Subaru introduces all-new Forester

Taichung, Taiwan — It may look uncannily like its predecessor, but Subaru officials go on detail how different — and new — the 2019 Forester is compared to the outgoing model. 

Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles across eight countries in Asia, has launched the all-new Forester in this Taiwanese resort city. It will reach Philippine shores in January 2019.  

Familiar looks aside, the Forester has been reengineered, reimagined and redesigned to include a host of enhanced features, resulting in a balance of easy, confident handling and a spacious, comfortable interior.

Safety continues to be a priority with the inclusion of a strong suite of active safety features, as part of the Subaru Core Technologies, namely: Subaru Global Platform, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Boxer Engine, and the very new EyeSight Driver Assist technology. 

“The all-new Forester is now bigger and better with an all-round enhancement to its technology, interior and exterior to create an SUV that boasts performance, comfort and maximum safety,” said Glenn Tan, managing director, Tan Chong International Ltd. “We are thrilled to launch the new fifth-generation Forester and are confident that the model will excite drivers and create amazing experiences with their loved ones.”

The new Forester will be available in four models, the Forester 2.0 i-S and the 2.0 i-L without EyeSight, and those two models with EyeSight.  

Tan Chong International Ltd. managing director Glenn Tan (right) and Motor Image Pilipinas’ GM Gerry Hernandez field questions from the media during the executive interview.

Outstanding drivability and technology

The brand’s iconic Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive feature delivers power to each wheel to provide maximum traction and control. The Forester is powered by a 2.0-liter normally aspirated direct-injection boxer engine. The turbocharged XT variant won’t make it for the new model’s debut, but you never know when it will make an appearance. Driving enjoyment has also been enhanced through a new seven-speed (in manual mode) Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). 

Also incorporated into the new Forester is the Subaru Global Platform — a redesigned chassis. The Subaru Global Platform offers a safer, smoother driving experience by delivering less shake and body roll while also significantly reducing road noise.

Subaru was confident enough to pit the new Forester against its rivals, the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5. The current

The Forester also comes with X-MODE function, which enhances driving performance on challenging terrain through optimized integrated control of the engine, all-wheel drive, brakes and other functions. Drivers can activate X-MODE via a new dial switch to transition from Normal to Dirt to Snow and Mud.

The handling of the Forester is further enhanced with active torque vectoring, which enables drivers to control their vehicle exactly as intended, for outstanding cornering and stable hazard avoidance. Precise handling is enabled by applying brakes to the inner wheels which in turn distributes more torque to the outer wheels during sharp turns.

The author testing the Forester and its rivals at the test track

High-end safety features

The new Forester is equipped with award-winning safety features. A new feature on the Forester is EyeSight, an advanced driver assist technology that includes automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure and lane sway warning.

In addition, features such as Auto Vehicle Hold and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection (SRVD) are also available on the new model. Auto Vehicle Hold works to reduce driver fatigue by keeping the vehicle still when the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal while the vehicle is stopped. SRVD uses radar sensors installed on the rear of the vehicle to detect objects and vehicles behind and alerts the driver with its three main functions: blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. Visual indicators light up if a vehicle in the blind spot is detected. When signaling a lane change, the system alerts the driver if the vehicle in the neighboring lane is approaching. Peripheral visibility is also enhanced with reverse linked tilt down door mirror, which makes it more convenient for checking blind spots around rear tires for worry-free reversing.

EyeSight technology automatically brakes or stops the car when it approaches an object and the driver fails to slow down or step on the brake

Safety is further enhanced by the excellent high eye-level view and careful optimization of the shape of the pillars to help reduce blind spots and provide outstanding visibility.

Versatility and luxurious space

The new Forester offers excellent road clearance with a generous ground clearance of 220mm. The spaciousness of the all-new interior is enhanced by the replacement of the traditional parking brake lever with a new electronic parking brake switch that opens up more space on the center console.

The new Forester also introduces redefined interior features such as divided seatback pockets, USB charging ports and air-conditioning vents behind the center console, bringing a more luxurious riding experience for the passengers. The instrument panel also comes with a high-grade multifunction display.

Hill Descent Control gives drivers greater peace of mind by automatically maintaining low speeds on downhill slopes.

The new model will also come with added rear leg room, as well as an increased cargo room with wider rear gate opening. The availability of the power rear gate allows opening, closing and locking of the entire vehicle with just the touch of a button.

Built to last, the new Forester uses extensive high-strength steel that delivers durability and rigidity. The ruggedness of the SUV is further underscored with the raised body, claddings and underguard, coupled with well-defined fenders with prominent protrusions. The updated design pays homage to the model’s earlier predecessor — hence, the resemblance —with subtle updates on the grille, h eadlights and tail lights for added sophistication.

No prices have been announced, although Motor Image officials say that the new Forester shouldn’t cost much higher than the current one.

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