Since its launch in February 1997 the Forester has earned accolades in Japan and overseas as a crossover SUV that combines passenger car comfort, handling and convenience with the high seating points and rugged off-road capability of an SUV.
The new Forester has realized ideal proportions that provide ample interior space and offer improved utility without substantially enlarging the body size.
Compared to the previous model, the new Forester is 110 mm taller (excluding the roof rail) and 45 mm wider, and its wheelbase has been expanded by 90 mm, increasing interior space and improving riding comfort. On the other hand, the overall distance between the ends of the right and left door mirrors has been shortened by 10 mm through mirror position and design changes. Also, the minimum turning radius was made shorter by 0.1 m for zippy handling.
Off-road capability is further improved by optimization of approach and departure angles, coupled with a generous 225-mm ground clearance.
The double-wishbone rear suspension makes room for a deeper and wider luggage compartment. This enhances the utility of this car that already features cargo area tie-down hooks and a DC12V/120W power outlet, as well as a push button switch for folding down the rear seatbacks.
Larger door openings, which are enabled through new sash construction, afford improved ingress and egress, and the rear doors open 75 degrees to allow for better rear seat access.
Through the enhancement of body rigidity, less road noise reaches the interior of the car. All door openings are sealed with double-layered weather stripping placed along the door trim for the optimal pressure to tightly seal the doors and ensure a quieter ride.
The multi-functional center console provides a spacious compartment that can accommodate an A4-size notebook PC and a purse of equivalent size. It also incorporates a removable tray that can be used to hold portable media players and cell phones. The console compartment has a sliding lid that is cushioned on top to serve as an armrest.
A retractable rear tray with a cup holder is installed between the rear seats, further elevating rear passenger comfort.
Cosmopolitan sophistication is integrated into bolder SUV design elements, making the new Forester an SUV that is suitable to drive on business occasions.
Decorative insets with a brushed aluminum–look flow from the center panel of the dashboard to the door trim, adding spaciousness and airiness in the interior and stressing sportiness in the cockpit. Rich and refined interior design is accentuated by the center panel, which combines wood and metal finishes, as well as by the door trim, embellished with metal-finish panels for window and door switches.
The new Forester will come with two engine variants, a 2.0-L naturally aspirated Boxer engine features better combustion efficiency, as well as eco-friendly performance and fuel economy, thanks to a newly designed DOHC cylinder head and the use of the active valve control system (AVCS). And a newly developed DOHC cylinder head is used in this engine. The intake port and the combustion chamber have been redesigned to reduce residual gases, thus raising combustion efficiency.
An expanded ground clearance further improves the off-road capability of the vehicle. The raising of the clearance does not alter the low center of gravity that is attained by mounting the engine low in the vehicle, thereby securing outstanding vehicle stability.
4-speed AT models are equipped with the Sportshift gear selection. By optimizing the final gear ratio and torque converter characteristics, as well as through reducing friction among part assemblies, driving performance and fuel economy has been improved. The N Control System on AT models automatically shifts the transmission back to neutral from driving positions after the brake pedal is depressed for some time. Gear shift operation has also been enhanced by the redesigned shift lever positions and the use of roller bearings.
The SI-Dive (Subaru Intelligent Drive) system on the 2.0XT model offers three different modes of driving for the driver to enjoy: Intelligent; Sport; and Sport Sharp.
Gear ratios on MT models, from the second through the five-speed, as well as the final drive gear ratio, have been modified to improve driving performance and fuel economy. Reducing friction inside the transmission also contributes to better gear shift operation on MT models.
The Active Torque Split AWD system is mounted on AT models. MT models come with the center differential AWD system with viscous LSD (limited slip differential). Both AWD systems distribute optimal power to the wheels with the firm grip and traction, providing unrivaled vehicle stability.
The Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) is standards on all models. Fed by information gathered by sensors that monitor vehicle and road conditions, the VDC coordinates the engine, transmission, and brakes in order to recover the vehicle's position should unstable movements occur on a slippery road.
The new Forester was developed on the basis of a new chassis concept, the Subaru Dynamic Chassis Control Concept (Subaru DC3). Integrating robust body structure with finely tuned chassis elements, vehicle stability and excellent comfort are perfectly blended in the new model.
FHI is releasing three variants of the new Subaru Forester; 2.0X, 2.0XS, and 2.0XT. The company is expecting to sell about 2,000 units per month.