Subaru has facelifted the Forester, plumbing in more efficient engines and revising the chassis. The revamped crossover goes on UK sale in summer 2013. For this facelifted car, Subaru says it has improved cabin space, safety and efficiency, but still preserved the Forester's rough-and-tumble usability. Read on for the full details.
Does form still follow function in the Subaru Forester?
Looks-wise, the Forester shares much detailing with its more road-biased XV cousin: spot the more angular headlights, chromed foglight surrounds and the boxy grille. There's been a nip and tuck to the cheekbones too, with a scalloped look cribbed from the Hyundai Veloster. New alloy wheels, a dash of chrome around the glasshouse and restyled rear light clusters complete the changes.
There are improvements you can't see, too, like the lowered the centre of gravity versus the outgoing model, and greater body rigidity. Unlike the Forester's less workmanlike rivals, the Subaru gets full-time 50:50 split all-wheel drive, rather than a part time set-up which shuffles power around when a loss of traction is detected.
Is the rest of the powertrain as old-school?
Fans of performance Scoobies should be pleased. The Forester's flagship petrol engine is a new turbocharged 2.0-litre direct-injection engine, developing 276bhp and 259lb ft. Also on offer is a turbo-free 2.0-litre petrol good for 148bhp and 146lb ft, and a 148bhp diesel unit with the same displacement and 259lb ft. These powerplants are carried over from the old Forester, but have been revamped to produce better emissions and consumption figures. All the engines are horizontally-opposed Boxer units, as is Subaru tradition.
Both of the lower-powered engines come mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. A CVT auto is a cost option, and standard fit on the high-powered Turbo variant. Subaru has tweaked the CVT 'box to cope with the extra poke of the hotted-up Forester.
Prices and full spec levels will arrive closer to the car's summer 2013 launch. Entry level models are expected to start at £24,000.