Subaru’s Forester isn’t a car that has appeared on our site very often, however it’s a little known but great car – it’s still the only 4×4 that drives like a rally car – and Subaru promises that the energy efficiency of the new model has been improved. The new Forester is due in the UK in spring, and it’s already gone on sale in Japan. And this time there’s a diesel for the UK, although this won’t be available until September.
Details about the petrol version (as available in Japan) have been released, and there is a raft of improvements to make the Boxer engine more efficient, although no definitive fuel consumption or emissions figures are yet published.
Subaru says that the third-generation Forester is a new-generation crossover SUV, “designed around the concept of Best Package for Active Life, which blends high levels of comfort, performance, versatility, and safety to create the best and most versatile vehicle for drivers and their families to enjoy an active lifestyle.”
Subaru goes on to say that since its launch in February 1997 the Forester has earned accolades in Japan and overseas as a crossover SUV that combines passenger car comfort, handling and convenience with the high seating points and rugged off-road capability of an SUV.
In advance of the diesel, there will be three new Forester models – and check out Subaru’s wording about fuel economy!
Compared to the previous model, the new Forester is 110mm taller (excluding the roof rail) and 45mm wider, and its wheelbase has been expanded by 90mm, increasing interior space and improving riding comfort.
Off-road capability is further improved by optimisation of approach and departure angles, coupled with a generous 225mm ground clearance.
The petrol Boxer engine features better combustion efficiency, as well as improved fuel economy, thanks to a newly designed DOHC cylinder head, optimisation of the compression ratio, reduction of the volume of the combustion chamber and the use of the active valve control system (AVCS).
Gear ratios on manual models, from second through to fifth, have been modified to improve driving performance and fuel economy.
Manual models come with the centre differential AWD system with viscous LSD (limited slip differential). Manual and automatic AWD systems distribute optimal power to the wheels with the best grip and traction, providing extremely high levels of vehicle stability.
The Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) is standards on all models. Fed by information gathered by sensors that monitor vehicle and road conditions, the VDC coordinates the engine, transmission, and brakes in order to recover the vehicle’s position should unstable movements occur on a slippery road.
It will be interesting to see if the diesel version will beat the current class-leading economy of 43.5mpg of diesel 4x4s in our Green-Car-Guide.