Subaru has revealed the latest version of its biggest and most practical offering - the Forester SUV - and it’s just as willfully quirky as ever. Yes, it still has a symmetrical all-wheel drive system, and yes, it’s still powered by a boxer-four.
It already sounds like one massive anachronism on wheels, but just to reinforce that further, the 2.5-litre engine is naturally-aspirated. It’s also more powerful than the one in the outgoing Forester, now making 180bhp and 176lb ft of torque. In terms of economy, you can expect 33mpg (highway), based on those slightly smaller US-measured gallons.
The engine - we’re afraid - is only available with a CVT gearbox, although if you opt for a Sport or Touring-trimmed Forester, you do at least get a manual mode that “simulates” a seven-speed manual via steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The wheelbase is around 5cm longer than before, helping Subaru squeeze in more head, hip and shoulder room. The boot’s bigger this time too, allowing you to pack in many lifestyle things.
Despite its old-school sensibilities, there is still some very up-to-date tech on offer here. Chief among which is DriverFocus, a facial recognition system which aims to combat distracted driving. As a bonus, it can also ‘recognise’ anything up to five drivers - once it’s read the face, it’ll know who’s driving, and adjust the seat position, climate control settings and the multifunction display to suit. Clever.
In terms of looks it’s all still pleasantly utilitarian, if a little…safe. We were hoping it would have taken a little more inspiration from the Viziv Future concept. Since it hasn’t, we should probably expect the next WRX to look rather a lot less like the Viziv Performance concept than we’d like. Come on Subaru, you know you want to be a little more daring…
The 2019 Forester is on display now at the New York Auto Show.