack, which tags on a front spoiler lip, rear diffuser, aluminium roof rails and a chrome cargo step.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0i-P 2

As for headlamps, LED ones (with DRLs) can be found on the 2.0i-P and XT, along with bulb-type fog lamps. The LED lighting units also feature Steering Responsive Headlights that follow the direction of the steering wheel. The 2.0i gets halogen reflectors and LED DRLs instead.

New-design alloy wheels are part of the visual upgrades as well. The XT gets 18-inch options with 225/55R18 tyres, while the remaining two variants (2.0i-P and 2.0i) are 17 inch in size, wrapped with 225/60R17 tyres.

All three variants feature a similar recipe for the powertrain, which consists of a 2.0 litre four-cylinder DOHC boxer petrol engine, Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (S-AWD) system.

On the 2.0i and 2.0i-P, the FB20 mill is naturally-aspirated, dishing out 150 PS at 6,200 rpm and 198 Nm at 4,200 rpm. Meanwhile, the CBU XT’s engine (FA20) benefits from direct-injection and turbocharging, resulting in an output of 241 PS at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm at 2,400 to 3,600 rpm. The turbo option also gets a different Lineartronic CVT to handle the higher output.

Additionally, Subaru’s X-Mode makes its way into all three variants. At push of a button in front of the gear selector, the car takes control of the engine, transmission, AWD system, brakes and other systems to safely navigate difficult terrain. The system works up to speeds of 40 km/h, and includes a Hill Descent Control function that is activated when X-Mode is engaged.

The fancy ‘one-button off-road prowess’ isn’t the only new member in the Forester’s arsenal either. Underneath, the car’s suspension system has been updated for refinement. At the front, stiffer cross members, new coilover springs and dampers are in place, while the rear suspension alignment has been changed.

Moving inside, the Forester retains its familiar layout, but with various upmarket changes. For starters, various trim pieces made of leather, glossy black/silver-painted/faux carbon-fibre plastic and chrome have been added (door panels, dashboard, air-con vents and centre stack). In fact, leather upholstery is now standard across the entire Forester line-up (XT gets leather/suede combo), and NVH also gets a boost with additional soundproofing materials and thicker windows.

For the driver, the instrument cluster gets revised graphics as well as a new TFT LCD colour display. On the dashboard itself, there is now a multi-info colour display. A new Kenwood double-DIN touchscreen head-unit (2.0 XT gets a premium audio system with a Harmon Kardon speakers), which replaces the previous audio unit, also acts as a screen for the rearview camera.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0i-P 18

Elsewhere, there’s a new steering wheel and gear selector, with the former having a selector between Si and Intelligent throttle response modes, as well as cruise control (both found only on the 2.0i-P and XT), as are aluminium pedals and paddle shifters.

Other exclusive features for the 2.0i-P and XT are four-way electric-powered front driver (with memory function) and passenger seats. Cargo access is made easier with the introduction of powered rear liftgate with memory function as well. A nifty feature – PIN code access, allows customers to access their Subaru without a key fob. Speaking of which, keyless entry is standard on these two variants but not on the 2.0i.

Safety-wise, the Forester is equipped with seven airbags (dual front, sides and curtains, driver’s knee), Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Hill Start Assist, ring-shaped reinforcement frame and ABS (with EBD and BA). The safety suite is standard on all variants. No EyeSight package here, as the option is not offered for our region.

Scheduled to arrive in Malaysia real soon, the 2016 Subaru Forester – in all three variant forms – will be available for booking at all Subaru showrooms nationwide from March 22 onwards. As for pricing, we’ll have to wait for the official launch for a confirmation. Nonetheless, does the refreshed Forester pique your interest?

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0 XT

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0i-P

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0i