It may have escaped from our scoop photographers' radar, but we finally caught up with the next iteration of Subaru's Forester compact SUV, which in its three previous generations, has built a name for itself as a robust and no-nonsense model that rides well both on and off the road.
These pictures are sourced from the new Forester's Japanese market brochure, but most of what you see here sans the engine range can be applied to the global model.
The new Forester, which will go on sale in Japan in mid-November before it reaches both North American (as a 2014 model) and European shores as a 2013 model) next year, is likely based on a revised version of the latest Impreza's platform.
Compared to the current Forester, Subaru's best-seller has grown all around and now measures 4,595mm or 180.9 inches long (+35mm), 1,795mm or 70.7 inches tall (+15mm) and 1,695mm or 66.7 inches wide (+20mm). The wheelbase is also longer at 2,640mm or 103.9 inches (+25mm) to improve space for passengers.
Subaru gives two numbers for the new Forester's luggage space, 505-liters and 488-liters, but we weren't able to translate the Japanese spec sheet to see to what they are referring to. For the record, the current model's cargo volume with the rear seats in place is 450-liters.
The exterior styling of the 2014 Forester keeps the high-riding, station wagon shape of its predecessors adding some new details like a bulging curve on the lower part of the doors, a small quarter window at the base of the A-pillar, door mounted mirrors and new lights at both ends.
Inside, the interior is almost identical to that of the new Impreza and XV models.
In its home market, the new Forester will be available at launch with two boxer engines, a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter unit delivering 146Hp (148ps) that can be linked to either a 6-speed manual or a CVT, and a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged powerplant rated at 276Hp (280PS) offered only with a CVT. A flagship STi model may be in the cards for the near future.
At this time, we do not know any details about the North American and European engine lineup.
However, in the U.S., the new Forester should be offered with the company's new 2.5-liter double-overhead-cam (DOHC) FB series boxer engine that produces 173 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, while on the other side of the Atlantic and aside from the 146Hp 2.0-liter petrol, a diesel unit is surely to be available.
Many thanks to our Japanese tipster Ryuji!