Redesigned Forester comes loaded with new standard features
The completely redesigned fifth-generation 2019 Forester has just arrived at Docksteader Subaru, complete with a fresh more stylish design, an upgraded engine with more power and better fuel economy, a new chassis, a roomier interior, new trim levels, more standard and available features, and the list of improvements goes on and on.
New standard equipment includes a set of stylishly safer LED headlamps, a technology that previously required a move up to Limited trim in order to partake, and one that's still optional with most of its rivals including the totally redesigned 2019 RAV4 and recently redesigned Honda CR-V.
The Forester's new LED headlamps also feature automatic on/off so you won't always have to remember to turn them on and off manually, this standard feature part of last year's Convenience upgrade, while new standard automatic climate control gets pulled up from 2018's Touring trim.
Additionally, a new electromechanical parking brake replaces the old handbrake, freeing up space between the front seats and modernizing the driving experience, while new auto vehicle hold replaces the old hill holder system that previously only came with the manual transmission that's now been discontinued. In its place, Subaru's Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is now standard across the line, which means that Subaru's impressive X-Mode off-road system with Hill Descent Control, and SI-Drive drive mode selector are now standard too.
Revised 2.5L engine makes more power and gets better economy
Along with that CVT and Subaru's much lauded Symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive system that remains standard, the 2019 Forester gets a new direct-injection enhanced 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine that's good for 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, which is a 12-horsepower and 2-lb-ft advantage over last year's identically sized base engine. The drivetrain now includes an auto start/stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when it would otherwise be idling, which helps to reduce emissions while improving fuel economy, the latter resulting in a 0.2-L/100km savings despite the increase in performance, from 9.2 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 8.4 combined to 9.0, 7.2 and 8.2 respectively. Also of note, the outgoing model's optional 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is no longer available.
The aforementioned base model is once again simply called 2.5i in reference to its engine designation, and along with everything already mentioned includes standard power-adjustable heated side mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, steering wheel controls, cruise control, filtered air conditioning, backup camera with dynamic guidelines, Bluetooth with audio streaming, StarLink smartphone integration with Aha radio, HD and satellite radio, two USB ports/iPod interfaces, an aux input, heatable front seats, roof rails, the usual active and passive safety features including an airbag for the driver's knees, and more for just $27,995.
Regarding infotainment, the standard infotainment touchscreen is now 0.3 inches larger in diameter at 6.5 inches, and now features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.
Subaru adds two new trim levels to widen Forester appeal
Above the base 2.5i, features become even more generous in second-rung Convenience trim, while the 2019 Forester can also be had in Touring, new Sport, Limited and new top-line Premier trims.
Convenience trim, at $30,295, includes everything from the base model plus fog lamps, a rear rooftop spoiler, 17-inch alloys, a windshield wiper de-icer, silver finish interior trim, chrome interior door handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, a colour TFT multi-information display within the gauge cluster, a 6.3-inch colour multi-function display atop the dash that's controllable via steering wheel-mounted switchgear, two more stereo speakers for a total of six, dual-zone automatic climate control, sunvisor extensions, illuminated vanity mirrors, premium cloth upholstery, a 10-way powered driver's seat with lumbar support, a flip-down rear centre armrest with integrated cupholders, and more.
For a reasonable $1,500 you can add Subaru's EyeSight suite of advanced driver assistance systems that includes pre-collision braking, pre-collision brake assist, pre-collision throttle management, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure warning, lane sway warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, while the upgrade also includes reverse automatic braking, proximity-sensing keyless access, pushbutton ignition, and a retractable cargo cover.
Upper trims add a host of advanced safety and infotainment systems
EyeSight comes standard with all other trim levels, including the $32,995 Touring model that gets everything already mentioned as well as automatic high beam assist, a large power-sliding glass sunroof with a sunshade, and a powered tailgate with memory function.
Above this, Sport, Limited and Premier trims get a new two-mode X-Mode off-road system that's capable of even greater go-anywhere prowess thanks to separate settings for snow and dirt, as well as deep snow and mud, while larger 316 mm front rotors add better braking power over the standard 294 mm discs.
Sharp new Sport trim adds edgy styling details and even more content
The new $34,995 Sport is the visual standout of the 2019 Forester lineup thanks to a unique gloss black grille, special front corner grilles, a larger rear spoiler, a blackened out trim strip that runs across the rear liftgate before striking through the taillights, a unique rear under-guard, plus bold orange trim on its front fascia, roof rail posts, side sills and rear bumper, the latter wrapping up and over the exhaust to highlight a chromed tipped tailpipe, while a bright orange "SPORT" badge gets added to the liftgate. The Sport also gets exclusive dark metallic 18-inch alloys with subtle orange accents, while LED daytime running lights, vertically stacked LED fog lamps and LED turn signals integrated within the mirror caps add to its upmarket appeal.
Inside, the Sport model's orange theme continues with uniquely treated dash vent surrounds and centre console detailing plus orange stitching throughout, and within the gauge cluster plus some background lighting, while an additional exclusive Sport feature includes an SI-Drive Sport system that provides more immediate throttle response. Lastly, the Forester Sport replaces the availability of Crimson Red Pearl, Horizon Blue Pearl, Jasper Green Metallic, and Sepia Bronze Metallic exterior colours with an exclusive Dark Blue Pearl paint finish.
The $37,695 Limited loses some of the Sport's aesthetic and performance features, but keeps most of its convenience and luxury upgrades while adding unique 18-inch 10-spoke bright-finish machined alloy wheels, a premium grille, chrome detailing around the fog lamp bezels and side windows, auto-dimming side mirrors with approach lighting and reverse tilt (the latter item a Subaru first), an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated compass, chrome trimmed primary gauges, a heatable steering wheel rim, GPS navigation, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link with weather, sports and stock market information, an eight-speaker, 440-watt Harman Kardon audio system with an eight-channel amplifier, leather upholstery in black or platinum, silver contrast stitching throughout, driver's seat memory, heatable rear outboard seats, and one-touch folding rear seatbacks.
New Premier trim moves top-tier premium Forester experience up a notch
New $39,495 Premier trim is top-of-the-line for 2019, and once again includes the vertical LED fog lamps from the Sport within unique satin-silver trimmed bezels, as well as special aluminum-look satin-silver trim on the front fascia, side mirror caps, roof rail posts, side sills, and rear bumper. Additionally, exclusive 18-inch five-spoke machined alloy wheels combine with chromed exterior door handles and a stainless steel rear bumper step pad to spiff up the look further.
All new 2019 Forester features come within an SUV that's been thoroughly redesigned around the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which has resulted in greater refinement, capability and dynamic performance, plus considerably more interior space.
This means it has grown slightly all-round, now measuring 15 millimetres more from front to back at 4,625 mm, with a 30-mm longer wheelbase at 2,670 mm, while it's also 21 mm wider including its mirrors at 2,052 mm, or 20 mm wider not including its mirrors at 1,815 mm. The new Forester's front and rear track has widened too, now up 20 and 15 mm respectively to 1,565 and 1,570 mm.
Despite maintaining its minimum ground clearance at 220 mm, allowing for plenty of capability off-road, the new Forester is actually 5 mm lower in height than its predecessor with its roof rails included at 1,730 mm, while its base curb weight has increased by just 26 kilograms at 1,569 kilos when compared to the previous model's optional CVT. This said the fully loaded 2019 Forester Premier now weighs in at only 1,630 kg, which actually makes this top-line model a surprising 56 kg lighter than the ritziest version of the 2018 model in spite of its greater size and spaciousness.
Along with a roomier passenger compartment, the new Forester improves cargo space by 29 litres behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks in base trim, from 974 to 1,003 litres, and by 40 litres in base trim when those seats are laid flat, from 2,115 to 2,155 litres. When the optional sunroof is added, which encroaches slightly on overhead space, the difference from old to new grows to 43 litres behind the rear seatbacks, from 892 to 935 litres, and 68 litres when the rear seats are lowered, from 1,940 to 2,008 litres. That's a significant improvement that can really make a difference when faced with a big load.
A press release about the new 2019 Forester promises "maneuverability that's synonymous with the popular Subaru," but we recommend you find out how it drives in person by giving us a call at (877) 881-6714 or dropping by the Docksteader Subaru showroom at 8530 Cambie St, Vancouver, just south of Marine Drive behind the new Marine Drive Skytrain Station and Marine Gateway shopping complex.
We'd love to show you the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Subaru
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.