The subtle styling changes, rather than a more dramatic shift to the modern, curvy lines of many of its peers, has a few advantages. Forester’s boxy shape makes good use of the bigger platform to provide passenger accommodation and luggage space that few in the class can match.
There is ample leg and head room in both the front and rear, while the larger luggage compartment is complemented by a bigger rear-door opening for easier loading. Revised pillar design and a low waistline means visibility is arguably best-in-class.
Interior presentation has also been smartened up, and attention to detail is first class. The controls are busy but logically placed and easy to use. Unfortunately, Subaru persists with the awkward roof-mounted top anchor for the centre rear seatbelt.
The previous Forester line-up has been substantially culled to four of the most popular variants −the 2.5i, 2.5i-L, 2.5i Premium and 2.5i-S. All use the same upgraded engine, transmission and driveline. Pricing ranges from $33,490 to $41,490 (plus on-road costs).
Subaru’s third-generation EyeSight driver-assist system, which features autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist and enhanced pedestrian avoidance, is now standard across the range. Other standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
For this review we tested the entry-level 2.5i, which is well equipped for a base model but misses some of the more advanced features bestowed upon higher-spec models. At the Forester launch, we also drove the 2.5i Premium and 2.5i-S, which provided the opportunity to try some of Subaru’s new technology, including the driver-recognition system and driver-monitoring system, as well as the reverse automatic braking.
Subaru is the first mainstream brand in Australia to employ this type of driver recognition and monitoring system. It can recognise up to five drivers, and (depending on the model grade) automatically adjust the air-conditioning, some instrument displays, and the seat and mirror positioning to suit each driver’s preferences. In our brief encounter, the DMS was fiddly to set up and like Subaru’s excellent EyeSight system, it works well but can be a touch sensitive at times.