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Refreshed 2017 Subaru Forester officially revealed – Key details changes

The refreshed 2017 Subaru Forester SUV has been revealed in Japan ahead of its official debut at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of this month.

PROMISING IMPROVED safety, engineering and styling improvements, the refreshed 2017 Subaru Forester has been revealed in Japan ahead of its official reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. 

As Practical Motoring reported last week, the new Forester gets the latest-generation Eyesight 3 which features an “Advanced Safety Package incorporating newly developed Adaptive Driving Beam headlights, and Subaru’s first LED high and low beam lights and Steering Responsive Headlights”. 

Beyond safety key changes include a redesigned snout, tweaks to the steering gear ratio for a more linear response, suspension adjustments, while the Forester’s glass has been made thicker to improve noise insulation along with changes to the Lineartronic CVT. “These and other measures result in less unwanted sounds,” Subaru says.

While local details are still to be confirmed for the refreshed Forester, the changes listed below are universal and so we can expect to see them all appear on the Australian-spec Subaru Forester. Practical Motoring has contacted Subaru Australia for comment and we’ll update this article when we hear back.

Refreshed Subaru Forester – Key changes:

  • Redesigned grille and front bumper;
  • New headlight design;
  • Redesigned tail-lights which adopt a similar design to the headlights, featuring a sideways U-shaped look to give the car the appearance of being wider than it actually is;
  • Newly designed aluminum wheels to reduce drag an improve fuel efficiency;
  • New body color options: The new Forester is now available also in Dark Blue Pearl and Sepia Bronze Metallic color variations;
  • The dashboard has been upgraded, adopting a combination decorative panel with silver frame and piano-black hues and metallic accents;
  • Color LCD multi-information display;
  • SD navigation system supporting “Siri Eyes Free”;
  • The Harman Kardon sound system and SD navigation system (manufacturer-installed options) support the “Siri Eyes Free” voice recognition function. Operations can be performed by pressing the Talk button on the steering wheel and issuing verbal instructions, enabling Siri services to be used more safely while driving, without taking the eyes off the road;
  • Rear seat heaters: Heaters with high/low settings are located on both sides of the rear seat.
  • Driver-side power seat memory function: The power seat on the driver’s side has a memory function that restores the optimal position at the touch of a switch;
  • EyeSight (ver. 3): The latest EyeSight (ver. 3) has enhanced the performance of Active Lane Keep steering assistance, Pre-Collision Braking Control and Adaptive Cruise Control;
  • A package of advanced functions further enhancing safety is offered as a manufacturer-installed option. Supplementing the EyeSight front detection function is a radar system for detecting vehicles in rear blind spots, supporting safer and more comfortable driving.
  • Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection 􏰀 Blind Spot Detection (BSD): Radar sensors detect vehicles in rear blind spots, and LED lights in the door mirror light up or flash to urge driver caution;
  • 􏰀Lane Change Assist (LCA): Radar sensors detect the rapid approach of vehicles from the rear in the next lane, and LED lights in the door mirror light up or flash to urge driver caution.
  • 􏰀Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Radar sensors detect vehicles approaching from the right or left when backing up and, if there is deemed to be a risk of collision, alert the driver by flashing LED lights in the door mirror and by an audible warning;
  • Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB): EyeSight cameras accurately detect the presence of vehicles ahead and in oncoming lanes, smoothly adjusting the range of the high beams in a continuous range via shields inside the headlights. “ADB makes it possible to obtain plenty of visibility for safe, comfortable nighttime driving, without the need to worry about disturbing other drivers with high beams”;
  • LED high and low beam lights and Steering Responsive Headlights;
  • Enhanced chassis performance: Greater front cross member rigidity and optimisation of the rear trailing link bushings result in improved steering responsiveness and straight-line stability;
  • Optimised suspension settings: By optimising the shock absorber damping and the spring constant of coil springs, Subaru says it’s been able to improve Forester’s supple ride comfort and handling agility. “Changes to the rod guide bushings and to the oil used to operate the front and rear shock absorbers result in more stable friction of moving parts while suppressing vibration. Initial roll performance has also been optimised”;
  • Optimised steering-gear ratio: The steering-gear ratio has been changed from the earlier 15.5:1 to 14.0:1. The quicker ratio improves manoeuvrability and steering feel;
  • Active Torque Vectoring: The Forester XT gets Active Torque Vectoring for improved cornering lines;
  • Improved fuel efficiency of naturally aspirated (NA) models – despite rumours, the refreshed Forester continues with its 2.0L engine, although improvements have been made. Subaru says, “More efficient combustion and reduced friction in the NA engine improve fuel efficiency with no loss of snappy performance. In JC08 mode tests, fuel economy of 16.0km/litre was achieved, making the new Forester eligible for the next higher level of Japan’s eco-car tax incentives (40% reduction in acquisition tax, 25% cut in tonnage tax, and 50% off the following year’s automobile tax)”;
  • Auto-step shift control and close-ratio eight-speed shifting: The turbocharged model adopts auto-step shift control for direct and sporty acceleration. Moreover, in SI-DRIVE S# (Sport Sharp) mode, close-ratio eight-speed shifting makes for easier use of the power band in a sportier setting; and
  • Improved quietness: Thicker door glass, stronger sealing, and improvements to Lineartronic CVT transmission result in “less unwanted sounds”.

Locally, Subaru is still tight lipped on the refreshed Forester, although now that it’s been officially revealed we’ve asked for local introduction timings, but we don’t expect it here before next year.


  1. Warren Hennessy
    October 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm — Reply

    Great article – thank you. Could someone please help me to understand how this 2017 model forester fits in the picture? I understand the current 2015MY Forester in Australia (and the 2016MY Forester in the US) is the 3rd iteration of the 4th generation Forester. Is this release the 2017 MY in Japan, which is likely to be Australia’s new 2016 model? Also, is there any news on the XT’s engine in the new models?

    • October 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm — Reply

      Hi Warren, no need to help you as you’ve just nailed it in one 🙂 According to the release, the XT engine, for Japan, at least, will have more power and torque, but they’re still keeping final details quiet until the official reveal… We might be able to find out a few more things before then. Stay tuned. Isaac

      • Warren Hennessy
        October 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm — Reply

        Thank you kindly. I’ll be following this unfold very closely.

  2. craig
    October 23, 2015 at 10:28 pm — Reply

    All those changes and they still can’t even add lumbar support. They need new front seats, I’m not the only one who finds them too small and flat.

  3. November 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    Thanks Ryan, the seats in my old WRX were no better. Loved the car, but the seats lacked decent support. Isaac

  4. Kevin
    November 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm — Reply

    Seems like all the new Subarus such as the Forester and WRX are getting their Safety Vision Assist (BSD, LCA and rear cross traffic alert). Is there any word on whether the 2016 Liberty will get the same treatment?

  5. Nick Paton
    February 10, 2016 at 5:28 pm — Reply

    Isaac, any new news here? Im in the market for an XT but will hold out if this will be available in the next couple of months

    • February 13, 2016 at 7:15 am — Reply

      Hi Nick, Apologies for the slow response. I’ll be attending the new Forester launch in the next couple of weeks… will have more info for you soon. – Isaac

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober