It was only this year when Subaru launched the all-new Forester at the New York International Auto Show. This week, however, Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in eight Asian countries, debuts the next-generation compact crossover in Taiwan. While there’s a lot to celebrate about the pumped-up 2.5L Boxer engine of the North America-bound Forester, the one that will be sold in the Philippines in the near future gets a smaller mill – the 2.0L Boxer engine found in the XV and Impreza. That can be a downer, yes, but the 2019 Forester has a lot to offer other than the downsized power plant.
The 2019 Forester now sits on the all-new Subaru Global Platform, which promises sturdier construction, lower center of gravity, and a host of improvements from the outgoing model. The extensive use of high-strength steel guarantees safety to its driver and occupants, partnered with 50% less body roll and stabler ride.
In addition, the 2019 Forester has substantially grown when compared to its predecessor. It’s 15mm longer, 20mm wider, and has a 30mm longer wheelbase. With that, interior space has also been expanded, increasing the shoulder room and rear knee room by as much 30mm. The cargo space has a bit of an increase but the biggest change is in its power tailgate that works quicker than before.
As for interior amenities and comfort, the fifth-generation Forester follows what the XV has started with three LCDs placed inside the cabin: the 4.2-inch meter display in the instrument cluster, the 6.3-inch multi-function display on top of the dashboard, and the 8-inch touchscreen head unit with Subaru Starlink incorporated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Air conditioning remains to be the dual-zone climate control system, but the rear passengers are now gifted with A/C vents. There are also charging ports at the back, which conforms to this age of gadgets and what nots.
The Forester might not be the prettiest crossover out there, but its styling works well for the Filipino buyers, warranting it to be one of Subaru’s best-selling nameplates. With that, there’s not much change in its overall design.
This means, the hexagonal grille, hawkeye headlamps, and imposing fog lamps stay, with a tad amount of tweaks to give the 2019 Forester a refreshed look. What’s new, though, are the new tail lamp shape and the redesigned wheels.
As we mentioned earlier, the Philippine-bound 2019 Forester is powered by a 2.0L Boxer engine that’s found in the XV and Impreza. Not only that we didn’t get the 2.5L mill that North America has, but this engine also dropped the turbo that the top-spec fourth-generation model has. With that, its output is rated at 156 hp and 196 Nm torque, which are greater than the current non-XT variants, but still a lot less than the turbo version.
Nevertheless, the new engine promises better fuel-efficiency. The famed symmetrical all-wheel drive system stays, as well as the SI-Drive modes for sharper engine response. Its X-Mode system remains, too, and partnered with its 220mm ground clearance, the Forester is still a family-friendly, off-road-capable crossover.
Here comes the juicy part. The 2019 Subaru Forester was originally planned to reach the Philippine shores by December of this year, but MIPI confirmed that it has been moved to January 2019. There’s no definite price for the upcoming model yet, but expect it to remain within its current price range from P1.5-million to P2-million.