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Subaru Forester

Carpedia  ·  November 25, 2019

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is a small compact crossover SUV, with five seats and a spacious cabin. This front-engined, four-wheel-drive vehicle is equipped with user-friendly technology and safety systems offering a comfortable ride with all necessary luxuries. The drivetrain of the current model specialises in slippery surfaces and rugged landscapes.


Subaru first manufactured the Forester in Japan in 1997. In subsequent years, it became the recipient of several awards, including the 2009 Motor Trend, 2014 SUV of the Year, and the 2014 Car Connection’s Best Car to Buy.

First Gen (1997-2002)

Subaru showcased the first-ever Forester in November of 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show as Streega Concept. The production version went on sale in 1997 in Japan as well as the US. The Japanese automaker claims that it is one of the first compact SUVs with a high-pointing ceiling and tall body, giving the car a very distinctive look. The first generation came with a 2.5-litre DOHC EJ25D box engine, which had a power rating of 123 kW at 5,600 rpm and 220 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm. 

The Forester took the place of Impreza Gravel Express, aka Subaru Outback Sport in the US, although the production of the latter continued. The transmission system for the AWD variants transfers 60% of engine torque to the front wheels and 40% to the rear through a computerised multi-plate clutch. 

The trim package consisted of two models - "L" and "S" - for all USA models. The L trim came with air conditioning, power windows and locks, fog lights, window defogger, among others. Comparatively, the S trim had rear disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded upholstery, and heated seats. It received an upgrade in 2001, including new equipment, Titanium Pearl metallic paint, leather-clad steering wheel, wipers with deicers, an in-dash CD sound system, and alloy wheels.

The powertrains available in Australia from 1997-2002 were:

Second Gen (2002-2009)

The 2003 model debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 2002 with the new Impreza concept consisting of several advanced systems and equipment in comparison to past models. It came with weight-saving technology, including an aluminium bonnet, perforated rails, and hydroformed front subframe, with the most notable improvement being the 2.5-litre versions, both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged.

All engines with 2.5L capacity that came from this generation featured a timing belt made from rubber and cord. These engines, called interference engines, had some issues. Breakage or stretching in the belt could cause damage to the engine, possibly requiring a rebuild. Their head gaskets were prone to fail, too, but Subaru replaced these in 2003.

The powertrains available in Australia from 2002-2009 were:

Third Gen (2009-2012)

This generation saw the Forester's design evolve, departing from the traditional wagon style and adopting a crossover SUV look. It improved significantly, not only in the looks department but also in increased cargo space. 

The Forester SUV debuted in 2008 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Subaru Chief Designer Mamoru Ishii designed this generation, which had a striking resemblance with the Japanese Impreza wagon. It had increased wheelbase length (by 3.5 inches), width (by 1.8 inches), and height (by 4.3 inches).

This generation saw significant improvements in the car's interior as well as its technology, now featuring a touchscreen Bluetooth-compatible GPA and a six-speaker sound technique as additional options.

Here are the powertrain details for the Subaru Foresters released in Australia from 2009-2012. These specs are important if you're looking for Subaru parts in Australia:

Fourth Gen (2012-2018)

This generation had its introductions at the 2012 Guangzhou Motor Show and the 2013 New York International Auto Show. It increased in body length, width, and wheelbase length, which subsequently enlarged the legroom and cargo space. It featured 18-inch wheels resulting in better control over the handle and an overall smoother ride.

Sales in Japan began in November 2012 with the following models - 2.0i, 2.0i-L, 2.0i-L EyeSight, 2.0i-S EyeSight, 2.0XT (280 PS), and 2.0XT EyeSight (280 PS). Asian versions for MY 2014 entered the market in March 2013, including 2.0i-L, 2.0i Premium and 2.0XT. The US models were 2.5i in all versions and 2.0XT in premium and touring. 

The 2014 Forester received good crash test ratings, which was an improvement, considering that it did not receive a Good score in the Small Overlap Front Test conducted prior.

Powertrains available in Australia from 2012-2018 were:

Fifth Gen (2018-present)

Subaru released several models after 2018, unveiling the 2019 Forester on 28th March 2018 at the New York International Auto Show. The new model featured refinements and advancements such as a VTD to control torque split and an upscale version of the "Dual Function X-Mode". 

The powertrains available in Australia from 2018-present are:

After five whole generations, the Subaru Forester is still very much around today as you will see in the new 2020 Subaru Forester Hybrid! If perhaps you own one and are looking for a place to sell it, or if you wish to repair one and need Subaru parts online – visit us at We're Australia's number 1 website for buyers and sellers of car parts and accessories. Check us out - we're just a click away!

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