Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Aside from the performance happy WRX, the entire Subaru lineup makes you feel like an adventure is forthcoming once you get behind the wheel. Whether it’s a family camping excursion or a mountain bike meetup with the “Fit Fathers” crew, the go-anywhere utilities are indicative of active lifestyles. I felt no different when a 2019 Crimson Red Pearl Subaru Forester Touring was delivered to our headquarters for a weekly review. Immediately I tossed my Ghost Kato 7 hardtail in the back and hit the trails for the first time this season.
The Forester Touring is bold in style, aggressive in rough environments and savvy in technology. Many of the Japanese wagon’s amenities left me and passenger guests in awe. The vehicle feels and looks like a taller, wider wagon so best believe you are receiving the benefits of both worlds. A new sports trim consisting of multi-colored molding adds a bit of flavor to the traditional family vehicle opposed to playing the design theme safe. The cargo area has been increased and the tailgate opening widened for storage of larger items like 65” TVs per say. The second-row seats can be flipped down by a release button in the cargo. Additionally, the tailgate spoiler gives the Forester more bravado.
On the road the Forester is relaxed and fluid by way of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder BOXER engine which puts out a respectable 182-horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. You won’t be flying to destinations but that’s not the point when purchasing this vehicle. Paired with a Lineartronic CVT with 7-speed shift mode and steering wheel paddle shifters, expect 26 city and 33 highway miles per gallon. Dual-mode X-MODE featuring Hill Decent Control helps your Forester take control in uncontrollable habitats. Furthermore, the Forester features Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) which allows customization of throttle characteristics. Symmetrical AWD with Active Torque Vectoring operates through slick 18” alloy rims and chunky 225/55 R18 Falken tires for increasing capabilities against the elements such as rain, snow or mud. The Forester has an 8.7” ground clearance, tows up to 1,500 pounds and monitors trailer sway by way of Trailer Stability Assist.
As stated, the innovation is not what I expected from Subaru but was pleasantly appeasing. For instance, the DriverFocus distraction mitigation system is pretty intuitive and uses a near-infrared camera to sense when the driver is drowsy or not paying attention. If the system catches you in the act then alerts go off to set you straight. This works in conjunction with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology which evaluates traffic patterns, monitors cruise control and watches for impromptu lane drifts. LED headlights, High Beam Assist, dual USB ports, heated seats, power locks, power windows, power mirrors, power fuel door, power tailgate, welcome lighting, a rear vision camera, Wi-Fi hotspot, panoramic sunroof, voice activated dual-zone automatic climate control and an all-weather package are a few more notables that owners will enjoy.
Multimedia functionality is a big topic in today’s connected driver era. In this case Subaru definitely doesn’t fall short of expectations with the 8” STARLINK navigation system. It is touch actuated and incorporates Apple CarPlay which I always enjoy, STARLINK cloud apps, SiriusXM and TomTom navigation. But I use Google Maps once the phone is linked up since it’s much simpler and convenient. My Forester Touring included the 9-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system putting out 576-watts but I was not impressed this time by the industry dominate audio manufacturer.
For $35,270 Subaru aficionados will receive loads of bang for their buck when selecting the Touring model. I was highly impressed as were my passengers including a set of “triple sport” daughters who require comfort after training, storage for equipment and technology for access. It’s a brave new world and Subaru is definitely a key player.