Published on November 7th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair


What’s Different About The New Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has long filled that gap between comfortable soft-roader and capable off-roader. Now in its 5th generation, the mid-sized SUV now comes fully-imported from Thailand for between RM140K-RM160K, depending on what equipment you want.

While on paper (and from some angles) this 5th gen Forester looks a lot like the 4th gen facelift Forester, the truth is the two are extremely different. The engine, gearbox, chassis, technology, X-Drive mode and design has actually been thoroughly revamped and it’s a perceivably better car.

We just had the opportunity to drive the new Subaru Forester for the first time. We managed to test out its off-roading capabilities at Most Fun Gym (MFG), see if could handle high-speed highway driving along Karak, and even got to demo its EyeSight system’s pre-collision braking function.

While we work on our first impressions story, we thought we’d first highlight how the new Forester has been improved over the last.

How is it different from the previous Forester?

  • Engine – Now features direct injection. 80% of its parts have been redesigned. Much more efficient and torquey at speeds between 50-100km/h.
  • Gearbox – Lower weight. Larger spread of gear virtual gear ratios. Auto Stepped Speed Control (emulates a close ratio automatic when driving hard). Manual mode with 7 speeds instead of 6 via paddle shifters.
  • Chassis – Built on the new Subaru Global Platform, instead of the previous Impreza platform. Has higher levels of rigidity, lower levels of NVH characteristics. Has 3 conduction routes to disperse energy in a collision compared to 2 on the previous car. Rear stabiliser is mounted directly onto the body, reducing body movement by 50%. Redesigned suspension, engine mounting points, rear subframe and suspension bushings.
  • Technology – New EyeSight system uses pair of stereo cameras to assist the driver. It detects contrast and warns the driver of potential dangers like other cars, bikers, bicycles and pedestrians. Pre-collision Braking & Throttle Management. Lane Sway & Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control & Lead Vehicle Start Alert.
  • X-MODE – New dial switch. Two states of X-MODE: [SNOW/DIRT] for mild off-roading, [DEEP SNOW/MUD] for more serious situations up to speeds of 40km/h.
  • Design – The Forester has been redesigned to be more aesthetically pleasing, but also more functional. It’s longer by 15mm, wider by 20mm, and its wheelbase has been increased by 30mm. Its boot capacity has been increased to 520L from 505L and can now fit a golf bag that’s inserted sideways thanks to a cargo opening width of 1300mm. The Electric tailgate now swings open and close in 5 seconds. Oh and it has rear air-cond vents now.
  • Model Line up – The Forester now comes in three grades: i-L, i-S, and i-S EyeSight. Moving from the i-L to i-S adds 18″ rims, X-MODE, aluminium pedals, a black interior, daytime running lights, steering responsive headlights, front and rear bumper under guards, power rear gate with memory function. Going up to the i-S EyeSight variant adds EyeSight (of course), a Side View Monitor, Heated Side Door Mirrors, and Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection.

While we finish up our first impressions of the Forester, enjoy some of the photos we took yesterday while off-roading and driving on Karak.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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