The all-new 2019 Subaru Forester has finally been revealed at the New York Motor Show…there’s no XT, no diesel and no manual transmission…

THE FIFTH-GENERATION ALL-NEW 2019 Subaru Forester has been revealed at the New York Motor Show and while it might not look like it, there’s quite a bit to unpack. Although, to be fair, much of it we already knew. Subaru Australia said it will announce local pricing and specifications in the second-half of this year (2018) with vehicles expected in showrooms in September.

The fifth generation of Subaru's best-selling model, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Forester Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), has been unveiled at New York International Auto Show.

The Subaru Forester as we know rides on the Subaru Global Platform which we’ve already sampled in the new Impreza and XV. For the Forester, Subaru said, “The SGP is expected to achieve class-topping collision safety and hazard avoidance, along with handling that responds exactly as the driver intends, plus comfortable drivability”.

Without explicitly saying it, Subaru has all but confirmed the death of the turbocharged Forester XT by announcing that, “Every Forester will be powered by the newly-enhanced direct-injection 2.5-litre horizontally opposed, normally aspirated, four-cylinder Boxer engine”. This engine, as we’ve reported is the same that runs in other new Subarus and is 90% all-new and offers 136kW at 5800rpm and 239Nm of torque at 4400rpm – this is a slight increase in power and torque. Again, the new engine is mated to the same tweaked CVT (with seven simulated gears) as other Subarus we’ve driven. So, no manual at all…or diesel.

The fifth generation of Subaru's best-selling model, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Forester Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), has been unveiled at New York International Auto Show.

Like with the refreshed Liberty and Outback, Subaru had focussed on improving the practicality of the Forester and so the rear door openings are now wider to make access to the back seat and, say, fitting a child seat easier. Indeed, rear seat legroom has been improved (by around 5cm) thanks to an increase in the wheelbase which is now 2670mm, and there’s up to 2000L of boot space with the 60:40 split-fold seats lowered with a rear opening of 1300mm; a powered rear tailgate will likely be offered on some models. The bottom of the back seat (with three separated storage pockets) is clad in a new PVC material to make it more resistant to scuffing; a similar textured material has been used for the boot floor which will make owners of dogs happy and save them having to try and hand pick dog hair out of automotive carpet; it’ll also help when carrying muddy sporting equipment, etc.

The fifth generation of Subaru's best-selling model, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Forester Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), has been unveiled at New York International Auto Show.

The new Forester gets new front seats and an electric parking brake replaces the old handbrake. And, like other recently-released Suabrus, the new Forester gets the brand’s latest 8.0-inch infotainment unit with Apple And Android connectivity.

The new Forester gets the second-generation of the brand’s clever X-Mode rough-road system which offers a two-stage set-up covering snow/dirt and deep snow/mud – we’re looking forward to sampling this. Ground clearance is expected to remain at around 220mm.

The fifth generation of Subaru's best-selling model, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Forester Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), has been unveiled at New York International Auto Show.

In terms of safety, the Forester will debut a Driver Monitoring System which uses facial recognition to recognise if the driver is tired or distracted while driving; it can recognise up to five different drivers. The system can alert the driver to signs of drowsiness or distraction on the road, as well as automatically adjusting driver settings for seat position, door mirror angles, and air-conditioning preferences.

Beyond the DMS, the Forester runs the latest version of EyeSight (standard on all models) as well as reverse automatic braking, steering responsive headlights (dependent on the variant), seven airbags, high beam assist as well as active torque vectoring. Other safety systems available include, lane change assist, blind spot monitoring, a standard reversing camera, and standard, permanent all-wheel drive.

Question: It’s clear the new Forester will be a more practical vehicle than before, but what do you think about the fact the XT has been dropped, there’s no diesel and no manual?


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  1. The design is a big let down. Consider how much has changed for XV, I would expect the Forester to look a lot more different if not better. No XT is also a big let down as well.

  2. I have been waiting for this and in the pasted have had four Foresters love them but sadly I won’t be buying one.
    Mine have all been GT or XTs, and now they are no more I won’t be owing anything less than a XT. Sorry Subaru a very backward step.

  3. For my 2 bob and potential purchase I’d be interested in how much the new platform and extra wheelbase improves ride quality which to my mind is the major item that lets down my current 2015 (penultimate) 2.5Si. Dropping the diesel seems inevitable on passenger vehicles particularly if direct injection improves petrol fuel consumption. I hope it continues to run on 91 RON rather than premium that negates much of the apparent fuel saving. Have the testers thought of applying a factor to equate grades of fuel so that the apples of fuel consumption are not compared with oranges of other brands. Perhaps all this is redundant because have I read that an electric hybrid has been engineered into the Forester for the future? Suppose the bean counters rightly see it as having better pay back than investing in diesel research.
    Body design seems just evolutionary but perhaps not a bad thing when the current model favours function over form compared to its swishy rivals with restricted vision.

  4. All new styling? Hard to tell from the current model.! Agree with others that this is disappointing.
    What’s the protrusion in the boot behind the left wheel arch? Can’t be the fuel filler that’s on the opposite side.

  5. I’ve had 3 Forester XTs across the last 6 years and, so safe to say my most current one will be my last … unless a turbo model is introduced down the track. I’ll be switching brands reluctantly. Just disappointing.

  6. It’s likely to struggle with only one engine. No XT turbo & supposedly no diesel as that version accounted for close to 20% of total sales. The diesel version of the new just released Outback will continue for about another 2.5 yrs, then that engine ceases production. But even original articles on the new 2018/19 Outback claimed the oiler wasn’t coming, & it’s now on sale! . So until final specs for local versions of the Forester are confirmed, take reports lightly.

  7. Like the idea that active torque vectoring is finally coming to all Foresters. Have questions about how this is being implemented and whether it affects the vehicles off road abilities. Can the computer sense and distribute accurately for all terrain types and for faster sharper cornering ? What is ramp over, approach and departure angle ? Like that ground clearance remains sufficient.

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