By Cars.com EditorsJanuary 11, 2019
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The Subaru Forester is a fuss-free blend of practicality, safety and comfort. The fifth-generation Subaru Forester is a good thing made even better. Here are five of the most significant changes for 2019.
I've long been a fan of the Subaru Forester for its first free blend of practicality, safety and comfort. For 2019, it's revised and gets more of everything.
The fifth generation of the new model may not look new, it's updates are subtle outside but it got a lot of big changes. Here are five of the most significant. All wheel drive again returns and so does the 2.5 liter four cylinder but it's been updated for more horsepower and more torque. It's strong off the line and adequate on the highway. Subaru says it's also good for slightly better fuel economy versus the previous generation and a fuel saving automatic stop-start system is now standard. Also back is the CVT which feels convincingly like a traditional transmission because of its seven artificial steps that mimic your changes. It's the sole transmission this year, the stick shift is no longer available. What I don't like about this pairing is that it's loud. In fact, there's a lot of noise, road, wind and engine noise are pretty intrusive. Another disappointment for 2019 is the lack of the optional turbo engine. It added some more pep but Subaru said, few people opted for it. Next ride quality is improved. The new Forester now rides on Subaru's new global platform that first debuted on the new Impreza. And as with that smaller car, the new platform has improved ride quality, body roll is nicely checked and bumps are well damped. Overall, the Forester has stable composed road manners. The cabin is also nicer for 2019. The Forester always had a no nonsense look and that's back this year, but it's dressed up a little bit more with nicer materials and a more modern design. Fitting with the modern theme is the updated multimedia system which Subaru is rolling out throughout its lineup. The touchscreen sits in a great spot on the dash and is responsive and easy to use. Room is also up this year. In front, there's more small items storage spaces, thanks to a new electronic parking brake. The front center console box is larger and there's an extra cubby. In back there's more room but this time it's for legs. The Forester's new platform translates to over an inch more rear leg room. Two adults will fit comfortably back here and two car seats should have plenty of room. Even the space hogging rear facing seats. Also caregivers with kids in car seats should appreciate the Foresters extra latch anchor in the middle. It makes the car more flexible in terms of car seat installation. Maximum cargo volume is also up this year and the seats fold down easily in a 60-40 split. This opening is also wider to make cargo loading easier. The previous model offered a lot of active safety features with the eyesight package. For 2019, eyesight is standard across the lineup. Equipment includes forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. In addition, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert with automatic braking are available as options. As is a new driver monitoring system with facial recognition that watches for signs of driver fatigue or distraction and alerts the driver when necessary. One of the Forester's biggest safety high points hasn't changed for 2019. It retains its excellent forward and rear visibility. Thanks to huge upright windows and narrow pillars. The 2019 Forester starts just over $25,000, that's $560 more than a base 2018 model when equipped with the then optional CVT. Yes, it's more expensive but the added safety features alone, make it worth it. The Forester has never been fancy or fun to drive and this model is no exception, but it's practical and comfortable. And for 2019 Subaru made an even good thing better.
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