2019 Subaru Forester Introduction

The 2019 Subaru Forester gets a complete makeover this year, but the change is evolutionary. The compact crossover SUV retains its strong points, while it gets better interior trim and more standard safety technology.

The fifth-generation Forester rides on a stiffer platform and boasts a spacious cabin, that grants it admirable utility. Head, hip, leg, and shoulder room have each grown a bit. Wider rear door openings ease entry/exit.

Safety and driving ease got plenty of attention. Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist technology is standard on every Forester, encompassing adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic emergency braking.

New DriverFocus safety technology, standard in the Touring edition, uses a camera and facial recognition software to detect driver fatigue or distraction. Look down at a text, for instance, and the system will beep its displeasure.

Manual shifting and turbo power are no longer offered, but a Sport model with distinctive interior and exterior details has been added. The Forester’s platform is shared with the Impreza sedan, Crosstrek crossover, and new Ascent three-row crossover SUV.

The 2019 lineup comes in five trim levels: base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. Each Forester holds a new version of Subaru’s 2.5-liter flat (horizontally-opposed) 4-cylinder engine, developing 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive are standard. Subaru claims quicker acceleration than before.

Two driving modes are offered, to alter throttle response; “Intelligent” and “Sport.” The Sport model includes “Sport Sharp.”

Ground clearance totals 8.7 inches, for effective operation under mild off-road conditions. Upper trim levels include two-position X-Mode selection: Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud.

Subaru has a strong record for safety and early tests on the new Forester have been promising.

Blind-spot monitors with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert are optional on Premium and Sport versions, but standard with Limited and Touring trim. Limited and Touring versions feature steering-responsive headlights that move in accord with the steering wheel.

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