TC Subaru has previewed the fifth-generation Subaru Forester in Malaysia ahead of the SUV’s official launch, which is set to take place very soon. Customers will get to choose from three variants, namely the 2.0i-L, 2.0i-S and 2.0i-S ES, although no official pricing has been revealed just yet; word is the range-topper 2.0i-S ES will go for around RM165k.

The 2.0i-S ES is the most interesting of the bunch, as it marks the first time the Forester gets the EyeSight suite of driver assistance systems in our country. However, it is only the second Subaru model with EyeSight in the line-up, as the first is the Outback launched last year.

The EyeSight suite consists of Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management, Lane Sway and Departure Warning, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. The 2.0i-ES is also the only variant with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, a Side View Monitor and a Blind-Spot Detection system.

Be that as it may, the list of safety equipment on all variants is still rather comprehensive, as it includes Vehicle Dynamics Control System (VDC), Active Torque Vectoring, brake assist, ABS, EBD, auto vehicle hold, reverse sensors, emergency stop signal, Isofix child seat anchors and seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee).

An active grille shutter and automatic LED headlamps are standard across the range, but only the 2.0i-S and 2.0i-S ES come with LED daytime-running lights, as well as auto levelling and steering responsive functions for the headlamps. The base 2.0i-L variant also misses out on LED fog lamps and 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 series tyres, settling for 17-inch units with 225/60 series tyres instead.

On the inside, eight-way power adjustable front seats, an eight-inch infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, instrument cluster display, paddle shifters, keyless entry and start, cruise control, an electronic parking brake, PIN code access, and a multifunction steering wheel are standard fitments across the board. Items such as aluminium pedals and a powered liftgate are reserved for the 2.0i-S and 2.0i-S ES.

In its fifth generation, the Forester rides on the Subaru Global Platform, which is also used for the XV, Impreza and Ascent. All variants for the Malaysian market are powered by a FB20 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection, and come with Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) with two drive modes for the powertrain.

The boxer engine outputs 156 PS at 6,000 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, with drive going to all four wheels via a Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. While the base option does come with X-Mode, the 2.0i-S and 2.0i-S ES get Subaru’s Special X-Mode. This is an enhanced version of the system that makes it easier to swap between the ‘Snow/Dirt’ and ‘Deep Snow/Mud’ modes to deal with more trying terrain.

The new Forester, unlike its predecessor, will arrive as a fully-imported (CBU) model from Thailand, where it is manufactured at Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) Limited’s new assembly facility located in the Ladkrabang Industrial Estate. This is Subaru Corporation’s third factory in the world after its Gunma site in Japan and Subaru of Indiana Automotive in the United States.

We’ve already had a go in the new Forester during the official launch of the model in Taiwan in August last year, which you can read about here. Should you be in the market for a C-segment SUV, will you pick the Forester over models like the Proton X70, Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V? If the answer is yes, you can click here to register your interest.

2019 Subaru Forester 2.0i-S ES

2019 Subaru Forester 2.0i-S

GALLERY: Previous Subaru Forester 2.0i-P