Subaru is marking the 25th anniversary of the Forester SUV by giving it a fresh look, new safety features and a choice of distinct body colours.
Since its debut in 1997, over 357,000 units of the Forester have been sold in Europe to establish itself as one of the best-sellers in the Japanese company’s line-up.
Visually, the new model adopts Subaru’s ‘Dynamic X Solid’ design philosophy, with this introducing a reworked front bumper, grille, headlight profile and driving light covers. ‘Cascade Green Silica’, ‘Brilliant Bronze Metallic’ and ‘Autumn Green Metallic’ make their debut, too.
Subaru says the latest Forester “continues the model’s tradition of offering car-like ride and handling with the capability of an SUV”. Combined with 220mm of ground clearance, permanent all-wheel drive improves traction on wet and slippery surfaces, while active torque vectoring aids cornering performance.
The four-wheel-drive system handles power from the Forester’s ‘E-Boxer’ powertrain. This consists of a direct-injection 2-litre, four-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor and allows for “smoother” acceleration that is now “30% more linear” than the previous model.
As part of the hybrid electric set-up, drivers can choose between three modes – ‘engine driving’, ‘electric driving’ and ‘motor assist driving’ – while ‘Intelligent’ and ‘Sport’ alter throttle responses.
Snow, dirt and deep snow and mud are handled by the car’s ‘X-Mode’ set-up which now automatically re-engages once the vehicle’s speed drops to 21mph or less. The Hill Descent Control function has been altered by engineers so that the brake releases once the accelerator is pressed before initiating itself again.
Improvements have been lavished on the Forester’s cabin, which is now available with an 8-inch multimedia screen with built-in sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
On the safety front, a ‘Driver Monitoring System’ alerts the driver of fatigue or distraction while on the road using facial recognition software. This also logs a set number of driver settings, including seat position, door mirror angles and air conditioning preferences.
A ’Pre-Collision Braking System’ is now standard and promises “expanded support for collision avoidance at intersections” which it achieves through Subaru’s fourth-generation ‘EyeSight Driver Assist’.
Using cameras positioned at the top of the windscreen that now have a wider field of view, these marshal the ‘Automatic Emergency Steering’ and adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and ‘Lane Departure Prevention’.