Subaru has unveiled the new fifth generation of the Forester crossover at the New York International Auto Show. The 2019 Subaru Forester is based on the new Subaru Global Platform and showcases DriverFocus, a distracted driving prevention technology.
Also key to the new announcements for the 2019 Forester is Subaru's plan to make its EyeSight advanced safety and driver's aid system standard equipment on all Forester models. This includes the base model Forester through the four trim levels to the new Sport trim level. Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive also remains standard on the Forester.
The 2019 Subaru Forester is powered by an updated 2.5-liter four-cylinder opposed-piston engine (BOXER) that produces 182 horsepower (136 kW) and 176 pound-feet (239 Nm) of torque, a boost of 12 hp and 2 lb-ft from the 2018 model year. This is achieved through direct fuel injection and a higher compression ratio for the engine. Active valve control for the exhaust has also been added, improving efficiency.
The new-generation 2.5L is connected to a reprogrammed continuously variable transmission (CVT) for better power delivery and fuel economy. The CVT-equipped 2019 Forester is expected to get up to 33 mpg (7.1 l/100km) on the highway. Subaru has not yet published official EPA-certified fuel economy figures. The Sport and Touring trims of the 2019 Forester will feature manual-mode paddle shifters on the steering wheel which cause the CVT to cycle through seven simulated gears.
Much of the focus for the new 2019 Subaru Forester is on the inclusion of the company's EyeSight safety and driver convenience system. This provides 3D camera-based adaptive cruise control, lane departure/sway warning, pre-collision automated braking and throttle management, and lane keeping assist. Other systems, such as reverse automatic braking and blind spot detection are optional or available in packages for the Forester.
New for the 2019 Forester is a DriverFocus system Subaru has developed to prevent distracted driving. This driver monitoring system uses facial recognition software to identify driver fatigue or distraction, and integrates with the EyeSight software to alert the driver and avoid accidents. The system can recognize up to five drivers and add convenience such as preset seat positions, preferred climate settings, customizations for the multifunction display, and more. This new system is standard in the 2019 Forester Touring model.
The exterior of the 2019 Subaru Forester features a new design that is more rugged and contemporary to the segment. We see elements of other best-selling crossover-SUVs in the segment in the new Forester's design, though, and aren't terribly impressed with its generally "us too" look. Subaru has not really been known to get excited about exterior designs and this new Forester really emphasizes that point.
Inside, though, the 2019 Forester has lots of goodness. In keeping with the Subaru philosophy of "get out and do things," the interior of the Forester is somewhat spartan-appearing and utilitarian, but doesn't seem to be skimping on comfort points. The cabin is roomy and, Subaru says, has more noise, vibration and harshness dampening throughout.
Automatic climate control is now standard in all models of the Forester, and heated rear seating is now available on the Touring model. Subaru Starlink connected services are now available on most trims with upgraded infotainment and includes the new MySubaru smartphone app for remote access to the vehicle's climate and ignition. Wi-Fi and concierge services are also now available for the Forester for the first time.
New for the 2019 model year is a Forester Sport model. This trim point changes many aspects of the Forester to make it more fitting for faster-paced lifestyles, Subaru says. The grille has a black gloss frame and the rear roof spoiler and 18-inch wheels are also blacked to match. Orange accents, black underguards, and black roof rail mounts are also there to denote the Sport status of the Forester Sport. The interior is dark gray with orange stitching and other orange accents for the Sport model.
What's really changed is the driving modes for the 2019 Forester Sport, which offer Sport Sharp modes to enhance throttle response and transmission changes for a more dynamic drive quality.
The new 2019 Subaru Forester will go on sale later this year.
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