2019 Subaru Forester Plays It Safe, Gets More Room And Tech, Drops Turbo (130 Photos)

Subaru has just unveiled the fifth-generation 2019 Forester at the New York Auto Show, boasting standard EyeSight driver assist technology, an updated 2.5-liter boxer engine and a roomier interior.

Scheduled to arrive at U.S. retailers later this year, the 2019 Forester will be available in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring and Sport trim levels, all powered by an updated 182 HP 2.5-liter boxer engine with Auto Stop/Start tech.

Also, all trim levels get the Lineartronic CVT transmission and the automaker’s well-known Symmetrical all-wheel drive system as standard, while the EyeSight Driver Assist technology is also available at no extra cost.

It’s the flagship Touring spec however that debuts the DriverFocus safety system, which can alert the driver of fatigue or distraction, as well as automatically adjust certain driver settings (seat position, climate, multifunction display etc) during start-up. DriverFocus works by using facial recognition software and can also recognize up to five drivers.

It’s clever, but is it better looking?

The 2019 Forester, while boasting new styling features, doesn’t look remarkably different compared to its predecessor. The goal however, was for it to blend in well with the rest of the Subaru family.

Still, the prominent wheel arches are still there to emphasize the presence of Symmetrical AWD, front, side and rear underguards are standard on all versions and so are the new LED headlights. Roof rails are also standard on all but the base-spec version, and buyers can match high-gloss black or silver trim highlights with new colors such as Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl.

When it comes to overall size and practicality, the new Forester has grown, boasting a 105.1 inch (2,669 mm) wheelbase and 39.4-inches (1,000 mm) in rear legroom – a 1.4-inch (35.5 mm) increase over its predecessor, which had a wheelbase of 103.9 inches (2,639 mm). Furthermore, the 2019 car has a flatter load floor and an increased rear gate opening width. Subaru says that you’ll be able to load a full-size golf bag sideways without tilting it in the new Forester. Also, Limited and Touring models get a power rear gate as standard, whereas Premium and Sport buyers will be charged extra.

As for the passengers, they will be sitting more comfortably thanks to gains in headroom, hip and shoulder room, a quieter cabin, better seats, more practical center console as well as the wider rear door openings.

Let’s talk about all the features

All Forester versions get standard automatic climate control (dual-zone on Limited and Touring), and available heated front seats that come with a three-stage control as opposed to a two-stage one like before.

The Touring trim gets new heated rear seats for 2019, while Sport, Limited and Touring get Keyless Access with Push Button Start as standard – an optional extra on the Premium. Other noteworthy features would be the Subaru Starlink Connected Services (now available with Remote Engine Start), SI-Drive Engine Performance management, Electronic Parking Brake, Trailer Stability Assist, Welcome Lighting, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.

We also can’t forget about Reverse Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Trafic Alert, Steering Responsive Headlights or the Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Meet the new Forester Sport

In order to stand out from the rest of the Forester lineup, the Sport version boasts a black gloss-finish grille surround and black-finish 18-inch wheels and rear roof spoiler. Then there are the orange accents on the black underguards and roof rail mounts, whereas the interior features a unique dark grey material with orange stitching and accents throughout.

On the move, the Forester Sport uses a version of Subaru’s Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) with Intelligent and Sport Sharp modes, while the Lineartronic CVT gearbox comes with a seven-speed manual mode with steering wheel-mounted paddles. The Sport also comes with a multi-function display, LED fog lights, High Beam Assist, exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start and PIN Code Access, plus the All-Weather Package which holds heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

For added convenience, this version offers a cargo area LED light with auto-off, and a rear gate LED flood light that illuminates the area surrounding the rear gate when it’s open.

This is the most capable Forester ever

With a generous 8.7 inches (22.1 cm) of ground clearance, the 2019 Forester is better equipped than most competitors to leave the safety of tarmac for some rougher terrain, according to the automaker.

Once you’re on the move, you’ll have to rely on the updated 2.5-liter boxer engine, producing 182 HP and 176 lb-ft (238 Nm) of torque, a modest improvement over the 170 HP and 174 lb-ft (236 Nm) of torque in the previous model. Still, on paper, you should be able to accelerate quicker than before, and average up to 33 mpg (7.1 l/100km) on the highway.


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  • WG

    A subtle exterior update with the Impreza interior…. Overall it’s a bit disappointing and the new rav4 is stealing all its highlight at the show.

    • Vanishing Boy

      The Impreza interior has been going on since 2008. My 2014 XT has the same interior as the 2017 Crosstrek loaner I had for a bit.

  • Sebastien

    They dropped the turbo. I’m out. It was the only SUV with good dynamics, good engine and good fuel economy. I don’t understand.

    • willhaven

      No one bought the turbo and we all know how conservative Subaru is.

      • MarkoS

        I seen 3 turbos between Cost-Co and Trader Jose’s yesterday alone.

        • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

          That’s great.

          The take rate was less than 5% for the XT trim, that’s abysmal. No one was buying them.

          • MarkoS

            5% of total Forester sales is still 5% above normal volume which is another 9000 vehicles.

        • willhaven

          That’s still anecdotal. What if the 3 that you saw accounts for 50% of the turbos in your region? Not representative of the overall sales spread.

          Consider me disappointed either way – I’m still considering a Forester XT Turbo.

  • Toronado_II

    …but still ugly !

  • willhaven

    I can’t tell if it’s the new Forester or a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. I may need to squint more…

  • Jesse A. C. Majors

    My eyes hurt

    • Six_Tymes

      mine do too

  • Soob

    Still prefer the current generation Forester.

  • no25

    What a beautiful interior for such a bland exterior! Come on, Subaru. What happened? RAV4 is gonna destroy this.

  • salamOOn

    so its a mild facelift with a “new” interior….im a little bit disappointed. with both, this and rav4.

  • Yilmaz Yasar

    Why non-premium automakers follows design language of lexus. ı sicked and tired see dozens of unconventional lines

  • Jason Miller

    This thing gets more and more boring with each generation.

  • Sebastien

    Even Toyota can build beautiful cars now..

    • Six_Tymes


    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      Easy now!

  • Dennis Scipio

    They seriously ripped the interior from the Impreza/Crosstrek, come on.

    • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

      This is a surprise?

      This is what they’ve been doing for every single generation of the Forester….

      • Vanishing Boy

        Not entirely true. Forester was truly a unique vehicle from the 1st & 2nd generation.

        The 3rd gen got hit a HUGE dose of blandness, shares the dashboard with Impreza & killed the MT for the XT.

        Then the 4th gen gave the XT with crappy CVT.

        Then now the 5th gen kept the CVT than kills the XT. 🙁

    • Vanishing Boy

      It’s a penny-pinching practice for Subaru since 2008 with the Impreza/Forester/WRX/STI.

      My 2014 XT has a Impreza/WRX interior.

      • Dennis Scipio

        Okay, I didn’t know that until now.

  • Joe E

    How is this a new design language…? Still dorky looking.

  • Peter Vancouver

    Seeing the folks that drive a Forester these days 70+ year old, probably suits them fine.
    * I drive an Outback

  • MarkoS

    It really pains me to say this. While Subaru did not want to mess with success with its second best selling vehicle, I think that is exactly what they did, on exterior styling anyway. This doesn’t look like a evolution or redesign of the current design, it looks like a bloated, incohesive, hurriedly executed refresh. Will it sell, yes! Will it attract new buyers to Subaru, likely not so much. That said I love the interior, especially that brown leather. Outback in the cargo area its spot on as well. There is room for something in Subaru’s lineup for a more rugged looking, Outdoor Adventure vehicle above the Crosstrek, this is not it. The new RAV4 is putting Subaru on notice, it offers the urban snow belt runabout and a more outdoor lifestyle version all in one vehicle with styling that fits both. I think Subaru missed the mark here, unless it has a surprise in store. We know Subaru has the design chops, it needs to execute them.

  • Vanishing Boy

    Very evolutionary styling, inoffensive yet functional.

    They should offer a re-mapped FA20 2.0L H4 than lugging the head gasket-busting 2.5L EJ25.

    I think Subie omitted the Turbo for the sake of the 5-passenger Ascent in the future.

    With the disappearance of the XT, the 2017 is a far better buy now. The Turbo what makes the Forester unique from the crowd.

    • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

      They omitted the turbo because the take rate was less than 5%. It has nothing to do with the Ascent, it is because no one was buying it.

      • Vanishing Boy

        They could’ve kept it at least as a niche model at least, it what makes the Forester so unique in its class. I’m just sadden that Subaru is going this route, towards Blandsville.

        So now the CX-5 is the only option for a somewhat ‘exciting’ CUV now.

  • Honda NSX-R

    Looks nice, but it’s disappointing to hear that there’ll be no more Forester Turbo

    • Vanishing Boy

      The WRX/STI will be next on the chopping block soon. And based on this degradation of fun Subies, there will be no 2nd gen BRZ too.

      Remember that article that Subaru will kill the MT for the sake of safety? Seems like its coming true day-by-day!

      • Honda NSX-R

        While Toyota is trying to go from boring to fun, Subaru is going the opposite direction…

  • Nordschleife

    No disrespect to Subaru loyalist but I would be hard press to know this was a new model. I imagine fans of the company prefer it that way but it is not my cup of tea.

    • Vanishing Boy

      I’m a Subaru fan and I prefer the 2017 XT than this borefest.

  • Christian

    God damn Carsco0p! Its Subaru Forester! Not Forster…JESUS! GOD, ALLAH,!

  • Bash

    Wow, after seeing the new rav4 and the latest Santa Fe,,, this seems like a nineties car!

    • erly5

      Exactly what I was thinking!

    • Dennis Scipio

      It may have a simplistic design, but does look like a vehicle from the 90s.

  • Kate E

    Perfect for retired senior citizens. This is pretty much a taste of what the next WRX will look like.

    • Raul

      Well this will sell really strong in New Hampshire and Vermont.

    • Hello Moto ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      At this rate, there won’t be a new WRX at all.

  • 31/12/2999

    We have to kill the design boss of Subaru.

    • JimmyK

      A long time now….

    • Dennis Scipio

      you don’t have to me mean about it. people get paid to design cars for them or any other company.

    • Vanishing Boy

      If you look closely, its basically a recycled version of the 2014 model on which is a recycled version of the 2008 model.

      It’s not a the design boss’ fault, Subaru is just plain lazy.

  • erly5

    2019? This looks more like a 1999 model and even then, it would still look dull!


    how generic

  • Autoexperte

    The RAV4 is going to destroy it, isn’t t?

  • Roland Fairwater

    Wow, what an ungainly car. It’ll be safe and versatile, but without the turbo, it will likely be dreadfully slow too. Subaru have made some good cars in the past, and I was indifferent over the old Forester, but this seals Subaru’s fate in my book. I’m sure it’ll sell; I told myself to take a good look at it so I know what it is when I see 14 of them on every street corner.

  • Bo Hanan

    Porsche 911-GT3 w/ 100 photos? YES!
    Subaru Forester w/ 100 photos? NO!!

    • Obsequious Lickspittle

      Thing is, you need that amount to spot any differences.

  • klowik

    Disappointed !! it’s more about saving money.

  • Bananarama

    Subaru is truly at the bottom of the automotive design field… what a bland and lazy update. It looks like a refresh of the same model that debuted 10 years ago. Their interiors are also hideous and dated. Who thought that center stack design looked good?

    • Kate E

      Subaru is what Toyota used to be. They’re getting comfortable taking that spot now.

    • Vanishing Boy

      Subaru should release a 10th Anniversary REFRESH Edition. Since the basic architecture of this model was based on the 2008 model!

  • Front Brush

    the design looks like from 10years ago

  • Raul

    Um first of all this car doesn’t compete with the Santa Fe. It competes with the Tucson, Sportage, Cx-5, RAV4, CR-V, Escape, Equinox, Cherokee, and etc… The Santa Fe competes with the Murano and the Edge.

  • Hot Twink

    Alright. Who shrunk the Ascent? Come on, show yourself. You were supposed to wash in cold and let air dry. Not put it in the dryer.


  • Simon Wilson

    solidly boring and reliably capable. Will do well.

  • Moveon Libtards


    This site was all over itself showing teaser images…and the Subaru ends up looking exactly like a Subaru always does. Boring, normal, next…


  • Toronado_II

    They teased us with this, and we end up with this kind of “always the same vehicle”….https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1ee7648390c9930681965192e84946bdac148239fe713b21afdecaa9f30db8be.jpg

  • Romanovich

    Hyundai ?

  • BtheKing

    Still looks like an old Subaru from the front; they need a new front end theme— though if the alternative is garish like Toyota or Nissan, then OK, stick with this. From the side, it reminds me of the CR-V… nothing particularly new nor offensive. Interior seems better. Overall, an evolution, but played very safe. At least they didn’t totally ruin it.

    • Vanishing Boy

      Simply because this 2019 model is basically based on the 2008 model…

  • Enter Ranting

    A toaster oven on wheels.

  • Vanishing Boy

    Ha ha! Especially after this Forester, with the lack of XT now. I would think that there wont be a next WRX/STI.

  • Vassilis

    So the Forester joins the ever growing list of Japanese cars that the older models looked better and were cooler.

  • Elpatore

    how is this a 2019 MY?? HOW!? they could do so much better…

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