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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Angular looking new Subaru Forester emerges from the woods

Sixth generation will go on-sale in the States next year, but at present, remains unconfirmed for South Africa.

With the official commencing later today (17 November) of the Los Angeles Auto Show, Subaru chose the eve of the City of Angeles’ automotive showpiece to unveil the all-new, sixth generation Forester.

No more blob-eye

One of the Japanese marque’s key models that has amassed sales of 2.6-million units in the United States alone since its debuted in 1997, the Forester debuts a new design seemingly derived from the Ford Explorer and previous generation Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban in an obvious nod to its US-market focus.

ALSO READ: Subaru Forester built to survive imminent World War III

A look likely to be applied to the incoming next generation or facelift Ascent, which tops Subaru’s SUV range in the States, the Forester eschews the bulbous-looking headlights for a slimmer design and the smaller grille for a wider intake resplendent with a full-width LED bar running behind the Subaru logo.

New Subaru Forester revealed
Rear facia has not undergone the same level of alterations as the front. Image: Subaru

Mounted on alloy wheels measuring from 17 to 19-inches depending on the trim level, the Forester’s rear facia is more of an evolution of the outgoing model as the basic design has remained, albeit highlighted by new light clusters also connected via a LED bar surrounding the Subaru logo in the middle.

More space, more rigid

Underneath, and while still based on the Global Platform, torsional rigidity has gone up by a claimed 10% and the actual frame made stiffer by means of what Subaru calls “stronger welding techniques” as well as wider use of structural adhesive.

Subaru debuts new generation Forester
Bigger boot can accommodate 838-litres. Image: Subaru

In addition, the steering has been revised to include the same dual-pinion electric rack as that of the new WRX.

Compared to the outgoing Forester that went on-sale five years ago, the sixth generation’s overall length has increased by 30 mm to 4 655 mm and its width by 13 mm to 1 828 mm.

Subaru debuts new generation Forester
With the rear seats down, space increases to 2 106-litres. Image: Subaru

Kept unchanged is the 2 670 mm wheelbase, 1 730 mm height and 220 mm ground clearance, though in terms of boot space, the added length translates to a considerable 318-litres more space for a total of 838-litres with the rear seats up.

Folded down, utility space increases to 2 106-litres, a substantial 1 046-litres more than the previous Forester.

Modern, techier interior

Set to be offered in five trim levels in the US; base, Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring, the Forester’s interior now resembles that of other Subaru models, with the former receiving a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and the latter quartet the 11.6-inch portrait-style Starlink system.

Both do, however, feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although wireless in the case of the latter, which comes additionally furnished with integrated satellite navigation.

New Subaru Forester revealed
Top-spec models receive the 11.6-inch Starlink infotainment system as standard. Image: Subaru

Besides upgraded materials and model specific copper inserts on the Sport, the analogue instrument cluster with a central TFT display remains, along with the optional two-tone black-and-brown colour option on the Touring.

New on the specification front is a Forester first hands-free electric tailgate, standard dual-zone climate control on all five derivatives, a wireless smartphone charger, roof rails on all models and, limited to the Touring, ventilated as well as heated front seats.

Subaru debuts new generation Forester
A two-tone colour option comes standard on the top-spec Touring. Image: Subaru

On the safety side, the EyeSight system has been expanded to all models and comprises a 360-degree surround-view camera system, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Exit Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and an improved forward facing camera.

Additionally available is Adaptive Cruise Control, Reverse Automatic Braking, Automatic Steering Assist and standard on the Touring, Driver Attention Alert.

Bit more power but still no turbo

While set to be offered with a turbocharged engine as well the hybrid e-Boxer in Japan, in the United States, the normally aspirated 2.5-litre flat-four Boxer engine has been kept with revised outputs of 132kW/241Nm.

Sending this to Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system is a recalibrated Lineartronic CVT that comes with paddle shifters on the Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring.

As before, torque vectoring prevails across all five models, with the X-Mode off-road system being included on the Sport and Limited.

Opting for the Touring adds Hill Descent Control plus a choice of configurable settings.

Still to be confirmed

On-sale next year as mentioned with pricing still to be announced, Subaru South Africa has so far not confirmed the new Forester after only introducing the facelift version of the current generation last year.

Should approval be given though, expect a likely local market arrival in mid-2024.

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