- Latest EyeSight stereo driving technology
- Less expensive than the range it replaces
- More safety, comfort and convenience claimed
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Almost 22 years after the first Forester made a claim to have rewritten conventional wagon practicality and driveability comes an all new – and less costly, we’re told! – fifth-generation.
The SUVs will be with South African dealers on December 11 2018 – thus answering the question The Corner’s headline asked in early November about whether they would make it for Christmas: indeed, Santa’s reindeer WILL be hauling them across the night sky.
Subaru says the wagon has been redesigned ”from the ground up”, is the third Subaru to be built on the new Subaru ‘Global Platform’ and will set standards for the segment.
The automaker adds: ”The Forester has played a key role in establishing Subaru’s customer base in South Africa and is still the most popular model in the region.”
SAFETY AND VERSATILITY
Indeed, Subaru SA’s marketing manager Ashley Lazarus told The Corner it would continue the success.
“For two decades the Forester has given customers the highest standards of safety, versatility and reliability for amazing value – and that value gets better with this new model.”
The Forester is, well, unmistakeably a Forester, an evolution of it predecessor though now longer and wider but five mm less tall, and with more cabin space and legroom. The rear split rear tail-lights have a more pronounced C-shape, the rear black cladding now extends higher.
Up front are broader diode headlights, a redesigned grille, and new foul-weather lights, along with new belly protection. The roof rails now have tie-down holes.
TWO WHEEL FINISHES
New alloy 17 and 18” wheels have been created in a choice of silver or gloss-blackhas also been created for the Forester, finished in silver or gloss black and three new colours – green metallic, blue pearl and crimson pearl.
”A high focus on comfort,” Subaru says, ”is emphasised with new materials on the door panels and centre console. Matching air vents and gear-shifter trim come along with new fabric or leather upholstery.”
Cargo capacity has grown to 520 litres with the seats in place, 1060 litres L rear seats folded.
Larger, squared-off, doors will facilitate easier passenger access and give easier installation of child seats – especially with the introduction of new non-slip sill steps.
READ MORE Subaru features on Carman’s Corner
Rear seat pockets can take tablet computers and USB ports are nearby.to include smartphones and tablets alike, a pair of USB ports for rear passengers match the two up front. Rear aircon is also standard.
Lazarus added: “The attention to detail and human comfort needs are a large part of what the new Forester is about. This vehicle has been designed with the customer in mind.”
The previous generation had five-star safety ratings from all of the most reputable agencies around the world and was rated highest by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 12 consecutive years. Subaru says the new model ”takes safety to a whole new level”.
The first global safety tests are done. The 2019 Forester is rated even safer than the outgoing model – it’s received the top rating from the Japan New Car Assessment Programme (JNCAP) preventive safety performance assessment.
Premium Forester models will have an EyeSight (see image) driver assistance safety system that earned JNCAP’s top safety rating.
In the event of a head-on, the engine will be pushed under the body. There are seven crash bags – two front , two side, two curtain and a driver’s knee bag.
The EyeSight tech, 30 years in development, works like a second pair of eyes on the road. Two cameras capture colour images from as far as 110m ahead to identify hazards and warn the driver.
‘SAFEST SUV IN CLASS’
The system also monitors cruise-control, following distance, lane drift and departure, and power reduction should a hazard vehicle be detected,
EyeSight is standard on the 2.0i-S ES and 2.0i-L ES models, though each is less than R500 000 – the safest mid-sized SUV in its class at that price, according to Subaru.
Foresters sold in SA will have a new direct-injection, four-cylinder, two-litre, horizontally-opposed Boxer engine capable of 115kW / 196Nm to spin a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive on all units. New fuel-consumption figures are 7.6 litres/100km, 13% less than the superseded range.
Off-road progress is managed by X-Mode (see image) and descent control across the range, a more advanced X-Mode in the premium model.
”The new Forester will conquer almost any road all at the turn of this new X-Mode selector dial,” Subaru says. ”This new version has a SNOW/DIRT mode for slippery surfaces. The other option is D. SNOW/MUD mode for especially treacherous surfaces.
Ground clearance is 220mm.
Standard across the range are high-res touchscreen infotainment with smartphone integration, Apply CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth control with switches to operate these on the steering-wheel as well as voice-command and four USB ports.
Also, standard are power windows, parking brake, and external mirrors; multi-function display; remote keyless entry; security system with engine immobiliser; power seat-adjustment
The high-spec version adds memory to the powered seats, nine-speaker Harmon Kardon audio, auto screen wipers, sunroof and a motorised tail door.
…AND SO TO THE PRICES
Subaru Forester 2.0i CVT (base-spec) – R429 000
Subaru Forester 2.0i-L ES CVT (medium-spec) – R469 000
Subaru Forester 2.0i-S ES CVT (high-spec) – R499 000
Each will be delivered with a five-year or 150 000km warranty and a three-year or 75 000km full maintenance plan, extendable to five years or 150 000km.