SUBARU FORESTER

Un­der the skin of the fifth­gen­er­a­tion SUV stal­wart

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

1. EV­ERY­THING HAS CHANGED

But at the same time, it’s stayed the same. Forester now sits on the Subaru Global Plat­form that first ap­peared un­der the cur­rent Im­preza and XV, and the rest of the car has been over­hauled to suit. It’s a big step for­ward, but Subaru hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bath­wa­ter. Much of what has made Forester ap­peal­ing in the past to a le­gion of buy­ers has car­ried over. It may be all-new, but there’s a like­able fa­mil­iar­ity about the fresh Forester.

2. IT’S GROWN

The Forester’s body is now 20mm wider and 15mm longer, and 30mm has been added to the wheel­base. This brings 20mm more room be­tween front oc­cu­pants’ shoul­ders, and 33mm more rear legroom – a lot con­sid­er­ing the old car was among the roomi­est in its class. Some body pan­els are alu­minium to mitigate weight gain; kerb weights rise by be­tween 15 and 25kg. Safety, re­fine­ment and han­dling ben­e­fit from 40 per­cent greater tor­sional rigid­ity.

3. SAY SAYONARA TO THE SNAIL

Subaru has had a re­think and ra­tio­nalised its line-up by cut­ting the old turbo-diesel and the XT’S turbo-petrol en­gine. Just one driv­e­train will be avail­able for the lo­cal launch; a new 2.5-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated flat-four pro­duc­ing 136kw and 239Nm. That’s 10kw/4nm more than the out­go­ing atmo unit, and fuel ef­fi­ciency should im­prove on that en­gine’s 8.1L/100km claim thanks to di­rect in­jec­tion and a Subaru-first thermo con­trol valve that helps reach op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture more quickly. The boxer still needs revs to reach its peak num­bers. Full power ar­rives at 5800rpm and max­i­mum torque sits at 4400rpm, and driv­ing at those up­per reaches brings out a lot of un­wanted chain whine from the CVT de­spite claimed im­prove­ments in that depart­ment. Subaru has widened the range of the trans­mis­sion and given it seven ra­tio steps that can be se­lected with pad­dle shifters. It’s an ad­e­quate driv­e­train for pot­ter­ing about at low speeds, but some will long for the torque of the out­go­ing turbo en­gines. A mild hy­brid vari­ant with a smaller 2.0-litre en­gine and 48v tech­nol­ogy is ex­pected to join the range in 2019.

4. NOT SCARED TO GET DIRTY

A vari­able ra­tio steer­ing rack of­fers more im­me­di­ate re­sponse as lock is twirled on. Beyond a quar­ter of a turn the weight­ing is heavy, and though vari­able racks aren’t al­ways de­sir­able, our quick test sug­gested the new model hasn’t lost the old car’s fluid han­dling. A new mud and snow set­ting for Forester’s X-mode sys­tem ups al­ready re­spectable of­froad abil­ity, which ben­e­fits from a hill-de­scent con­trol sys­tem. With 220mm of ground clear­ance it ri­vals most dual-cab utes.

5. STAY GLASSY

Forester’s trade­mark high roofline and low belt­line are re­tained, mean­ing tall win­dows with nar­row pil­lars for an airy cabin feel and ex­cel­lent out­ward vis­i­bil­ity. In­side is where the big­gest changes are. The use of hard plas­tics has been min­imised and touch­points are notably plusher. Ma­jor con­trols are log­i­cally laid out, though the wheel is still busy with 17 but­tons on its spokes. Tex­tured new ma­te­ri­als el­e­vate the look while pre­serv­ing a hard-wear­ing feel.

6. IT’S WATCH­ING YOU

Subaru’s Driver Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem uses a small cam­era, hid­den in the dash­board, linked to a pro­gram that can recog­nise the faces of up to five driv­ers and au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just seat and mir­ror po­si­tions, cli­mate con­trol set­tings and pre­ferred dis­play con­fig­u­ra­tions based on stored pref­er­ences. And it works im­pres­sively quickly when a new driver gets into the car. It can also check for signs of drowsi­ness or dis­trac­tion and alert the driver.

7. BOOSTED BOOT

The boot aper­ture has been widened to a gen­er­ous 1300mm, and the elec­tric tail­gate has been sped up to ad­dress any frus­tra­tion the slug-like oper­a­tion may have caused pre­vi­ously. There are bag hooks, a 12V socket and rear seat­back re­leases in the wider and longer cargo area that still houses a full-size spare and now holds 520L, which is more than most ri­vals.

REAR OC­CU­PANTS BEN­E­FIT FROM 20MM-WIDER BODY AND 30MM-LONGER WHEEL­BASE. GEN­ER­OUS GLASSHOUSE PRO­VIDES GOOD VIEW AND LIGHT INTO CABIN, AND 90-DE­GREE-OPEN­ING DOORS OF­FER EASY EN­TRY AND A STEP FOR ROOF AC­CESS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.