Subaru unveils a new Forester that is more refined, safer and more comfortable
The Subaru Forester is a household name to Canadians, and has been one of the brand’s best-selling vehicles in the country since its arrival in 1997.
At the time, Forster was a new player in a booming sector. “Car-like” crossovers didn’t really exist in the late 1990s, which is hard to imagine now when roughly one in three cars sold in Canada is a compact crossover.
“When it was launched in 1997, the Forester was a class leader and had standard all-wheel drive, exceptional visibility, lots of versatility and capability, car-like handling, and solid fuel efficiency,” says Evan Lindsay. Automotive Line Manager for Subaru Canada. “At the time a lot of the competitors were truck-based SUVs.”
The 2025 Subaru Forester, which was unveiled at the 2023 AutoMobility LA show on Thursday, features a fresh new design that aims to look more premium and also improve aerodynamics. Not only does this make the car more fuel efficient, but the company says it also enhances driving dynamics. “There’s a lot of sculpting in the profile around the wheel arches, which enhances the look of the car, making it look sturdier and a little more rugged,” Lindsay tells The Globe and Mail. “It’s more aesthetically pleasing, adding a more luxurious feel, yet we’ve kept the low beltline and long greenhouse, and inside we’ve kept the interior dimensions and cargo capacity.”
The luxurious feel continues in the completely redesigned cabin, starting with more comfortable and supportive front seats and ample head and legroom. They also adjusted the seat shoulders to make it easier for front seat passengers to interact with passengers in the back.
Subaru says sound insulation has been improved, including a 39 percent reduction in noise coming from the roof, and new air vents blow air more quietly. There’s a 3D design pattern on the dashboard and Subaru says there are plenty of hidden Easter eggs to be found throughout the cabin.
On base models, dual 7-inch central displays are standard with an 11.6-inch image-oriented display available on higher trims. With the big screen comes wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless phone charging pad. The gauge cluster is analogue with a digital display in the middle.
Power will come from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 180 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. While power outputs are similar, the engine’s internals have been overhauled, and the CVT transmission has 80 percent new components to reduce vibrations and increase efficiency.
The new Forester is stiffer and should ride better than before with more than three times the amount of structural adhesive, a double-pinion electronic steering rack pulled from the WRX, redesigned front and rear suspension and an available sport suspension. Subaru is quick to point out that the Forester with the sport suspension isn’t meant for corner carving, but it can be seen as a mild dynamic upgrade over the base model.
An enhanced version 4 of Eyesight (Subaru’s driver-assistance system) will be standard across the board and uses a single, wide-angle camera to better detect pedestrians and cyclists and operate more smoothly under a variety of conditions. If the driver becomes unresponsive behind the wheel, the new Emergency Stop Assist can safely stop the vehicle, activate the hazard lights and unlock the doors. If “STARLINK” is equipped (first available on the Forester), it will also make a call to emergency services. The Forester will also get a surround-view monitor that provides a 360-degree overhead view of the car and its surroundings. This function will be useful when parking the car.
Subaru buyers are a loyal bunch and changing a car too drastically can be detrimental, so the approach to the new redesign really takes this into account. “We kept all those core attributes[with the new Forester]and made sure that the Forester was unique; the greenhouse, the driving dynamics, all those elements were maintained but again from a design, technology, quality and refinement perspective, we really tried to move the needle forward,” says Lindsay. To broaden its appeal and make it more competitive.” “It is a very important sector not only for the industry as a whole, but also for Subaru.”
Five models will be available at launch: Convenience, Touring, Sport, Limited and Premier. Standard equipment will include alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a windshield wiper defroster, Eyesight 4.0, USB C and A ports, a next-generation infotainment system and an integrated rear spoiler. An enhanced off-road Wilderness model will be offered at some point in the future.
Subaru also confirmed that a hybrid model will join the lineup, but was unable to provide dates or any additional information about it.
Expect to see the new 2025 Subaru Forester in dealerships by spring of 2024.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. The content was not subject to approval.
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