Subaru's sturdy little Forester has grown into a full-fledged compact SUV competitor, and the redesigned 2019 is bigger, adds a new trim level, has more tech and upscale options — and will cost more. The 2019 Subaru Forester base model starts at $25,270, which is $560 more than the 2018 base model with continuously variable automatic transmission. All prices here include destination, which has gone up $60 to $975.
Price increases are more for the Premium, Limited and Touring trim levels, and there is a new Sport model with sportier appearance details that slots between the Premium and Limited versions.
There was an even cheaper base version in 2018 with a manual transmission, but the stick shift has been discontinued and so has the former turbocharged engine. The powertrain for all 2019s will be a 182-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with the CVT and the standard all-wheel drive system with electronic torque-vectoring. All 2019 models also have a version of Subaru's EyeSight driver aid and safety technology that includes automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
In addition to those other standard features, the base Forester comes with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and a multimedia system with two USB ports that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Subaru's Starlink apps.
The step-up Premium trim level starts at $27,670, a $1,060 increase over 2018, and adds standard 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and a spoiler, privacy glass, a panoramic moonroof and Subaru's off-road X-Mode with hill descent control. The interior gets upgraded materials, a power driver's seat and rear seat climate vents. Also, more options are available, including push-button start, Wi-Fi hot spot (with subscription), Starlink safety and security services, heated front seats, rear seat USB ports, a power liftgate and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert.
Building on the Premium is the new Sport trim level starting at $29,770, which adds a gloss black grille, trim and rear liftgate, as well as black 18-inch wheels. The black trim is accented with orange details, a color echoed in the contrast stitching and accent trim in the dark gray interior, which has heated front seats and push-button start. The Sport model also gets a drive mode system that adds Intelligent and Sport Sharp driving modes, an upgrade of the AWD system with Dual X-Mode for more capability (snow, dirt and mud settings) and a seven-speed manual mode with paddle shifters for the CVT. Options include an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system and Harmon Kardon premium audio.
The Limited trim level starts at $31,770, up $1,460 from 2018, and adds standard 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic high beams, adaptive LED headlights and a standard power liftgate. Inside it adds leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control. Options include reverse automatic braking, an 8-inch touchscreen system with navigation and Harmon Kardon premium audio.
Topping the line is the loaded Touring model starting at $35,270, an increase of $1,265 from 2018. It builds on the Limited with its own 18-inch alloy wheels, and chrome door handles and exterior mirror caps. The interior includes exclusive black or brown leather trim, heated rear seats, and power driver's and front-passenger seats. Also included are the manual shift mode with paddle shifters, reverse automatic braking, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, premium audio and a new DriverFocus safety system that uses facile recognition to monitor driver alertness as well as remember the seat, mirror and climate settings for up to five faces.
The bigger 2019 Forester now rides on a version of Subaru's new global platform, which increases the wheelbase by more than an inch to 105.1 inches, adding 1.4 inches of backseat legroom and increasing maximum cargo capacity by 1.4 cubic feet. The 2019 also has a bigger tailgate opening that's wider by more 5 inches and a flatter load floor with the rear seatbacks folded. The 2019 Subaru Forester will go on sale this fall, taking on intense competition among compact SUVs, including a redesigned 2019 Toyota RAV or which pricing has not yet been announced.
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