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Future models - Subaru - Forester

Subaru prepares to press Forester reset

Rev up: Subaru will be hoping to replicate the sales success of its new Impreza when the related fifth-generation Forester – perhaps with a few styling cues from its 2015 Viziv concept (left) – ventures into global showrooms next year.

All-new Subaru Forester coming down the pipeline for a second-half 2018 launch

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Subaru logo3 Nov 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

SUBARU’S top seller in Australia, the venerable Forester, is poised for a complete makeover in 2018 to put it back among the medium SUV segment leaders, most of which have received major overhauls in recent times.

Although rollout details of the all-new Forester are still under wraps, Subaru insiders suggest it will make its public appearance in the first half of next year before being wheeled into showrooms in the second half.

Subaru appears to fancy the New York motor show for big splashes, so we are guessing the Big Apple will host the Forester reveal in late March.

One thing’s for sure: the fifth generation Forester will join the new Impreza and XV on the new flexible Subaru Global Platform that has been engineered to cut noise and vibration, improve ride comfort, increase rigidity, and enhance handling.

The new 1.6-litre turbo-petrol boxer engine recently introduced on the Levorg wagon would also appear to be a no-brainer for Forester, which competes in the all-important, fast-growing mid-sized SUV segment that accounts for almost 17 per cent of Australian vehicle sales.

This 1.6-litre engine delivers 125kW of power from 4800rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1800rpm to 4800rpm. This would be an increase of 15kW and 52Nm over the current base 2.0-litre petrol engine of the current generation Forester that dates from 2013.

Paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), this powerplant consumes 7.4 litres per 100km in Levorg GT – a fraction more than the normally aspirated current 2.0-litre engine (7.2L/100km).

However, the new Forester on its new platform could be expected to be lighter, pulling that figure down a bit.

The old 2.5-litre petrol boxer engine is also expected to be phased out, but it is unclear if the 197kW 2.0-litre direct-injected turbo boxer engine – shared by the WRX and upmarket Levorg GT-S – will replace it in the new Forester.

Another question mark hangs over the diesel variants. With one or two medium SUV car-makers such as Honda dumping diesel from their latest ranges, Subaru might see fit to exchange the oil burner for a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that reportedly is already in the works for debut in XV in the next few months.

For Forester, Subaru will be looking for a similar sales fillup as the new Impreza, sales of which have rocketed up 143 per cent this year.

To the end of September, the company’s Australian importer has unloaded 9177 Imprezas, which places the small car just behind long-time leader Forester (9736) on the Subaru sales ladder.

Against competitors, Forester is currently ranked seventh, with plenty of work to do to catch market number one, the Mazda CX-5 (19,187).

Although the current Forester is about to enter its final year, sales are hanging on well, down just 3.3 per cent on the same period of 2016.

XV sales are up, by 12.6 per cent to 6772 units this year, suggesting buyers are indeed warming to Subaru’s new breed of smooth-driving models.

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