All-new Subaru Forester debuts with fresh look, improved tech

Published Nov 17, 2023


The sixth-generation Subaru Forester revealed itself to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, complete with updated cabin electronics and a new exterior design that’s arguably more American than Japanese.

Neat and purposeful but perhaps a little generic the styling is a bit, well…Wisteria Lane perhaps, designed to blend in with white picket fences and all the other suburban middle class illusions of civility.

But apart from that odd bug-eyed Impreza experiment of the early noughties, Subaru has always played it safe in the design department and that approach will no doubt prove to be a winning recipe once again in the new model.

The new Forester is 30mm longer and 13mm wider than the current model, while riding on the same 2,669mm wheelbase, and structurally speaking Subaru claims to have improved torsional rigidity by 10%.

Subaru’s highly capable Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is standard - and that pretty much goes without saying - but the latest version fitted to the Forester has undergone some improvements to make it more responsive than before. Top models also receive an X-Mode with Hill Descent Control to enhance grip on slippery surfaces.

Power comes from a normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine that delivers 134kW and 241Nm, and its partner in life is a Lineartronic CVT gearbox, with a manual mode in higher end versions.

The latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist technology features as standard, in the US market at least. With a wider field of vision and updated control software, Subaru says it operates smoother and quicker than before, and under a wider range of conditions.

What’s more, models fitted with Blind-Spot Detection and Lane Keep Assist receive a further safety boost in the form of Automatic Emergency Steering. Also on offer is a 360-degree Surround View Monitor powered by four cameras.

The new Forester’s cabin tech arsenal includes a new 11.6-inch (29.4cm) high-resolution infotainment system with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto. A Starlink voice-activated navigation system with what3words integration is also available.

Base models, however, ship with a more rudimentary 7.0-inch (17.8cm) system.

All this, of course, applies to the US version of the new Subaru Forester, which is classified as a 2025 model even though it goes on sale in the first half of 2024. South African details and availability will be announced at a later stage.