Growing from rugged wagon to mid-sized SUV, the Subaru Forester has become a firm favourite with families and adrenalin junkies alike. What made the Forester unique in this ever-growing segment is that it can handle the rough stuff, and handle it well. For 2019, we have a new Forester gracing our roads and it’s good, very good.
At first glance the new car is barely distinguishable from the model it replaces. Take a second look however and you notice a more chiselled front and re-designed rear light cluster, providing a sharp no-nonsense look. Subaru’s styling gurus have always given us form and function and the Forester is no exception. The 2019 Forester comes in three variants – sport, sport plus and premium. The new car is 28mm longer than before inside, so there is more room to slob out and taller folk have more head room too.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine (136kW/239Nm), mated to an upgraded seven-speed SLT automatic transmission, which happens to be miles better than the outgoing model. All models get an upgraded version of Subaru’s proven all-wheel-drive system with X-Mode. This allows you to choose between drive modes like normal, light snow/dirt, and deep snow/mud. In terms of tech, the Forester has you covered. Its Driver Monitoring System with Facial Recognition detects when the driver is not concentrating or feeling a bit under the weather and will provide an audible ‘wake up.’
IT CAN HANDLE THE ROUGH STUFF AND HANDLE IT WELL.
Subaru’s Eyesight active safety system also makes an appearance with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pre-collision braking, lane keep assist and pre-collision warning. All this kit is standard across the range, along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, reversing camera, tyre pressure monitoring, Bluetooth and dual zone climate control. In the back, the Forester contains 520L of boot space which expands to 1060L with the rear seats folded flat. Rear passenger entry and exit is also improved by rear doors which open at an almost 45-degree angle, making loading up with valuables and wee ones a breeze.
On the move the Forester is comfortable and refined. Plus, with 220mm of ground clearance and 18-inch alloys (17-inch with the sport model), you would be hard-pressed to find a better riding SUV. The boxer engine pulls exceptionally well and the all-wheel-drive system never puts a foot wrong. Leave the asphalt and the Forester is unlike any other mid-range SUV. With X-Mode on tap, we were able to power through the rough stuff with ease.
After a week with its company, we can safely say Subaru’s most popular model is showing no signs of slowing down, and with prices starting at $39,990 for the entry level sport and top out at $47,490 for the flagship premium, the new Forester represents astonishing value. In other words, the 2019 Subaru Forester is the new top dog.