The fifth-generation Subaru Forester is now in town



Latest version of Subaru’s original SUV gets a new platform and more safety tech, but loses turbocharged XT variant

SINGAPORE – No, thine eyes doth not deceive you. The car you see before you may look nearly identical to the current Subaru Forester that’s been on sale since 2013, but worry not, this is genuinely an all-new car.

This fifth-generation Forester was launched in Singapore at the end of October, and is priced from $111,800 with Certificate of Entitlement (COE).

The new Forester is the third vehicle to be built on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), which debuted on the current Impreza and XV crossover, and will go on to underpin the next Legacy and Outback too. Subaru claims improvements to handling, ride comfort, and most importantly, crash safety, thanks to SGP’s extra strength.

Subaru not only wants the Forester to protect you in a crash, it wants to avoid those situations entirely. That’s why the Forester also comes with EyeSight, Subaru’s name for its suite of active safety and driver assistance tech. Features include automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start alert, lane departure and lane sway warning.

For the first time, a turbocharged Forester is sadly nowhere to be found. That’s right, Subaru has dropped the 240hp XT model, with a new naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit the sole engine option. It’s slightly more powerful than before, with 156hp and 196Nm of torque, but the lack of a turbo’d variant is still a massive shame, as the ‘symmetrical’ awd system and low-mounted boxer engine layout meant the old Forester was one of the few SUVs that actually made you want to drive fast down a twisty road.

The Forester is available in two trim levels, i-L and i-S. The former comes with electric front seats, 8.0-inch display with navigation, auto headlamps and wipers, cruise control and a rear view camera.

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Stump up $7000 extra for the i-S ($117,800), and you also get 18-inch wheels (instead of 17s), a panoramic sunroof, blindspot monitoring, lane change assist, powered tailgate and rear cross traffic alert.

The Forester is arguably Subaru’s most important product, constituting over half of the brand’s global sales, so if there’s any one car they need to get right, it’s this. And while the lack of a performance option might alienate the brand’s hardcore enthusiasts, the increased focus on safety should also mean the making of new, more family-minded fans.

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Jon Lim
CarBuyer's latest addition is its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s. He also strongly believes any car can be a race car if you have a sufficient lack of self-preservation, which explains why he nearly flipped a Chinese van while racing it.