Redesigned Subaru Forester Has Improved Engine, More Rugged Look

Published April 7, 2018 by Elizabeth Jeneault

Subaru is continuing to work to impress its customers and those efforts show in the redesigned Forester. The updated SUV was unveiled at the New York International Auto Show. The vehicle has a more rugged look, is roomier and comes with an improved engine. It also has some impressive safety features that even include facial recognition!


It’s the fifth generation of the Forester and Subaru hopes the upgrades help solidify the sports utility vehicle’s performance in the future. The updated vehicle will arrive at Subaru retailers later this year and will be available in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and new Sport trim levels.


More Rugged Exterior

As for how this Forester looks more rugged, we can start by noting its prominent wheel arches. Its exterior also has shoulder lines that follow around the pillars to emphasize the vehicle’s height and strength. Front, side and rear underguards help protect the vehicle and come standard on all models. The underguards are finished according to the trim you choose. The new LED headlights also come standard on all models and are said to complement the signature Subaru hexagonal grille. High-gloss black or silver trim is accentuated by new colors offered including Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl. Roof rails come standard on all but the base model. They allow for a number of items to be transported including bicycles and kayaks.


As for the new Subaru Forester Sport, it has unique appearance elements and specially enhanced standard equipment. There’s a Sport grille, black finish 18-inch wheels and a rear roof spoiler. It also has fun orange accents on the black underguards and roof rail mounts. It gives the vehicle a nice, youthful touch. Inside, you’ll find a unique dark gray material with orange stitching and accents throughout. 


More Spacious Interior

By increasing the wheelbase of this vehicle from 103.9 inches to 105.1 inches, the rear seat legroom was improved. Gains in headroom, hip and shoulder room elsewhere also help bolster passenger comfort and a feeling of spaciousness. There are even wider rear door openings that, coupled with a steep C-pillar angle, make for easier installment of a car seat.


The updated Subaru Forester also includes new front seats. They were constructed to enhance comfort on long drives. You can add heat to the seats as an option and if you go with the most expensive Touring trim, you’ll additionally get heated seats in the rear. You’ll also get a number of other features including a heated steering wheel and exterior mirrors with two-position memory function.


Another feature that helps free up space in the vehicle can be found toward the front. A new Electronic Parking Brake frees up console space by eliminating the traditional parking brake handle. In addition to feeling roomier, the vehicle also comes with more ways to store your items including new pockets on the front seatbacks.


There’s also plenty of space for your cargo in the rear. Cargo space is increased to 76.1 cubic feet in the updated vehicle with the 60:40 split rear seatbacks lowered. That’s a gain of 1.4 cubic feet over the previous Forester. The rear gate opening maximum width is also now more than 5 inches wider than the previous Forester. The company says it’s possible to load a full-size golf bag sideways with extreme ease. So, that’s a nice touch! And to help protect the vehicle from your golf clubs and other outdoor gear, a new textured material was used for the cargo area floor, sides and rear gate interior trim. It resists dirt and scuffing. That means you’ll have less to worry about when it comes to loading your gear and getting those adventures going!



 The 2019 Subaru Forester is powered by a new version of the 2.5-liter Subaru boxer four-cylinder engine, now with direct fuel injection and higher compression, along with an active valve control system on the exhaust side. It churns out 182 horsepower and 176 pound per foot of torque. That’s compared to 170 horsepower produced by the previous Forester. The updated SUV also comes standard with Lineartronic CVT. The new powertrain not only results in faster acceleration, but also gets the vehicle an estimated 33 miles per gallon on the highway. That means despite its size, the Forester still get good fuel mileage.


If you opt for the Sport or Touring trims, the CVT will have a manual mode that simulates a seven-speed manual transmission, using steering wheel paddle control switches. The Forester Sport also exclusively employs a version of Subaru Intelligent Drive that adds more flexibility for driving conditions.


As for putting the vehicle to the test, the Forester offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Subaru points out that’s more than most competitors and allows for confident off-pavement driving. Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring models additionally get driver-selectable X-Mode with Hill Descent. It helps in difficult driving conditions like snow and mud.



The 2019 Forester comes with some impressive safety features. All versions come standard with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert. Other available technologies include Reverse Automatic Braking and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.


Also for 2019, the top-of-line Touring debuts the segment-exclusive DriverFocus safety technology. It offers yet another layer of safety and convenience for the driver. The state-of-the-art Subaru system is meant to help address distracted driving as it uses facial recognition software to identify signs of fatigue or distraction. It will then alert the driver if need be. It works with the standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology to help protect you and others on the road.


Our Take

The upgrades Subaru has made to its best-selling Forester make sense and should be well accepted among Subaru fans. It’s a vehicle that has plenty of room for the family, is capable of being taken off-road, and has options that truly set it apart from other SUVs on the market.

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