First introduced in 2014, the fourth-generation Subaru Forester is still pretty new. But Subaru is already looking to the future with a facelifted version slated for the Tokyo Motor Show. It might seem as though the automaker is rushing things a bit, but initially, the facelifted crossover will only be available in Japan, and the updates probably won’t reach the U.S. any earlier than the 2017 model year. At that point, the timing will be a bit closer to the norm, but the truth is, the Forester doesn’t really need help in the U.S. market. The model has experienced a sales boom in the past few years, and it’s still on an upward trajectory.

The updates aren’t extensive, but it’s entirely possible there will be a few more thrown in by the time the new model reaches our shores. The mechanical updates are subtle enough that it’s possible customers won’t even notice. However, Subaru does claim improved fuel efficiency for the naturally aspirated models. The downside is that the update doesn’t include an option for something other than a CVT for turbocharged models.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Subaru Forester.


2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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The exterior carries the same recognizable sheet metal as before, but with a few subtle changes. Starting from the front, the fascia has been altered to appear wider. This includes a new grille, but many of the updates are in the headlights, which have a U shape that is also repeated in the taillights. The headlights also come with Subaru’s first LED high/low beam setup, and the units are steering responsive as well. The wheels still come in the same 17- and 18-inch size options, but they have been redesigned for a new look and better aerodynamics.

There are a couple of new paint colors as well, including a Dark Blue Pearl and Sepia Bronze Metallic, both of which are a refreshing change of pace from the usual paint colors offered for family cars. The Forester has always been a reasonably good looking vehicle, at least since it stopped being an abnormally tall wagon and gave in to become a full-on crossover, and the updates give it a higher-end sort of a look. It’s still not actually exciting in any way, and you’d never mistake it for a luxury model, but for a mainstream crossover, it does its job well.


2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Interior
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2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Interior
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2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Interior
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Subaru upgraded the materials on the interior, but not in a huge way. The center armrest, center console and door grips all have new leather – a nice thing to have, but a minor detail in the end.

The instrument panel now has a color screen in the center, although it’s mostly used to display information relating to the various optional electronic driver’s aides. Subaru also improved the voice recognition feature for the navigation system. This will require you to option up to the Harmon Kardon stereo system, although it’s probably something you want anyway.


2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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Engine and transmissions options remain unchanged following the facelift. The engines are both four-cylinder boxers. Quite the rare thing these days, but it does keep the weight of the engine closer to the ground, lowering the center of gravity compared to most crossovers.

The entry-level engine is a 2.5-liter that produces 170 horsepower, while the other option is a turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 250 horsepower. Nearly all Foresters sold in North America will have a CVT. There is an available six-speed manual, but only for the base engine. The CVT’s software has had a going-over, and it will simulate an eight-speed transmission, but these simulations are never quite the same as the real thing.

The suspension and steering have been tweaked as well, and Subaru promises better handling. However, handling has always been a weak point of the Forester, and it would take a lot of improvement to get to where it should be. Subaru’s iconic AWD is still offered, and it remains one of the best systems around, especially in this price range.


2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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Electronic driver’s aides seem to have been the main focus for this facelift, and the new options make the Forester a leader in its segment. The new aides are part of the latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight suite and include Active Lane Keep, Pre-Collision Braking Control, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear-Cross-Traffic Alert. There are also cameras that detect motorists driving in the opposing lane and automatically adjust the headlights. On top of all of this, the Forester already has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.


Mazda CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Looking at the Forester, one might think a little bit of driving excitement is too much to ask in this segment. But that’s not necessarily the case, as the Mazda CX-5 offers enthusiast-level handling in a compact crossover package. The Mazda isn’t quite as powerful as the Forester, but it makes better use of the power it does have. It looks better than the Subaru too. The downside is that AWD is only available with the pricier of the two engines.

Read more about the Mazda CX-5 here.

Honda CR-V

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Considered to be more car-like than most of its competitors, the CR-V also offers better handling than the typical crossover. Styling is still pretty nondescript, but those in the market for a Forester will be used to that. The base engine is good, but there’s no option for something more powerful. AWD also costs extra, although the tradeoff is a high-quality interior.

Read more about the Honda CR-V here.


2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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The Forester might not be the vehicle that enthusiasts buy, but it is the one that they advise all of their friends with kids to buy. It might not offer a lot in the way of excitement or driving thrills, but it’s flawlessly practical and as useful as budget-minded family vehicles can get. That’s why it’s become so popular and will only gain in popularity. The updates for this refresh will surely be appreciated, but they aren’t game-changers, and the Forester’s practicality will continue to be its biggest selling point.

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    • Dull styling
    • Dull handling
    • No manual for the turbo engine
Jacob Joseph
Jacob Joseph
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Press Release

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, today announced an upgraded edition of the Subaru Forester in Japan. The model will be exhibited on October 28 at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 Press Day.

2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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The Forester has always been noted for the high degree of performance balance as an SUV. The latest upgrade advances this performance especially in the areas of design, driving enjoyment, and the utility and comfort expected of an SUV. Furthermore, the Forester’s safety performance, already among the world’s highest, has been bolstered by adopting the new EyeSight*1, an Advanced Safety Package*2 incorporating newly developed Adaptive Driving Beam headlights, and Subaru’s first LED high & low beam lights and Steering Responsive Headlights. This comprehensive upgrade in vehicle performance has raised the Forester to a new level, as a product that will brighten the lives of more customers than ever.

The exterior features a redesigned front face, for a sturdier, more SUV-like appearance that also hints at the advancements inside. The interior design befits the superior functionality of a true SUV and enhances the feeling of quality. For improved driving stability, the steering response has been made more linear by modifying the steering-gear ratio, giving the driver a greater feeling of direct control over vehicle movement. Suspension settings were optimized to offer a smooth and solid ride with quality feel.

Additionally, a more comfortable interior space was achieved by increasing door glass thickness, strengthening the sealing, and improving Lineartronic transmission. These and other measures result in less unwanted sounds.

Key Forester Upgrades

2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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 (1) Exterior

(a) Redesigned front face
The headlights, front grill, and front bumper*3 have a wider appearance highlighting the Subaru identity, and presenting a new front face with an advanced design that imparts a feeling of dependability.

(b) Newly designed rear combination lights
The rear combination lights adopt a sideways U-shaped motif similar to the headlights, for a sense of wideness. A lifting impression is created by concentrating the red lenses at the top, with an overall rear style befitting an SUV.

(c) Newly designed aluminum wheels
The 17-inch aluminum wheels employ a sleeker pattern to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. The 18-inch aluminum wheels adopted for the turbocharged model, have been given a new design characterized by muscular and dynamic form.

(d) New body color options
The new Forester is now available also in Dark Blue Pearl and Sepia Bronze Metallic color variations.

 (2) Interior

(a) Higher-quality appearance of interior finish
The look and feel of the instrument panel have been upgraded, adopting a combination decorative panel with silver frame and piano-black hues and adding metallic accents. The leather covering used for the instrument panel center tray and door grips, along with the toughness and excellent tactile sense, combine to create a high-quality, sporty look complementing the powerful feeling. (Excl. 2.0i)

(b) Color LCD multi-information display
The meter panel has a color LCD multi-information display in the center, clearly showing the status of EyeSight and Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) along with other information necessary for driving. (Excl. 2.0i)

2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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(c) SD navigation system supporting “Siri Eyes Free”
The Harman Kardon sound system and SD navigation system (manufacturer-installed options) support the “Siri Eyes Free” voice recognition function. Operations can be performed by pressing the Talk button on the steering wheel and issuing verbal instructions, enabling Siri services to be used more safely while driving, without taking the eyes off the road.*4 *5

(d) Rear seat heaters
Heaters with high/low settings are located on both sides of the rear seat. (Excl. 2.0i)

(e) Driver-side power seat memory function
The power seat on the driver’s side has a memory function that restores the optimal position at the touch of a switch.*6


 (1) EyeSight (ver. 3)
The latest EyeSight (ver. 3) represents a major evolution in advanced safety functions. The Active Lane Keep steering assistance system, as well as Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control, have been given performance upgrades, to provide leading-edge preventive safety technology.

 (2) Advanced Safety Package
A package of advanced functions further enhancing safety is offered as a manufacturer-installed option. Supplementing the EyeSight front detection function is a radar system for detecting vehicles in rear blind spots, supporting safer and more comfortable driving.

(a) Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection

・Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
Radar sensors detect vehicles in rear blind spots, and LED lights in the door mirror light up or flash* to urge driver caution.

・Lane Change Assist (LCA)
Radar sensors detect the rapid approach of vehicles from the rear in the next lane, and LED lights in the door mirror light up or flash* to urge driver caution.
*Both with BSD and LCA, when radar has detected a vehicle and the driver tries to change lane after using the indicator, LED lights in the door mirror flash to alert the driver of collision danger.

2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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・Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Radar sensors detect vehicles approaching from the right or left when backing up and, if there is deemed to be a risk of collision, alert the driver by flashing LED lights in the door mirror and by an audible warning.

(b) Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB)
EyeSight high-performance stereo cameras accurately detect the presence of vehicles ahead and in oncoming lanes, smoothly adjusting the range of the high beams in a continuous range by means of shields inside the headlights. ADB makes it possible to obtain plenty of visibility for safe, comfortable nighttime driving, without the need to worry about disturbing other drivers with high beams.

 (3) LED high & low beam lights and Steering Responsive Headlights
・Each headlight is equipped with a bifunctional projector mechanism that enables a single light to provide both high and low beams. Since LED projection is used also for high beams, night visibility is raised to a new level.
・Steering Responsive Headlights are adopted, which move the headlight beam axis right or left in response to steering wheel operations at corners and intersections. The direction in which the vehicle is moving is brightly illuminated, for improved night visibility.

 (4) Supplemental restraint system (SRS) side and curtain airbags standard on all grades
All grades are equipped with SRS side airbags and SRS curtain airbags, for greater passenger protection in case of an accident. (Excl. 2.0i)

3. Advances in Driving Enjoyment

 (1) Chassis

(a) Enhanced chassis performance
Greater front cross member rigidity and optimization of the rear trailing link bushings result in better steering responsiveness and straight-line stability, for more assured handling performance.

(b) Optimized suspension settings
By optimizing the shock absorber damping and the spring constant of coil springs, both the supple ride comfort and handling agility have been improved. Changes to the rod guide bushings and to the oil used to operate the front and rear shock absorbers result in more stable friction of moving parts while suppressing vibration. Initial roll performance has also been optimized. A comfortable ride with minimal vibration as well as outstanding handling stability have been achieved.

(c) Optimized steering-gear ratio
The steering-gear ratio has been changed from the earlier 15.5:1 to 14.0:1. The quicker ratio improves maneuverability and enhances the satisfaction of agile handling.

2017 Subaru Forester High Resolution Exterior
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(d) Active Torque Vectoring
The turbocharged model adopts Active Torque Vectoring for improved cornering lines.

 (2) Engine and transmission

(a) Improved fuel efficiency of naturally aspirated (NA) models
More efficient combustion and reduced friction in the NA engine improve fuel efficiency with no loss of snappy performance. In JC08 mode tests, fuel economy of 16.0 km/liter was achieved, making the new Forester eligible for the next higher level of Japan’s eco-car tax incentives (40% reduction in acquisition tax, 25% cut in tonnage tax, and 50% off the following year’s automobile tax).

(b) Auto-step shift control and close-ratio eight-speed shifting
The turbocharged model adopts auto-step shift control for direct and sporty acceleration. Moreover, in SI-DRIVE S# (Sport Sharp) mode, close-ratio eight-speed shifting makes for easier use of the power band in a sportier setting.

 (3) Improved quietness
Thicker door glass, stronger sealing, and improvements to Lineartronic transmission result in less unwanted sounds.

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