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The 2019 Subaru Forester enters fifth generation with a subtle makeover

Among the many reveals at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, Subaru introduced an all-new, fifth generation Forester. Despite looking almost exactly like the outgoing model, the 2019 Subaru Forester is actually completely new from the ground up, featuring new changes and design elements.

Because the Subaru Forester is such a popular model for the brand, the company took the approach of “don’t fix what ain’t broke.” The outgoing Subaru Forester is already a top-selling hit, so to keep old buyers interested while tickling the interest of new buyers, Subaru actually kept its changes to the Forester rather subtle.

The new Forester rides on Subaru’s latest modular Global platform, along with a revised version of its signature 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated boxer flat-four. And there’s even a new Sport trim model, offering unique exterior and interior styling upgrades. The car also grows slightly in size, with the wheelbase increased by a little more than an inch to 105.1 inches, up from 103.9. The result is a bump in rear seat legroom and overall interior space.

The usual trims of Premium, Limited, and Touring remain, with the new Sport trim joining the lineup. All receive the same 2.5-liter boxer flat-four engine, with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of twist, in addition to fuel-saving auto stop/start tech. Helping to channel the power to the axles is Subaru’s latest Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). And of course, being a Subaru, the company’s legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is standard across the board.

Other highlights of the latest Subaru Forester include the company’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which alerts the driver of distractions and fatigue while on the road, and is standard on all-new Foresters. This tech also includes Subaru’s DriverFocus, which constantly monitors the driver’s movements, specifically detecting the position of the driver’s eyes, and enunciating a warning when those eyes aren’t facing forward. Ultimately, the idea of EyeSight and DriverFocus is to reduce distracted and fatigued driving. DriverFocus is standard on the Touring model, and optional on all others.

As for the new Sport model, it receives a long list of unique exterior and interior styling elements, bespoke 18-inch wheels, a standard rear spoiler, and orange accents with flat-black under-guards and roof-rail mounts.

The Forester Sport also receives an exclusive version of Subaru’s Intelligent Drive, or SI-Drive. The SI-Drive system in the Sport gets special Intelligent and Sport Sharp Modes. Choose one of the latter and it adjusts the behavior of the Forester Sport’s Lineartronic CVT, which is programmed to simulate seven forward gears.

Subaru didn’t state when the new Forester launches, but we anticipate it to begin surfacing in the closest showroom near you later in the year, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.

If you’re in town, be sure to check out the 2019 Subaru Forester on the floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center next week.

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