A grown-up compact crossover best suited for the familial grind and weekend adventures

First introduced in 1997, the Subaru Forester has seen a total of four generations come and go, with last SJ model arriving back in 2013. Now, Subaru is introducing a brand-new fifth generation at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, and it looks to offer customers a more comfortable cabin and a safer ride. Unfortunately, the Forester’s turbocharged variant, the XT, didn’t make the cut, and neither did the manual gearbox.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

left right
Most notably, the 2019 Forester is bigger than the outgoing model, which helps to substantially increase the available interior space.

The 2019 Subaru Forester will arrive in dealers later this year, offering customers a total of five separate trim levels to choose from. These include the standard base model, the Premium, the Limited, and the top-trim Touring, as well as the newly introduced Sport trim level.

Outside, you’ll find the latest design language, with a hexagonal grille up front, flared fenders in the sides, and underbody protection plates front and back. LED headlights are standard across the range, as are practicality-boosting roof rails. Trim can be had in either glossy black or silver finishes. The 2019 model year also tosses in new paint options, such as Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, and Crimson Red Pearl.

There are standard 17-inch steel wheels on the base model, which can be upgraded to alloys higher in the range.

2019 Subaru Forester Adds Size And Safety, Scraps Turbo And Manual Gearbox
- image 775815
There’s also an extra 1.4 cubic feet of cargo room out back, while the passenger doors and cargo hatch get larger openings.

Most notably, the 2019 Forester is bigger than the outgoing model, which helps to increase the available interior space with more rear legroom, more headroom, more hip room, and more shoulder room. There’s also an extra 1.4 cubic feet of cargo room out back, while the passenger doors and cargo hatch get larger openings. All told, the 2019 Forester is the roomiest Forester made yet. It’s also the quietest ever made thanks to a variety of noise/vibration/harshness (NVH) improvements.

Safety upgrades come courtesy of the latest EyeSight Driver Assist tech stuff. At the top of the line, the Touring model debuts Subaru’s new DriverFocus feature, which will notify the driver when it detects fatigue or distraction by using special facial recognition software.

Subaru considers distracted driving to be one of the biggest safety issues in the industry, so it makes sense to step into this space, even though the idea of an unblinking idea watching your every move while you drive could be considered a bit creepy. That said, the system is useful in other ways, as it can identify five individual drivers and automatically adjust the various cabin settings (seat position, climate preference, display, etc.) to match.

2019 Subaru Forester Adds Size And Safety, Scraps Turbo And Manual Gearbox
- image 775805
The Touring model debuts Subaru’s new DriverFocus feature, which will notify the driver when it detects fatigue or distraction by using special facial recognition software.

Other safety tech includes automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and much more.

Final interior details include new front seats offering improved comfort, standard automatic climate control, and connected features like concierge services and a remote engine start. There’s also a power-operated panoramic moonroof as standard higher in the range.

Motivation is provided by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine, which includes features such as automatic stop/start technology, as well as a standard Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), not to mention the Six-Star brand’s famous Symmetrical AWD system.

Engine highlights include direct fuel injection, a higher compression ration, and active valve control on the exhaust side. Output comes to 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, which is a bit more than outgoing model’s 170 horses and 174 pound-feet.

Meanwhile, the standard CVT offers improved acceleration, as well as a bit more efficiency, achieving upwards of 33 mpg on the highway. The Sport and Touring trim levels also include a manual shifting mode with a simulated seven-speed ratio set-up and paddle shifters. The standard SI-DRIVE system rounds it out with multiple drive modes.

2019 Subaru Forester Adds Size And Safety, Scraps Turbo And Manual Gearbox
- image 775799
Unfortunately, Subaru decided to bin the Forester XT model, which offered a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine for extra zest.

Unfortunately, Subaru decided to bin the Forester XT model, which offered a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine for extra zest. In its stead is the new Forester Sport model, which gets the standard 182-horsepower 2.5-liter as the rest of the line, but also adds a new glossy grille, black 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, and orange accents. Gray and orange are added to the interior as well. LED fog lights, High Beam Assist, heated front seats, and heated side-view mirrors round it out.

The 2019 Forester is built on the latest Subaru Global Platform for enhanced driving characteristics, reduced NVH, and additional crash protection - all good stuff, if you ask us. Helping it handle is standard Active Torque Vectoring technology taken from Subaru’s WRX and WRX STI models, while an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance gets you to trail head without issue.

While we lament the loss of the manual gearbox and turbo engine option, it’s a not a surprising move - after all, who buys a modern Forester for performance fun? Tell you what, Subaru: bring back the WRX wagon and all will be forgiven.

References

2015 - 2017 Subaru Forester Exterior
- image 543822

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Forester.

no article
- image 741040

Read more Subaru news.

no article
- image 769406

Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

Subaru of America Inc., debuted today the all-new 2019 Forester at the New York International Auto Show. The fifth generation of the best-selling SUV introduces the roomiest, most capable and most versatile Forester ever made and also features groundbreaking new safety technology.

The 2019 Forester is built on the Subaru Global Platform to deliver significantly higher levels of driving pleasure, agility, crash protection, ride comfort and quietness. Arriving at Subaru retailers later this year, the all-new Forester will be available in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and new Sport trim levels. All are powered by an enhanced direct-injection, 182 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder BOXER engine featuring Auto Stop/Start and paired with a standard Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). Also standard on all trim levels is Subaru’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

For 2019, all Foresters come standard with the award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. The top-of-line Touring debuts the segment-exclusive DriverFocus safety technology which offers yet another layer of safety and convenience for the driver. The system can alert the driver of fatigue or distraction while on the road as well as automatically adjust many driver settings at start-up.

Segment First DriverFocus Safety Technology
With DriverFocus, Subaru is taking on one of the biggest issues in the automotive industry; distracted driving. Each day in the United States, more than 1,000 people are injured in crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver. * As an industry leader in safety, Subaru has developed DriverFocus, a state-of-the-art system to help address distracted driving for both new and experienced drivers.

DriverFocus is a driver monitoring system that uses facial recognition software to identify signs of driver fatigue or driver distraction. DriverFocus works with Subaru’s award-winning EyeSight Driver Assist Technology to reduce the chance of an accident. And for added convenience, DriverFocus can also recognize up to five drivers and remember their presets for seat position, climate, multifunction display and more.

The all-new Forester is the first in its segment, and among the first vehicles in the industry to incorporate technology that can address the important societal issue of distracted driving. The feature will be standard on Touring models.

Added Power and Efficiency
All Foresters are powered by a new version of the 2.5-liter SUBARU BOXER four-cylinder engine, now with direct fuel injection and higher compression, along with active valve control system (AVCS) on the exhaust side. The new engine produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, versus 170 hp and 174 lb-ft in the previous Forester, for a boost in everyday performance and responsiveness.

The 2019 Forester comes standard with Lineartronic CVT. The new powertrain not only yields quicker acceleration than the previous Forester, but also up to 33 mpg highway fuel economy (manufacturer’s estimate, pending EPA certification). On Sport and Touring variants, the CVT features a manual mode that simulates a seven-speed manual transmission, using steering wheel paddle shift control switches.

Adding more flexibility for driving conditions, is a standard driver-selectable SI-DRIVE. SI-DRIVE is a powertrain performance management system that allows the driver to tailor the vehicle’s throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes (Sport Sharp on Forester Sport). “Intelligent” mode helps smooth out accelerator inputs for fuel saving, while “Sport” mode tunes the throttle to emphasize performance.

Signature Subaru Design
The 2019 Forester debuts a more rugged style that showcases Subaru’s new design language while retaining a strong family resemblance to the rest of the brand’s portfolio. The exterior has shoulder lines that follow around the pillars to emphasize height and strength. Prominent wheel arches emphasize the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system’s functionality. Front, side and rear underguards are standard on all models, with color finish according to trim line. New LED headlights are standard on all models and complement the brand’s signature hexagonal grille. High-gloss black or silver trim highlights the Forester’s premium appearance, accentuated by new colors such as Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl.

Forester’s new design brings added function. The wheelbase is increased to 105.1 in. from 103.9 in., with the gain benefitting rear seat legroom, which is now 39.4-in., a 1.4-in. increase. Gains in headroom, hip and shoulder room further bolster passenger comfort and a feeling of spaciousness in the cabin. Wider rear door openings and a steep C-pillar angle make ingress/egress and installing a child seat easier. All Forester models feature lower body side cladding, which helps protect against mud, rocks and other road debris.

The new Forester design maintains outstanding outward visibility, a hallmark of Subaru models. Strategically designed pillars and generous glass area ensure an excellent all-around view from inside, and all models feature a standard rear vision camera.

The 2019 Forester design increases cargo space to 76.1 cu. ft. with the 60:40 split rear seatbacks lowered, a gain of 1.4 cu. ft. The load floor sits flatter, and the cargo area’s squared-off shape has been further optimized for ease of carrying large objects. Notably, the rear gate opening maximum width is now 51.2-in. wide, a 5.3-in. increase over the previous model and up to 8-in. wider than on some competitive SUVs. For example, with the 2019 Forester, it will be possible to load a full-size golf bag sideways without tilting it. A power rear gate is standard on Limited and Touring trim levels and available as an option for Premium and Sport.

Roof rails, standard on all but the base model, allow for a number of Subaru Genuine Accessories for carrying items such as bicycles and kayaks. New tie-down hooks integrated into the rails, on Sport and Touring trims, allow ropes to be tied down more easily and securely.

New Forester Sport
Inspired by the needs of outdoor enthusiasts, the 2019 Forester Sport joins the line with unique appearance elements and specially enhanced standard equipment. A Sport grille with black gloss finish frame, black-finish 18-in. wheels and rear roof spoiler give Forester Sport a rugged look, while orange accents on the black underguards and roof rail mounts add a modern, youthful touch. The interior is a unique dark gray material with orange stitching and accents throughout that is exclusive to the Sport model.

The Forester Sport exclusively employs a version of Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) with Intelligent and Sport Sharp modes and the Lineartronic CVT features a seven-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle-shift control switches. Building on the standard equipment of the Forester Premium trim, the Sport also features a high-grade instrument panel combination meter and multi-function display, LED fog lights, High Beam Assist, exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start and PIN Code Access and the All-Weather Package (heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer).

A standard cargo area tray helps protect the interior. For added convenience when loading or unloading equipment at night, the Sport features a cargo area LED light with auto-off and a rear gate LED flood light that illuminates the area around the rear gate when it is opened.

Family comfort and quiet space
The roomiest Forester cabin yet is also the quietest, thanks to the Subaru Global Platform’s inherent resistance to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Road noise is significantly reduced and Subaru has worked to tune out certain frequencies to make conversation or listening to music at highway speeds more comfortable.

Forester’s interior has been designed for both greater passenger comfort and increased durability in everyday and recreational usage. New front seats, are constructed to enhance comfort on long drives. A new Electronic Parking Brake frees up console space by eliminating the traditional parking brake handle.

All Forester models now feature standard automatic climate control (dual-zone on Limited and Touring models), and the available heated front seats feature three-stage control versus two-stage before. The Touring trim adds new heated rear seats for 2019. Keyless Access with Push Button Start is standard on Sport, Limited and Touring trims and optional for Premium. In conjunction with this feature, SUBARU STARLINK® Connected Services now offers available Remote Engine Start via the MySubaru smartphone app. Climate controls can also be set on the app when Remote Engine Start is activated. Many other connected services such as Wi-Fi and concierge services are newly available on Forester for 2019 model year.

Numerous new details throughout the Forester reflect the Subaru brand’s meticulous study of real-world customer usage. The material used for the cargo area floor, sides and rear gate interior trim offer a textured surface to resist dirt. The robust material also resists scuffing, such as when carrying camping equipment or other outdoor gear, and is easily cleaned. PVC material used on the bottoms of the front seat backs likewise resists scuffing and the material is easily cleaned. Pockets on the front seatbacks are now divided to more easily organize items such as magazines and electronic devices.

Legendary Subaru Value Gets Even Better
The 2019 Forester is the best-equipped ever, with the standard model adding features such as EyeSight, LED headlights, Auto Start/Stop, SI-DRIVE Engine Performance management, Active Torque Vectoring, Automatic Climate Control, Electronic Parking Brake, Trailer Stability Assist and Welcome Lighting. A panoramic power moonroof is standard on Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring trims.

Each trim level adds more features and amenities, while maintaining all the vehicle’s rugged capability. The 2019 Touring is the most luxurious Forester ever, with standard and exclusive features including 10-way power driver’s seat, new 8-way power front passenger seat, new heated rear seats and heated steering wheel. Also new for 2019, the exterior mirrors have a two-position memory function synchronized to the driver’s seat position memory and in addition tilt downward when reverse gear is engaged, to aid in parking maneuvers. A new power rear lock button is available on the rear liftgate that will close and lock the gate and all doors on the vehicle.

Adventurous Spirit and Function
The 2019 Forester continues the model’s tradition of offering the optimal blend of SUV capability with car-like ride and handling with legendary Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. This key technology provides stable, secure driving for young families and all-around capability for outdoors enthusiasts. Subaru’s all-wheel drive system actively monitors acceleration, deceleration, cornering and traction to transfer power to the wheels with the best grip.

Active Torque Vectoring, first introduced on the brand’s iconic WRX ® and WRX STI® performance models, is also standard on all 2019 Foresters. The Forester base model features standard 17-in. steel wheels, while the Premium gets standard 17-in. alloy wheels. Sport, Limited and Touring models ride on 18-in. wheels with each trim featuring its own wheel design.

Forester offers a generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which is more than most competitors and allows for confident off-pavement driving. Yet, the 2019 Forester maintains an easy step-in height.

For handling difficult driving conditions such as snow or mud, Forester Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring come standard with driver-selectable X-Mode® with Hill Descent Control. When engaged, X-Mode optimizes control of the engine, transmission shift pattern, Active AWD front/rear clutch force, brakes and the Vehicle Dynamics Control system to optimize wheel control on slippery surfaces and steep inclines. New for 2019, the Sport, Limited and Touring models come standard with a dual-mode version of X-Mode that offers Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud modes for even more capability to go virtually wherever necessary.

Subaru Safety Throughout
The Forester’s new platform integrates the latest version of the Subaru ring-shaped reinforcement frame design, proven over nearly two decades to provide excellent occupant collision protection. All versions of the 2019 Forester come standard with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.

Other available driver-assist technologies include Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Reverse Automatic Braking can apply the vehicle’s brakes if an obstacle is detected while reversing.

Forester Sport, Limited and Touring include High Beam Assist, and Limited and Touring also add Steering Responsive Headlights. New for the 2019 Forester, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) now displays pressure for individual tires. New standard Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) utilizes yaw sensors to monitor trailer sway and then can brake individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and trailer.

A power locking fuel door is integrated into the new automatic power door lock/unlock system as standard. The system locks all doors, the rear gate and fuel door once the vehicle is driven over 13 mph, and the owner can set locking/unlocking preferences.

Inside, the Forester fills out its safety roster with the Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, standard front side pelvis/torso airbags and side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard seat coverage.

SUBARU STARLINK™ In-Vehicle Technology
The 2019 Forester offers the latest touchscreen SUBARU STARLINK multimedia systems with standard features including Apple CarPlay™, Android™ Auto and SiriusXM® services (subscription required) with Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming. Music, news, podcasts and much more can be enjoyed with standard Aha™, Pandora® and STARLINK app integration. A built-in, voice-activated navigation system powered by TomTom with an 8” high resolution touchscreen is also available. The standard Forester comes with the 6.5” Multimedia system, while higher trim levels feature the 8.0” Multimedia Plus and 8.0” Multimedia Navigation systems.

SUBARU STARLINK Connected Services now offers remote engine start (on models equipped with Keyless Access and Push-Button Start); concierge service; anti-theft vehicle immobilizer with flashing vehicle security lights; young driver safety functions including geofencing, speed alert and curfew; and firmware updates over the air.

Also available, the Safety Plus package offers SOS emergency assistance, enhanced roadside assistance, automatic collision notification, maintenance notifications, monthly vehicle health report, and diagnostic alerts. The Safety Plus & Security Plus upgrade package adds stolen vehicle recovery service, vehicle security alarm notification, remote lock/unlock, remote horn and lights and remote vehicle locator.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: