The highly acclaimed Subaru Forester has been upgraded for the 2016 model year, enhancing the rock solid foundation on which the Forester has built its reputation. Arguably the genesis of the SUV, the new Forester has raised its game. It’s upped the ante on emotional appeal, refinement, functionality and dynamic ability. The great all-rounder is now even greater. Key upgrades and enhancements include a redesigned grille and headlight design for a more expressive stance, new 17-inch and 18-inch Alloy Wheels, updated cabin appointments including redesigned seats, high gloss black and chrome accents and detailing, improved graphics and visual ornamentation of the multi-function display an 8-speaker Harmon Kardon system is now standard on premium model.
The new Forester’s presence and emotional appeal has been emboldened with its smartly redesigned grille, bumper and headlights. The bumper has been widened and the fog lamp housing sports a new L-shaped chrome detail giving the car a robust yet sophisticated look. The hexagonal grille in a new chrome frame has reworked mesh design flanked by tweaked LED headlamps with the signature C-shaped daytime running lights continuing the ‘Hawk-Eye’ look for which a few of Subaru’s products are known.
Complementing the front headlamp revisions, the rear taillights also benefit from the use of LED’s in the fog lamps and stop lamps. Shaped in a similar C-motif as the front, the car casts an impressive stance.
The Forester also sports new 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 17-inch six-spoke wheels are designed with contrasting silver and black detailing. The range-topping, turbocharged 2.0XT LineartronicT CVT sports new ten-spoke 18-inchers, designed in a robust yet sporty black and silver contrast.
Where the brief for the exterior was to emphasise the Forester’s bold nature, the interior has been reworked to be classier and more functional. Step into the driver’s seat and you’ll immediately notice a new steering wheel design with silver applications on the three spokes of the multi-function wheel.
The colour TFT LCD instrument binnacle has had a makeover too with new graphics, new backlit colours, smoked glass in the middle display binnacle and reworked tachometer and speedometer needles.
Elsewhere in the cabin, particular attention has been paid to the areas that are most touched by customers, such as the door handles, centre stack grips and handbrake. All these areas have been upholstered with a more tactile material. On all models, the Multi-Mode trip computer is also upholstered in new material and surrounded with new silver stitching, complementing the new high gloss black and chrome panels found on the dashboard. This touch has also been applied to the front and rear cup holders.
The seats have been improved on all new Forester models with better leg bolstering than before. The fabric seats also benefit from a makeover with a new contrasting silver and black 3-D design. To improve convenience and functionality, the new Forester now features driver’s seat position memory, which stores the lateral position, backrest angle, and seat height settings for up to two individuals. There’s more convenience for passengers too as the Forester now adds Automatic open/close functionality to the front passenger power windows as well as illuminated vanity mirrors.
The result is a cabin that feels and looks better, but still retains a comfortable ambience with the impeccable all-round visibility and functionality that is synonymous with Forester.
Also awaiting Subaru Forester drivers is revised Information, Entertainment & Communication interface. Offered as standard on the new Forester as is the case on all new Subaru products is Siri Eyes-Free. This technology that works in conjunction with the already standard voice recognition system links a compatible Siri device and allows the driver to make use of Siri at the touch of a button located on the steering wheel. It’s a convenient and easy way to make use of your device without having to take your hands off the wheel. For those drivers without Siri-enabled devices, the Forester still allows hands-free interaction using the normal voice recognition to control the telephone, audio and climate control systems.
In a bid to improve ride comfort, a lot of work has been done on reducing cabin noise and vibrations. In key areas around the windows, more insulation has been applied and the window glass itself is now 0.5mm thicker. Noise-absorbing material has also been added to the floor, the rear apron, the trunk floor and the foot wells.
Front and rear suspension has also been optimised through tweaks of the damping force on the front and rear shock absorbers and the cross member stiffness.
The Forester is still available in five model variants in South Africa. First in line is the 2.0X 6-speed manual powered by a normally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine, producing 110 kW at 6 200 rpm and 198 Nm at 4 200 rpm.
Benefitting from a larger engine – a normally-aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer petrol unit which produces 126 kW at 5 800 rpm and 235 Nm at 4 100 rpm – the following three models, which are spread over X, XS and XS Premium trim levels, add further bolstering to the new Forester range with added value and specification.
All 2.5-litre models also feature LineartronicT CVT transmissions, resulting in the addition of X-Mode and two-mode SI-Drive to the list of standard features of the XS and XS Premium. Combined average fuel economy is 8.1-litres per 100 km.
The new Forester 2.5 XS Premium LineartronicT gains luxurious extras including a double-volume sunroof and leather upholstery, along with automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry and starting and a one-touch now-illuminated powered tailgate with remote control and an adjustable height setting.
Topping the new Forester chart is the all-new Forester 2.0 XT LineartronicT. Powered by a 177 kW and 350 Nm direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer petrol engine, this model brings exceptional and typically Subaru performance to the Forester range. The 0-100 km/h dash is completed in just 7.5 seconds and top speed is seen at 210 km/h. Despite the extra performance, fuel economy remains impressive at just 8.5-litres per 100 km on the combined average cycle.
The 2.0 XT LineartronicT stands out from the rest of the range not just by its enhanced specification, but with the new 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels mentioned above, a more aggressive and sporty front bumper and three modes for SI-DRIVE.