Text: Mike Antigua / Photos: Brent Co, Subaru Press | posted July 24, 2008 00:00
Subaru launches the third generation Forester
The completely redesigned new model boasts a bolder, sleeker look, with a more towering stance than previous models. Motor Image calls the new Forester the "epitome of form and function" with its vast improvements in design and comfort while maintaining its focus on safety, quality and capability. The new look is far removed from the old station wagon appeal of the first version. This time, Subaru wants everyone to take notice because now the Forester means business.
Since its initial launch in 1997, Subaru's Forester series has earned awards and recognition from various award-giving bodies across the globe. It embodies a crossover SUV that combines passenger car comfort and safety with even greater adaptability and functionality.
The launch event itself was out of the ordinary from the usually low-key Motor Image events of times past. Held at the Isla Ballroom of Shangri-La's Edsa Plaza Hotel in the first week of July, the launch festivities attracted a sizeable crowd, a mix of VIPs, media personalities, the motoring press, and members of the Subaru Club of the Philippines.
Glenn Tan, Group Chief Executive of Motor Image, was on hand to witness the unveiling of their latest pride and joy to the Philippine automotive market. He said "the new Forester builds on the many features that made Foresters such a worldwide hit. With greater luxurious comfort and practical convenience, without compromising on safety and quality, it boasts an irresistible charm. Its streamlined design makes it a stylish companion that takes you easily from board meetings to golf games to family picnics while its spacious interiors, distinctive versatility and contemporary elegance will impress business partners and in-laws alike."
Two model variants were unveiled during the launch: the Subaru Forester 2.0X and the Subaru Forester 2.5XT, both available only in 4-speed automatic transmission with SportShift. The 2.0X runs on a Suubaru Boxer 2.0-liter DOHC engine while the 2.5XT is powered by the Subaru Boxer 2.5-liter Turbocharged DOHC engine. Both models come with Subaru's trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) System.
At first glance, the exterior shows a lot of big and positive improvements. This shows how Subaru has let go of the boxy look, opting for more streamlined and sharply defined lines that wrap around the Forester's sculpted and well-accentuated profile. The headlamps are chrome-plated on the inside, allowing even projection of light outwardly and the rear lights are designed to accentuate the rear styling. The new Forester is actually 110mm taller and 45mm wider, with an expanded wheelbase of 90mm compared to previous Forester models.
The spacious interior is further highlighted by decorative insets with a brushed aluminum-look flow from the center panel of the dashboard to the door trim. This is due to the expanded wheelbase, which may increase interior space and cargo room without substantially enlarging its body size. The double-wishbone rear suspension now has room for deeper and wider luggage compartment.
Designed with the commitment to provide the perfect seating configuration for passengers, the seating layout of the all-new Forester can be adjusted to suit a variety of different uses. The new Forester has larger rear door openings, a multifunctional centre console which includes an auxiliary audio input jack and 12-volt power outlet, ideal for connecting portable audio players and other devices.
Focusing on safety issues, the new Forester has the advanced Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frames, a high level of safety in terms of shock absorption and crash-impact dispersion. Standard interior safety features on both models include three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters located in the front and rear passenger seats, fitted SRS frontal, front side and curtain airbags, as well as active headrests for both driver and passengers. This model has ABS with EBD and a Brake Assist System.
Obviously, the Subaru Forester is ideal for the rough and often flooded roads in the Philippines. It's a great people carrier yet will still feel at home in a corporate environment. Perhaps one of the things Forester owners need to be wary of is the rising price of fuel. For the most part, people just grin and bare it, especially if you're behind the wheel of the all-new Subaru Forester.