2019 Subaru Forester unveiled – more space, more technology, new 2.5 litre direct-injected boxer engine

2019 Subaru Forester unveiled – more space, more technology, new 2.5 litre direct-injected boxer engine

The Subaru Forester has been a staple of the Subaru lineup for more than 20 years alongside the Impreza and Legacy, and for the 2019 model year the Pleiades brand is introducing the all-new fifth-generation model at the 2018 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The company claims that the latest version is the roomiest, most versatile and most spacious yet.

An evolution of its predecessor from the outside, the new Forester incorporates Subaru’s “Dynamic x Solid” design language, with standard LED headlights and sharp C-shaped daytime running lights flanking a six-sided grille. Along the side, the more expressive shoulder lines flow up into the D-pillars to accentuate the car’s height and strength, while the rear features C-shaped tail lights.

The new Sport trim level adds LED fog lights, a black grille, black 18-inch alloy wheels and a black rear spoiler, along with orange exterior highlights. Inside, there’s dark grey upholstery with orange stitching and accents, along with a cargo tray and LED interior lighting. It also gets PIN code access and the All-Weather Package that adds heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a wiper de-icer.

The cabin is very similar to the latest Impreza and XV, with a new dashboard design featuring slim vertical air vents flanking a centre infotainment display. Subaru says that the pillars have been strategically designed to improve visibility together with the expansive glass area, and all models come with a reverse camera.

2019 Subaru Forester unveiled – more space, more technology, new 2.5 litre direct-injected boxer engine

Interior space has been increased with the redesign, thanks to a wheelbase that has grown by 30 mm to 2,670 mm. Rear legroom has grown by 35 mm to a whole 1,000 mm, while head-, hip- and shoulder room have also seen increases, improving the feeling of spaciousness within the cabin. Wider rear door openings and a steeper C-pillar allow for easier entry and egress and also makes installing a child seat easier.

Up front, the new seats are said to be more comfortable on long journeys, and an electric parking brake frees up console space. Moving to the boot, cargo space now measures a massive 2,155 litres with the 60:40-split rear seats folded – an increased of 40 litres – and the maximum width of the tailgate opening is now 135 mm wider at 1,300 mm. This allows a golf bag to be slotted in without having to tilt it.

The textured material on the boot floor, sides and tailgate is dirt- and scratch-resistant and is easier to clean, and the same can be said of the PVC material used on the bottom of the front seat backs. The front seat pockets have also been divided to better segregate items such as magazines and gadgets. A powered tailgate is offered as standard on the Limited and Touring models (optional on the Premium and Sport).

All models get automatic climate control – with dual-zone control on Limited and Touring variants – and the optional front seat heating comes with three instead of two settings. Meanwhile, the Touring model also gets rear seat heating for the first time, along with a heated steering wheel and a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (eight-way for the passenger) with a memory function for the driver’s seat and door mirrors.

2019 Subaru Forester unveiled – more space, more technology, new 2.5 litre direct-injected boxer engine

Moving to the rest of the equipment list, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring models also receive a panoramic sunroof, while the Sport, Limited and Touring receive keyless entry and push-button start as standard – a feature that is optional on the Premium model. In conjunction with Subaru Starlink Connected Services, this adds remote engine start via the MySubaru app, which can also setup the climate control.

As standard, the Forester comes with the Starlink Multimedia system with a 6.5-inch touchscreen as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, Aha, Pandora and Starlink app integration. The Multimedia Plus system adds an eight-inch screen, while the Multimedia Navigation system gets TomTom voice-activated navigation. There’s also WiFi connectivity available as well as a host of concierge and emergency services.

Power comes from a new 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated flat-four engine with direct injection, a higher compression ratio and an active valve control system (AVCS) on the exhaust side. It now delivers 182 hp and 239 Nm of torque, and is mated with a standard Lineartronic CVT to provide an estimated 7.1 litres per 100 km fuel consumption. Sport and Touring models get a seven-speed manual mode with paddle shifters.

Of course, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system comes as standard, paired to the WRX and WRX STI‘s Active Torque Vectoring system. Also standard is the SI-Drive system, which features Intelligent and Sport (Sport Sharp on the Forester Sport) drive modes tuned for either efficiency or performance.

2019 Subaru Forester unveiled – more space, more technology, new 2.5 litre direct-injected boxer engine

Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring models receive the driver-selectable X-Mode system with Hill Descent Control, which optimises engine, transmission, AWD system and Vehicle Dynamics Control for maximum traction on slippery conditions. A new dual-mode version with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes is fitted on Sport, Limited and Touring variants.

The new Subaru Global Platform is said to provide greater handling capability, agility, ride comfort and crash protection. The new architecture is said to be inherently resistant to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), and while road noise has been significantly reduced with the new Forester, the company has also worked to tune out certain frequencies to make conversation or listening to music at highway speeds more comfortable.

In terms of safety, all Foresters in the United States come with the EyeSight driver assistance system. This adds Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. Also available are Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

High Beam Assist is offered on the Sport, Limited and Touring models, with the last two also getting adaptive headlights. New for the 2019 is Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and standard-fit Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), while the Touring receives the new DriverFocus system that uses facial recognition to recognise driver fatigue or distraction.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Kuinosan on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    What is Subaru trying to achieve with their lack of styling creativity and effort? Are they trying to sell their cars base on their technology and 4 wheel drivetrain or what? If that’s the case, then sorry Subaru, good designs sell cars. Not the other way round!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 39
    • Fucukyongtaufoo on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      good designs sell cars? The P1 persona, suprima & saga all well designed cars. But.. but…their selling

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 54
    • Richard Tido on Mar 30, 2018 at 7:32 am

      This one sure very thirsty in fuel consumption

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
    • Jinbaitai on Mar 30, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Majority of carbuyers are practical buyers, only very niche car owners will go for flamboyant design or emotional appeal of a car, even that they will have a reliable car to back them up for daily harsh usage.

      Is Axia a good looking thing? Has the ugly looking tongek Bezza despise and rejected by Malaysian car buyers? Hell no.

      Design don’t matter even abit, especially for market like Malaysia.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
    • 12yrsold on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Hehehe. U have asked a good question. I think Subaru make their vehicles “Boxy” but Solid bcos they use the try & tested BOXER engine & their Proven 4-WD power-train hence looks is NOT in their design.
      BTW, most purchaser buy a Scooby bcos its a SUBARU.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
  • The only macho looking SUV left.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 43
    • Toyota RAV4. #sebenarnya.my

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13
      • taknaktoyota on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:33 pm

        RAV design no originality, no trademark simply cut and paste

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
      • Rav4 is a Ranger wannabe with CLS headlights. Shud call it HigherLux cuz its the only way to fool pipu.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 39
  • Wong Fei Hong on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    The green colour looks like Ford Kuga

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • old horse on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    internal looks better

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
  • krishna on Mar 29, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    their design looks still stuck in the 80s! seriously, what are they thinking??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 10
  • That surprise facial expressions of the car.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
  • gigi kuning macho on Mar 29, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    boxer engine for boxy looking car….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6
  • no more XT? bring back the turbo, it is underpower.
    The design still angmoh style, attract angmoh market

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
  • Subaru design = Broomstick Man design (Cantonese)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
  • gahpadu on Mar 29, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    already got rear aircond?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • You hate the design of this car.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3
  • just can not accept the design of this car.

    look so ugly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9
    • 12yrsold on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Design is a very Personal thing just like A girl who prefer a Baju Kebaya over a Orang Putih suit. To each his/her own bro. We should cheers… bcos there is diversity & choice.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  • if you look the sales in their biggest markets, subaru tops in resale and sales double digit growth year on year, they top safety as well. They wont give a damn what malaysians think as they seem to be in the right direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 7
  • Henry on Mar 29, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    When this SUV arrives many of the features will not be there. All in the name of keeping the price affordable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  • Honda Fan on Mar 29, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Subaru Forester is for those who will appreciate the driving experience. For those who just want the look and don’t care about anything else can look elsewhere. This SUV will never attract a buyer from its outlook but the moment you have driven it, it is hard to take it off your mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 4
  • Sputjam on Mar 29, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Sell the outback at a cheaper price. Currently it just does not make economic sense

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
  • Applegreen on Mar 29, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Hopefully the ckd version here will get 2.5L version

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6
    • Khalid on Mar 29, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      We need REASONABLE size turbo engines and not big displacement NA engines from SUBARU for higher hp power and torque output with low road tax when CKD .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
      • Jinbaitai on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:11 am

        Downsized turbo is a hoax, it’s not fuel economical compared to a similar power output NA counterpart with higher displacement. The NEDC cycle is heavily biased towards downsized turbocharged engine, running them in minimal load condition which hardly spool up the turbo, hence the unrealistic fuel consumption figure. Drive it in the real world, you’ll know the truth.

        In real world driving condition , a NA will anytime win any downsized turbocharged engine in fuel consumption , more so when traffic condition worsen with lots of stop go and traffic jam. The Japanese know this blatant lies which was made up European legislators in cohorts with European car makers, they started all these downsized turbocharged trend to make apple polishing lab figures and appease to the environmentalist movement in Europe. In reality, hybrid, electrification and continuation of enhancing the old-school internal combustion engine is the way to go, which is what Mazda and Toyota are doing. Too bad Honda had succumbed to this trend.

        In terms of performance, the only advantage of a downsized turbocharged engine is the low end torque and low loading condition, ie highway cruising, minus these two factors, downsized turbocharged engine has no advantages or over any NA engine, it’s more complex, heavier (please factor in the intercooler and all these additional pipping needed for air circulation, a downsized turbo engine might ended up even heavier than a bigger displacement NA), more maintenance and more expensive in the long run. Cheaper road tax is still a benefits of course, but does it outweights the cons?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9
        • Jinba Thai on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:16 am

          can you explain to me why the toyota now has 1.2 turbo and 2.0 turbo?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
          • Jinbaitai on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:48 am

            For taxation advantage of course. In market like China, they penalised car maker based on engine displacement, hence Toyota sell their 1.2 turbo and 2.0 turbo there. Mind you what I mean by taxation through engine displacement doesn’t mean road tax per second, but taxation THAT IS INCLUDED in the overall car selling price. Hence, a same segment car would be much expensive when it is sold with a high displacement NA engine.

            Toyota is not stupid, they need to adapt to business calculation. So in the end of the day, they sell their turbo to market where displacement is penalised, is like ” you mau turbo, I kasi my turbo,” but deep down under, Toyota know all these downsized turbocharged for greener emission and lower fuel consumption is pure bullshit. In market where taxation is not based on engine displacement but other factors, Toyota don’t even bother to introduce their downsized turbocharged engine, unlike those European marque who sell their downsized turbocharged powertrain as global default choice, like VW. go figure.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8
        • Sushi Sucks on Mar 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

          In summary Toyota only knows how to produce dinosaur and obsolete engines . Nothing to cheer or look up on japs anymore

          Period as the japs are just copy cat only and not innovative at all.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
  • Dave Chapman on Mar 30, 2018 at 3:33 am

    Didn’t fool me few days ago when they teased rear end. As always from Subaru – same turd, only different in color for this so-called ALL-NEW. Even interior is still a-la 90’s. Amazing!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7
  • Bernard on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Staid design, poor branding, too expensive, no resale value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14
  • Don Sell on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    All the cars I bought are no resale value. Anyway I buy them too, and I like them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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