Subaru hopes to double down on its promise of safety with the 2019 Forester, which arrives with the brand's EyeSight safety system as standard across all trims.
Not only will the 2019 Forester usher in the suite of active safety features for the masses, but at the crossover's debut on Wednesday at the 2018 New York auto show, Subaru introduced what it calls DriverFocus technology.
DriverFocus is the 2019 Forester's party trick, but the fifth-generation crossover is also roomier, quieter, and sees some exterior flair with the introduction of the Sport model. For those unfamiliar with the EyeSight system, the suite of active safety features includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Throttle Management and Lead Vehicle Start Alert.
All 2019 Foresters feature an updated 2.5-liter flat-4 engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, an increase of 12 hp and 2 extra units of twist. The previous model's optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine is no longer, but like the old model, a continuously variable transmission is onboard. The updated engine should net a 33 mpg highway rating, per Subaru's figures. And, of course, all-wheel drive is standard with an X-Mode button that activates hill-descent control and modifies stability and traction control for off-road ventures.
On the design front, the 2019 Forester doesn't make any serious departures, but the biggest changes come to the rear. Gone are the clear taillights in favor of larger units that accentuate the crossover's more squared-off rear end. Forester Sport models receive black trim accents, while other models feature silver highlights. At the front, the fascia is certainly an evolution of Subaru's current family face. It's inoffensive, and shouldn't turn off loyal buyers.
Sport models also feature a unique Sport Sharp mode with a 7-speed manual mode for the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. For just a tad of boy racer charm, a rear-roof spoiler sits in place with orange body accents throughout.
With an inch-longer wheelbase, rear-seat legroom climbs by 1.4 inches, and headroom, hip, and shoulder room all increase. Cargo space jumps to 76.1 cubic feet, a gain of 1.9 cubic feet. Perhaps more importantly, the rear hatch opening is now 5.3 inches wider at 51.3 inches wide with a flatter load floor. Dog lovers will be quite pleased.
What about the segment-exclusive DriverFocus system? The technology uses facial recognition to remember up to five drivers. The system will remember climate, audio, and seat preferences. However, it will also track driver fatigue and Subaru hopes it curbs distracted driving offenders. Only the range-topping Touring model will feature the system as standard. Subaru did not provide information on the system's availability for lower trims.
Buyers will find the 2019 Forester at dealers later this year in Premium, Limited, Touring, and Sport trims.
For more N.Y. auto show coverage, head to Motor Authority's dedicated hub.