SUBARU has refreshed the car it says started the SUV revolution, with new
safety and comfort gear, light styling tweaks and locally developed chassis
tune without a bump to pricing, with the entry-level 2.0i-L manual opening
proceedings from $29,990 before on-road costs.
Headlining the 2016 Forester is its mild facelift which brings a new
re-sculpted front bumper to all but the top-spec XT variants, a new-look
grille, headlights with C-shaped LED daytime running lights and fresh foglight
surrounds for the higher-end versions.
At the back end, the update is limited to a new tail-light design, which
incorporates C-shaped LED lighting to match the new headlight design.
For 2.5i-S, XT and XT Premium variants, the Forester also gets Steering
Responsive LED headlights to focus the whiter beam around corners as the
steering is turned.
A new Sepia Bronze Metallic paint option and new 17-inch and 18-inch alloy
wheel designs complete the exterior revamp.
On the inside the Forester offers a more comfortable place for occupants with
enhancements made to noise, vibration and harshness levels (NVH) such as
quilting on door trims, thicker seat cushioning and window glass, and padding
added to either end of the instrument panel.
A more aerodynamic wheel design and engine under-body panelling cuts turbulence
to reduce wind noise, as well as increasing fuel-efficiency. Subaru estimates
the NVH reduction to be in the region of five per cent.
While all variants except i-L Foresters get the company’s acclaimed EyeSight
stereoscopic camera safety tech, Subaru says it will respond to customer demand
for a more accessible version with a new EyeSight Special Edition on the way
NVH levels have been further reduced by a retune of the Forester’s chassis,
which has also improved the handling and road manner, according to Subaru.
Following the model’s launch in Australia, Subaru’s local engineering team
fettled the suspension with different damper and spring rates, as well as new
mounting bushes to hone the Forester’s handling for local roads and conditions.
Rear suspension geometry has been redesigned for better straight-line stability.
A new steering box has reduced the Forester’s rack ratio down from 15.5:1 to
14:1 for greater feel and reduced turns from lock to lock, but also reduces
felt vibrations, says Subaru.
The XT Premium has been treated to Vehicle Dynamics Control (VCD) torque
vectoring, which applies inside wheel brake force in fast cornering to mitigate
As far as the rest of the Forester’s specification goes, it is business as
usual with the powertrain and variant line-up unchanged.
Base 2.0i-L Foresters are available with a manual gearbox only and with the
2.0-litre horizontally opposed petrol engine, producing 110kW and 198Nm finding
all four wheels via Subaru’s synonymous symmetrical all-wheel drive system and
a six-speed self-serve box.
Fuel consumption is the best of the petrol Foresters, with 7.2 litres consumed
per 100km on the combined cycle.
Moving up to the 2.5i-L and 2.5i-S brings an extra 0.5-litres of capacity to
the naturally aspirated boxer-four engine and a corresponding 126kW/235Nm. The
2.5-litre is only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and
burns through 8.1L/100km.
The 2.0-XT Forester variants have a turbo added to the 2.0-litre four-cylinder,
pumping petrol power up to 177kW and 350Nm. Fuel consumption is rated at
While the i-L and XT 2.0-litre petrol engines differ in capacity by just three
cubic centimetres, the naturally aspirated boxer has an undersquare stroke
ratio for more low-down torque, while the turbo version has a relatively
unusual square ratio for a balance of free-revving power and torque.
The Forester’s only diesel option matches the turbo XT for torque, but forfeits
some power with a maximum of 108kW at 3600 rpm. The 2.0D-L and 2.0D-S are
economy champs of the range though, posting a figure of 6.3L/100km for the
automatic, or 5.9L/100km when paired with a manual gearbox.
The i-L and D-L variants share equipment levels with a 7.0-inch touchscreen and
Pandora, USB and Bluetooth compatibility in addition to the driver’s
Multi-information display and Multi-function display, idle-stop, leather
steering wheel and 60:40 split rear seating.
Safety gets a good look in with Isofix child seat anchors, reversing camera,
seven airbags including full-length curtain, seatbelt warning for all five
seats, shock-absorbing pedals for the driver, ESC, ABS and EBD with brake
Wheels measure 17 inches while a roof spoiler, roof rails, chrome grille and
colour-coordinated door mirrors with indicator repeaters are standard.
The 2.5i-L variants add to that list with paddle shifters for the CVT auto,
sliding centre armrest, and Subaru’s X-Mode for displaying vehicle information
when travelling off-road.
i-S versions generally align with D-S level cars with navigation, power
tailgate, sunroof, Subaru’s EyeSight safety technology with autonomous braking,
heated front seats, leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, keyless start and
Stepping up to the XT adds three SI-Drive modes, sports pedals, but do not get
the EyeSight technology, while the XT Premium sits at the top of the kit pack
with EyeSight, keyless entry, Harman Kardon stereo, power adjustable front
seats, de-icing wipers and mirrors.