FORESTER GETS ITS GAME FACE ON

ASH WESTERMAN

Subaruís fifth-generation Forester, unveiled at the New York Auto Show and due in Australia around September, is set to have its eye on you. Well, more accurately, its cabin-mounted camera will. The midsize SUVís Driver Monitoring System (DMS) examines the driverís face for signs of fatigue and also delivers a convenience benefit in terms of facial recognition, enabling automatic adjustment of a bunch of individual driver settings such as seat position, climate-control temperature, and exterior mirrors.

Yet DMS is arguably less significant than Subaruís radical rethink of its Australian line-up. The Forester will be offered solely with a heavily revised version of the FA25 2.5-litre flat four, now making 136kW (up 10kW) at 5800rpm and 239Nm (up 4Nm) at 4400rpm. The default transmission will be a Lineartronic CVT automatic, offering stepped faux-manual ratios.

This single powertrain will be spread across three, possibly four Forester models, built on the Subaru Global Platform (SPG) that also underpins Impreza and XV. Along with a slightly larger, stiffer body, it delivers improved accommodation, rear seat accessibility, and cabin quality. Wheelbase grows 30mm to 2670mm, while overall length is 4625mm. The boot aperture is bigger, luggage room has expanded, while ground clearance reduces by 20mm.

In real terms, pricing wonít move significantly upwards, but dumping the smaller-engined manual is likely to put the new base model at around $34,000, stretching to mid-$40s for the as-yet-unnamed topspec Forester.

ASH WESTERMAN