When Subaru launched the original Forester in 1997, it was a quirky crossover pioneer. More than two decades later, the North American market has come to the Japanese brand, and the fifth-generation Forester plunges head-first into the hard-fought and fast-growing 'compact' SUV segment.
The new car becomes the latest model to move to the Subaru Global Platform that broke cover with the 2017 Impreza. Subaru says that the stiffer architecture brings advantages in terms of steering precision, ride comfort, occupant safety and boot space.
The classic recipe of boxer engine and permanent four-wheel drive is retained. Also returning, in updated form, is Subaru’s Eyesight driver assistance system, while an infrared distraction mitigation technology called Driver Focus is brand-new.
The new Forester will replace the current model in the UK around the end of this year. The US and Canada get a new direct-injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to an upgraded CVT gearbox, but while the latter is expected to feature in UK cars, it’s not yet known what engine will be offered.
New SUV is a distinctive alternative to mainstream opposition, with off-road credibility that few soft-roaders can match
Subaru Forester specification
Tested Osoyoos, Canada Price £30,000 (est) On sale Late 2018 Engine four-cylinder, 2498cc, petrol Power 182bhp at 5800rpm Torque 176lb ft at 4400rpm Gearbox CVT, all-wheel drive Kerb weight 1610kg Top speed na 0-62mph 9.3sec Fuel economy 34mpg CO2 na Rivals Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4