Forester stays true, with ex­tras

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Neil Dowl­ing

No par­ent is ex­empt from the hand­wring­ing tor­ture of bring­ing a new gen­er­a­tion into the world and hop­ing they live long and en­joy life while suc­cess­fully car­ry­ing on the fam­ily name.

It’s even harder in a fam­ily with a lin­eage of re­spectabil­ity and suc­cess.

No won­der Subaru was at pains to en­sure its fifth-gen­er­a­tion Forester stretched above the heights of its pre­de­ces­sors and stood ready to stamp its name firmly in the com­pet­i­tive mid-size SUV fra­ter­nity.

The new Forester won’t ar­rive un­til Septem­ber but we sam­pled it on its home ground, along­side the heav­ily wooded hills shad­owed by Mt Fuji in on-road and off-road con­di­tions.

It’s a sig­nif­i­cant step up in tech­nol­ogy.

There are very few shared com­po­nents, with the cur­rent model look­ing re­mark­ably sim­i­lar.

Subaru Aus­tralia boss Colin Christie said it was de­lib­er­ate, not­ing the al­most 250,000 Aus­tralians who pur­chased an amaz­ing onequar­ter of all the Foresters ever made by Subaru since its in­tro­duc­tion decades ago, still want dura­bil­ity, ef­fi­ciency, ca­pa­bil­ity, com­fort and space.

The new­bie stays true to its fore­bears and then adds new things, such as a big step up in safety.

Ev­ery model gets au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and there is the new Driver Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem for the mid and top-spec vari­ants which uses fa­cial recog­ni­tion to au­to­mat­i­cally set up the car for you (or four other fam­ily mem­bers).

DMS no­tices if you be­come dis­tracted (in­clud­ing yawn­ing, look­ing else­where or play­ing with your phone) and au­di­bly warns you to pay at­ten­tion.

There are other changes. There’s only one en­gine, an all-new 2.5-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion unit bor­row­ing some tech from the Subaru BRZ coupe.

It’s more pow­er­ful, claims to be more eco­nom­i­cal and meets Subaru’s claims of be­ing qui­eter, smoother and ac­tu­ally a pleas­antly fun en­gine to punt around.

The CVT au­to­matic re­mains but has also been re­tuned so it’s smoother and gets the power down to all wheels in a qui­eter, quicker and more eco­nom­i­cal man­ner.

There’s an even more ca­pa­ble X-Mode off-road sys­tem which can be di­alled up to suit vary­ing de­grees of off-road dif­fi­culty.

Sus­pen­sion tun­ing cre­ates a bet­ter ride and steer­ing tweaks have picked up some al­most sporty man­ners.

Phys­i­cally, the wagon is 15mm longer and has a big­ger lug­gage area and rear seat leg room, thanks to the wheel­base grow­ing 30mm.

The car uses the same plat­form as the Im­preza and XV which brings im­prove­ments in rigid­ity to aid han­dling and re­duce body flex­i­bil­ity. It hasn’t com­pro­mised the Forester’s off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, with the ground clear­ance re­main­ing at a re­spectable 220mm and with steeper ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles.

In adopt­ing the new chas­sis, the Forester has put on only about 25kg in weight, which is sig­nif­i­cant, con­sid­er­ing the up­graded safety com­po­nents, big­ger en­gine and the ex­tra di­men­sions.

The much wider boot open­ing is im­pres­sive and makes the wagon more adapt­able to swal­low­ing the fam­ily gear.

Cargo space is also much im­proved — up 76 litres to 498 litres with the rear seats up.

Your lo­cal Subaru dealer is Al­bany Au­tos, 9841 4555.

The fifth-gen­er­a­tion Forester looks re­mark­ably sim­i­lar to its pre­de­ces­sors.

The dash­board has been up­graded to in­clude new tech­nol­ogy.

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