2019 Subaru Forester Launches a New Generation – AAA Auto Buying Review
The 2019 Subaru Forester begins the fifth generation with the Japanese company proudly noting 97% of all Foresters sold in the past ten years remain on the road. That complements Kelly Blue Book’s high resale value year after year.
2019 Subaru Forester Review
The Subaru Forester remains a compact SUV but becomes longer, wider and taller for 2019 using Subaru’s more rigid Global Platform that currently underpins Subaru’s all-wheel-drive Ascent, Crosstrek and Impreza. The Global Platform’s suspension vastly improves the ride, swallowing road imperfections and improving off-road wanderings.
All Foresters must use a 2.5-liter boxer engine now with continuous variable transmission that isn’t as muscular as the previously optional 2.0-liter turbo-charged engine. The result is more miles per gallon and an expanded gas tank extent driving range above 500 miles per fill-up and Subaru’s SI-Drive maximizes engine performance for top efficiency.
A stop-start feature has also been added to improve gas mileage. It is clunky but can be shut off.
The 2019 Subaru Forester has five trim options – Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. We test-drove the Touring with no add-ons. Three drive modes let you chose snow, mud or normal driving with the Global Platform aiding off-roading adventures on 18-inch wheels. Ground clearance remains 8.7-inches.
Inside, the cabin is classy and roomy, mixing comfort and functionality with leather-trimmed, stitched upholstery. Fit and finish is excellent, all seating positions are heated, comfortable for adults and high-tech features plentiful enough to attract millennials.
Subaru’s proprietary EyeSight provides a suite of cutting-edge safety aids, now augmented with the Touring trim’s DriverFocus system. It facially recognizes drivers and automatically adjusts mirrors, seat, temperature, etc. to driver preference.
Underway, two cameras watch the driver’s eyes, beeping a warning when eyes stray from the road for more than three seconds or a drowsy driver begins to nod off. When stopped and the vehicle in front of you drives off and you aren’t paying attention (cell phone?), Forester also alerts.
Active safety features appear between dashboard gauges and a recessed cowl above the touch-screen showing audio, temperature and climate controls.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Sirius XM are now standard and the CD player is gone.
The 8-inch, graphically sharp touch-screen has a beehive of drill-down icons. Voice-activated navigation/info maps were current and upgraded free for three years. Harman/Kardon premium audio uses nine speakers for clear and clean sound.
A widened automatic rear gate opens to increased cargo space and storage trays hide beneath the cargo floor mat and sit above a spare tire.
2019 Subaru Forrester at a Glance
LIKES: Reliability, versatility, spaciousness, ride, off-road prowess, visibility
DISLIKES: Jerky stop/start, reduced power, no CD player, minor wind noise
BOTTOM LINE: Safety, reliability and performance make it a top-notch compact SUV
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested world-wide market.