LINK: Interested in the new 2016 Forester CKD? Sign up your interest here.

Bookings for the 2016 Subaru Forester are now open, according to Motor Image Malaysia. The refreshed SUV, will be offered in two locally assembled (CKD) variants, and a sole imported one from Japan (CBU), made its regional debut at the recent Bangkok Motor Show.

At that time, Glenn Tan, executive director of Tan Chong International, revealed that the two CKD variants – 2.0i and 2.0i-P – will be priced at RM144,160 and RM153,700, respectively.

As for the CBU option, the turbocharged XT variant will be priced at RM210,940. The prices here are GST-inclusive, but without insurance and road tax. We’ve also been told back then that a special discount of RM3,000 will be offered when the vehicle is launched in Malaysia on April 14.

XT (left), 2.0i (right)

For the new Forester, the 2.0i and 2.0i-P are both powered by a 2.0 litre FB20 four-cylinder DOHC boxer naturally-aspirated petrol engine (150 PS at 6,200 rpm and 198 Nm at 4,200 rpm). The XT’s engine (FA20) meanwhile, gains direct-injection and turbocharging to produce 241 PS at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm at 2,400 to 3,600 rpm.

Both engines are linked to a Lineartronic CVT, with the turbo option getting a slightly modified version to cope with the higher output. A new feature for the powertrain is X-Mode, which makes tackling off-road terrain (up to an extent) a simpler affair.

Visually, only the 2.0i gets a new bumper similar to what we saw in Tokyo last year. The 2.0i-P and XT on the other hand, retains the same bumper design of the pre-facelift XT. However, a new grille, tail lamps, headlamps and alloy wheels are part of the visual upgrade.

2016 Subaru Forester 2.0i-P 18

Inside, the cabin (2.0i-P pictured here) is now more upmarket than before thanks to leather upholstery, a new TFT LCD colour display, double-DIN touchscreen head-unit, new steering wheel and powered seats. In certain areas, the Forester also receives additional soundproofing materials and thicker windows to help improve the vehicle’s NVH.

Safety-wise, the Forester get 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 impressive safety kit is standard on all variants.

When the new Subaru Forester makes its launch debut here, it will have to go up against established rivals like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander. Will you prefer the boxer-powered SUV over them?

LINK: Interested in the new 2016 Forester CKD? Sign up your interest here.