The new all-wheel-drive Subaru Forester will land in New Zealand later this year, longer, wider but not quite as tall as the outgoing model.
It is the third Subaru to be underpinned by the company’s new global platform, after the Impreza and XV. But it will be the first Subaru model to have a driver monitoring system.
The 2019 Forester is 4625mm long, 1815mm wide, and 1730mm tall. The outgoing Forester is 4595mm long, 1795mm wide and 1735mm tall. Ground clearance is the same, 220mm.
The new model’s 30mm of extra length corresponds to its wheelbase, which has also grown by 30mm to 2670mm, in turn opening up more legroom in the second row. The outgoing Forester’s wheelbase is 2640mm.
The latest Forester was unveiled at the New York motor show, along with its 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine, a direct-injection unit which Subaru claims is 90 per cent new.
It delivers 136kW/239Nm to all four-wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That’s 10kW/4Nm more than the current 2.5-litre powerplant available in NZ. The other engine choice for Forester here is a turbocharged 2.0-litre boxer, good for 177kW/350Nm.
The camera-based monitoring system can detect signs of drowsiness or distraction and alert the driver. It can also automatically adjust driver settings for seat position, door mirror angles, and air-conditioning preferences based on facial recognition for up to five drivers.
Subaru’s new air-conditioning system allows more precise settings, based on how many occupants are in the vehicle. Those in the front and rear will have access to USB charging ports, that can also make use of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto thanks to the new 8.0-inch infotainment screen with satellite navigation.
The Forester is yet to be crash tested, but with seven airbags and the company’s EyeSight monitoring system as standard across the entire range, a five-star rating is expected to be a formality. There are other safety features, too, including reverse autonomous emergency braking and rear vehicle detection.