23 July 2018 · Article

Form Follows Function in Subaru’s 2019 Forester

Subaru has traded potency for efficiency with the fifth-generation 2019 Forester, axing its turbocharged and diesel models for an SUV that combines practicality and functionality in a package with all the fundamentals drivers have asked for in a Sports Utility Vehicle.

A New Vehicle Platform

The company has made it clear that its new Subaru Global Platform is prioritizing hybrid and electric engines, and it’s not a random or thoughtless decision, but rather one based on market demand. Particularly in Australia and other key markets such as the USA and Europe, a lack of demand for diesel and turbocharged SUVs show that motorists are looked for economical, productive but still powerful SUVs.

The non-turbo model of the current Forester made up nearly 90% of sales in Australia, while the diesel model accounted for only 17% of sales in the Forester range (with that number having dropped consistently over the last year).

That’s why Subaru is focusing on petrol and petrol-electric hybrids, both of which will be offered in the 2019 Forester. It’s an example of how the company continually reinvents itself to meet demand in the Australian market.

Two Subaru Forester Models Expected

The 2019 Forester is expected to come in two models – one with a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, as well as a petrol-electric hybrid that combines Subaru’s renowned Boxer engine with a lithium-ion battery setup. The new Subaru Global Platform, which will underpin all future Subaru vehicles, is tailored to cater to hybrid and electrified engines with very little modification, while also providing higher rigidity, enhanced strength, less weight, better rolling resistance and more responsive steering.

Improvements in suspension also promises a more comfortable, quiet cabin by reducing unpleasant vibrations and noise for a driving experience ideal for families and long trips in any environment.

The 2019 Subaru Forester has been carefully constructed to provide the ultimate SUV that drivers demand. It’s slightly larger than the previous model, measuring 4,625mm in length, 1,815mm wide and sits 1,730mm high, with a ground clearance of 220mm, making it comfortable tackling urban environments or going on a trip off the beaten path.

Power, Fuel Efficiency and Drivetrain Improvements

The 2.5 litre petrol engine is almost entirely new for the company, and packs 136kW of power and 239nM of torque (up from 2018’s 126kW of power and 235Nm of torque), which is sent to all four wheels via Subaru’s world-famous All Wheel Drive system and Continuously-Variable Transmission (CVT). The 2.5 litre model is expected to make a splash this September.

Within the next year, Subaru will debut the 2.0 litre hybrid version of the 2019 Forester, which will combine the direct-injection engine with a CVT gearbox and the lithium-ion battery back under the cargo floor. That model is expected provide a power output of about 115kW, with significant savings in fuel efficiency. According to reports, fuel use could be less than 5.0 litres per 100 km for the hybrid model.

That’s in comparison to about 7.0 litres per 100 km for the 2.5 Forester, making it a solid choice for drivers who are looking for practicality while still packing a punch. The tentatively named Forester ‘e-Boxer’ runs purely on electric power on low speeds and under low throttle inputs. The petrol engine and battery pack work in concert to give the drivetrain greater power, and the batteries are continuously recharged by capturing wasted kinetic/brake energy.

Upgraded Exterior and Interior

The cargo floor is only slightly higher than the 2.5 Forester, and the model provides more than 500L of space in total, showing that consumers don’t have to sacrifice comfort and space for electrification.

Both models of the 2019 Forester will see an updated exterior and interior. The exterior has not received a massive overhaul, sporting a similar rugged, no-nonsense almost boxy appearance that makes it look like it was made for adventure. Subaru touts the 2019 Forester as having wider rear door openings as well as an elevated C-pillar angle that will make it easier and more comfortable for rear occupants to hop in and out of the vehicle.

A larger wheelbase (2,670 mm versus 2,640 in the 2018 model) will provide more legroom and headroom for rear occupants. Overall, the 2019 Forester is the roomiest model yet, with a total boot space of 520L. Even with a sunroof on higher spec models, there’s easily enough space for people up to 200 cm tall, while the doors open wider (almost 90 degrees).

The 2019 Forester comes with a new electric tailgate that is faster and more responsive, and Subaru has made it easier to load long and wide cargo with four bag hooks, switches in the sidewalls to drop the back seats flat as well as storage nooks in the back.

Comfortable and Functional

Subaru has worked hard to make the 2019 Forester interior not just comfortable, but functional to the extreme. USB charging ports have been fitted to both the front and rear of the vehicle, and the vehicle is equipped with an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with satellite navigation that can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Even the air-conditioning controls have been updated to allow for more precise settings that takes into account the number of occupants in the vehicle. Other new features include the Driver Monitoring System, which uses facial recognition to return the temperature, exterior mirror height and memory seat position to your preferred preference (with the ability to save five different profiles).

Subaru’s highly-lauded EyeSight monitoring system comes standard across all models, and includes autonomous emergency braking, rear vehicle detection and front and side-view monitors. Depending on the vehicle trim, there are also options for active cruise control, lane assist and blind-spot monitoring. A total of seven airbags equipped in the driver’s seat, front passenger seat, SRS knee airbag for the driver, side airbags as well as side curtain airbags makes the 2019 Forester one of the safest crossover SUVs on the market.

Although Subaru has declined to offer a turbocharged Forester XT in 2019, its engine is more than capable of handling whatever you throw at it. It’s smooth and responsive in any terrain, with no clunks or hesitations, making it the ideal family SUV. Reynella Subaru expects the 2019 Forester to come in Premium, Limited, Touring and Sport trims, ensuring motorists will be able to find the perfect 2019 Forester to meet their day to day needs.