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Next Subaru Forester set for EyeSight tech

Snapshot: Leaked brochure images of the new Forester emerged last month, with a new version of Subaru’s EyeSight system included among the details.

Subaru’s EyeSight safety system in mix for bigger, comfier, more economical Forester

20 Oct 2012

SUBARU is confident its forthcoming fourth-generation Forester will appeal to a broader audience with the introduction of new technology such as the innovative EyeSight preventative safety system.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said the company was working to broaden the application of EyeSight – which incorporates technology such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, pre-collision braking, throttle management and brake assist – beyond high-series Liberty and Outback models.

All indications are that the system will be introduced on mid- to high-spec variants of the new Forester at launch in the first quarter of next year, with Subaru Australia aiming to introduce the technology as standard across every model line – a process that should take place before the end of this decade, according to Mr Senior.

He also said Subaru had addressed a number of other key issues with the new Forester, such as improving fuel consumption and cabin comfort.

“The critical areas that the factory have worked on (are) fuel consumption and transmissions – and interior has been one of the areas of feedback from customers,” he said.

“We’ve got a couple of surprises in the car that enhances its lifestyle and recreational purpose, and we’ve also got a few features in the car that broaden its appeal for a more general audience.

“So we’re excited about it. All the areas that we’ve had feedback we’ve addressed, plus I think we’ve upped the ante in a couple of areas as well – (in) technology and a couple of spec features.”

Leaked brochure images and information on the redesigned Forester that surfaced on the internet last month revealed the new model had been developed with a ‘Version 2.0’ of the EyeSight system.

It also pointed to larger dimensions all-round for the new SUV, a bigger cargo-carrying capacity and, among driveline improvements, the introduction of a new six-speed manual gearbox and a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Expect both petrol and diesel powertrains, including a turbo-petrol XT flagship, but Mr Senior said an automatic diesel variant would not be available until later, probably at the Forester’s midlife upgrade.

Two-wheel-drive variants will definitely not be included.

“We are committed to all-wheel drive in that segment and remain committed,” Mr Senior said. “We will not and cannot compete with everyone on price at two-wheel-drive levels.”

Eyesight, however, is a sure bet from launch.

“We’ve said all along that EyeSight is a part of our line-up moving forward, that we would be looking at introducing it to more of our models,” said Mr Senior when asked whether it would appear on the new Forester.

“You can see that it’s now standard on the (Liberty) X sedan and we will be having it on more.

“With the new Forester – there’s a couple of other things, not so much technology but good selling points in the showroom.”

Mr Senior said EyeSight would be standard on every model in Subaru’s range by 2020 “without a shadow of a doubt”, but the critical factor was “how far forward we can bring that timetable”.

“It comes down to money, the rollout of the individual vehicles, etc,” he said.

“It will be filtering down on a whole lot more models next year. It’s a matter of when, not if, it gets down to our entry-level models.”

Mr Senior said the technology added about $2000 to the cost of each vehicle, which was a significant amount in terms of the percentage of each model variant.

“We’ve been limited in putting it out (in promotion) at the market at the moment because it’s only been on the $60,000 cars, but to get it down into cars with broader appeal will help – by word of mouth, and we’ll be spending a bit of money advertising it next year as well.”

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