The new design isn’t much of a giveaway, even though the 2019 Subaru Forester switches to the Subaru Global Platform that made its debut on the 2017 Impreza. One way to tell you’re driving the fifth generation of this SUV icon is to check your calendar to see if it’s Autumn of 2018, when it goes on sale.
Here are a five more clues…
1. The new Forester Sport.
It’s an appearance package, with black grille and 18-inch wheels and other trim, with orange accents on top of that. There’s also a dual-function X-Mode to limit slipping wheels under various road surface conditions, and SI-Drive adding a seven-step manual mode to the Lineartronic CVT (no more manual option for the new Forester). SI-Drive lets you choose between Intelligent mode and Sport Sharp mode for the shifting algorithm.
2. It’s watching you…
…if you spring for the top-trim Touring model, which adds to the standard Eyesight Driver Assist a facial recognition camera that can tell if you’re asleep at the wheel. The camera is in the top-middle of the center stack, and can tell the car to come to a complete stop if the driver is not awake.
3. It has more power, better gas mileage.
Well, a bit of both, anyway. The updated 2.5-liter H-4 gets gas direct-injection, with 12 more ponies and two more pound-feet, to 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. Auto stop/start also is standard, and Subaru expects a maximum EPA fuel economy number of 33 mpg highway, 1 mpg better than the outgoing model.
4. Cargo capacity is up by 1.9 cubic-feet.
Total cargo capacity with the 60/40 rear seat down is 76.1 cubic feet.
5. Subaru used cool tricks to make the Forester feel roomier.
For example, the taillamps have been moved out and to the side of the rear of the body, so as not to intrude into the tailgate opening. Loading and unloading the cargo space will be easier.