In the markets handled by Motor Image, the fifth generation Subaru Forester was first launched in August 2018 in Taiwan. It has now made its way to Malaysia with three variants on offer i.e. 2.0i-L, 2.0i-S and 2.0i-S EyeSight; priced at RM139,788, RM149,788 and RM159,788 respectively. The Forester is covered by a five year / 100,000 km warranty.
Unlike its predecessor, this new Forester comes from the newly established Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) Ltd plant near Bangkok which adheres to the same strict standards as in Japan, and uses robots for more precision in the assembly.
Though it sports similar shape and appearance of the previous model, this is actually an all-new vehicle on the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP). The SGP is a redesigned chassis that reduces vibrations and road noise, and provides for better handling. The re-engineering of this new generation includes a wheelbase that is 30 mm longer (2,670 mm) that now offers 33 mm more rear legroom. The body is also 30 mm longer (4,625 mm) and 20 mm wider (1,815 mm) than before; height is shaved by 5 mm (1,730 mm). Ground clearance is a comfortable 220 mm, which is helpful in most of our floods. Rear boot space has also grown by 251 litres to 1,775 litres now.
Power to the four wheels is generated by the 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine with 156 PS and 196 Nm of torque, which is prioritised for fuel efficiency. The power is transferred via a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven speed manual mode.
The four wheels (17″ for the lowest variant; 18″ for the latter two) are controlled by the Active Torque Split All-Wheel-Drive System, and all three variants come standard with Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), X-Mode, Hill Descent Control, Auto Vehicle Hold, Active Torque Vectoring, Vehicle Dynamics Control System, and Towing Vehicle Dynamics Control System. Further, the two S variants get a dual-mode X-Mode which includes settings for Deep Snow / Mud, and Snow / Dirt.
For those who care about these things, the Forester has an approach angle of 20.2°, a departure angle of 25.8° and a break-over angle of 21.5°.
Also standard across all variants are power windows (front windows have auto up/down and pinch protection), keyless entry, push button start, PIN code access, one-touch lane change signal, three 12V power outlets, retractable cargo cover, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, 8-way powered front seats, reclining rear seats with one-touch folding switch, pop-up headlamp washer, rain-sensing wipers, roof spoiler, shark fin antenna, dual zone climate control, rear ventilation system, 8″ display with navigation, six speakers, Bluetooth, three USB ports, rear view camera, paddle shifters, and cruise control.
Standard safety includes front airbags, front side airbags, curtain airbags, knee airbag, Brake Assist, ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Override, ISOFIX and childproof rear door locks.
Both 2.0i-S variants also get steering responsive LED headlamps with auto leveling, LED fog lamps, silver plated front and rear underguards, roof rails with loop holes, and powered tailgate.
The 2.0i-S EyeSight sits at the top of the Forester range and gets Subaru’s suite of driver assist technology which make use of a pair of colour stereo cameras for accident prevention (Pre-Collision Braking, Pre-Collision Throttle Management), and driving assistance (Adaptive Cruise Control, Lead Vehicle Start Alert, Lane Departure and Lane Sway Warning). This variant also gets the Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection to cover rear blind spots, and Side View Monitor for manouevering tight spaces.
“The all-new Forester is bigger and better, both inside and out. This is the first Forester that incorporates all of Subaru’s four core technologies, which means a safer, more comfortable and enjoyable driving experience for drivers and passengers. With EyeSight, the journey is safer and less stressful,” said Glenn Tan, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Chong International Ltd.
We had sampled the new Forester on a karting track and did some light off-roading as well at the regional launch in Taiwan, and it was evident that this new offering from Subaru displayed significant improvements in terms of ride, handling, and noise suppression.