Motoring News

2021 brings more power, more tech, to Subaru Forester

  • More powerful 2.5-litre Boxer engine added
  • New Sport derivative adds distinctive styling and added practicality
  • The latest generation of Subaru EyeSight Driver Assistance

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A quarter-century has passed since the Subaru Forester joined the world’s utility vehicle market; to become the best-seller in the brands model catalogue.

The first of two new flagships for 2021 is the Forester 2.5i Sport ES CVT, said to be a new derivative intended for buyers seeking a practical, yet sporty, set of wheels with all the brand’s power and athleticism.

Subaru SA’s Nteo Nkoli told The Corner in a media release: ”The introduction of the 2.5 units and the Sport model is very important to us because it gives customers more options and a more personalised experience.

2021 SUBARU FORESTER. Image: Supplied

”These long-awaited models are what many of our customers have been asking for – vehicles that suit a particular lifestyle.”

The SUVs have a new direct-injection, 2.5-litre, Boxer engine and a light Lineartronic constantly variable auto transmission with manual shift paddles on the steering column. The engine can make 136kW – 21kW more than the two-litre engine. Maximum torque is 239Nm – up by 43Nm over the two-litre.

In Sport mode, the 2.5 Forester will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 9.3sec yet claims to be as fuel-efficient as the two-litre model at 7.6litres/100km.


Subaru claims the brand is synonymous with safety and agility, a reputation built across the extremes of rallying and their safety ratings through decades of crash testing. Standard across the Subaru range is the company’s ”symmetrical all-wheel drive” intended to benefit safety, agility, and control – right down to the entry-level models.

”No matter the road conditions,” Subaru says, ”the drivetrain combination will deliver confident and well-balanced drive even under extreme corrective actions taken by the driver. The Forester is exceptionally stable – partly because of a control system that uses a number of traction and torque controls.”

The new Forester range also has X-Mode and gradient descent control that uses gears and torque to deliver power to individual wheels offering the best grip.”


”In a nutshell,” the automaker says, ”it gets you up and over, into and out of, tough terrain using two driver-selectable programmes’- ‘Snow/gravel for slippery or loose surfaces and ‘D.Snow/mud for even worse ground – gradient-descent control works as soon as any of these modes are activated, keeping a smooth rein on downhill speed.”

Ground clearance is 220mm.

Evolutionary changes include Hawkeye’ diode headlights, a large grille, fog lights, and underguard protection for off-roading. The roof rails now have tiedown holes for extra security.

The base 2.0i-CVT has 17” alloy wheel rims; the 2.0i-S ES and 2.5i-S ES 18-inch and body colours can be chosen from green metallic, blue pearl, black, white pearl, silver or dark-grey metallic, red pearl, or bronze metallic.


”The designers,” Subaru says, ”have placed a high value on comfort and cabin layout. The wide-opening rear doors are unlike any other in the segment to allow easy access for a child-seat, especially with the slip-resistant sill steps.”

Other rear convenience features include seat-pockets for smartphones and tablets, two USB ports, and new air-con ventilation.

The tail has a wide-opening, power-operated door and a low sill to access to the 520-litre rubberised boot – increasing to 1770 litres by flipping the switches either from the side of the boot opening panel or on top of the seat backs.

The S and ES Foresters include a 20cm touchscreen info system that can handle AUX, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto. ES and Sport units add power to adjust the front seats, auto aircon, a sunroof, and auto wipers.


The Forester 2.5i-Sport is a new model that includes distinctive orange and black trim. The grille, bumper elements, sills, wheel-arches, rear bumpers and the top section of the boot lid each have orange accents and the Sport version rides on 18” Dark Metallic alloy wheel rims.

Five body colours available: white or blue pearl, grey or silver metallic and black.

Nteo Nkoli again: ”The Forester Sport is a reflection of the adventurous ethos at Subaru and it certainly enhances the line-up with its sporty character and stand out design elements.”


The engine and gearbox are designed to be pushed under the vehicle during a frontal collision and the cabin is equipped with seven crash-mitigation bags – two front , two side, two side-curtains and a seventh for the driver’s knees.

The driver gets an all-round all-round view thanks to thinner A-pillars, and larger rear glass. An automatic mirror tilt-down functions when the driver engages reverse to benefit blind-spots while reversing and parking. There’s also a number of cameras, pre-impact mitigation, lane-keeping and cruise control.

Cruise control is available to way past the national speed limit and driving on steep gradients will be made easier with hill-hold.

The Auto Vehicle Hold (AVH) function is a smarter feature that replaces the previous Hill Start Assist function and holds the vehicle on all road gradients, not only inclines; sensors will halt the vehicle if an object is detected while reversing.

Nteo Nkoli told The Corner: ”The whole system is called EyeSight and takes road safety to the next level – it’s standard on all but one of the Forester range.”

This Forester has scored a five-star safety rating across from all global ratings agencies.


Subaru Forester 2.0i-CVT – R486 000

Subaru Forester 2.0i-S ES CVT – R564 000

Subaru Forester 2.5i Sport ES CVT – R599 000

Subaru Forester 2.5i-S ES CVT – R629 000

Each Subaru Forester model will be delivered with a three-year or 75 000km* maintenance plan as well as a five-year or 150 000km* warranty.

*Whichever comes first.

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