2019 Subaru Forester Preview

  • Completely redesigned for 2019
  • New vehicle architecture that is safer than before
  • More standard equipment
  • Roomier interior and cargo area
  • Added horsepower and torque
  • More sophisticated AWD system
  • New Sport trim level
  • Expanded Starlink services offering


Looks familiar, doesn't it? Don't let your eyes deceive you, as the 2019 Subaru Forester is completely redesigned. Built on the company's latest vehicle architecture, the new Forester is claimed to be more efficient, more dynamic, and safer than ever before.

2019 Subaru Forester front quarter right photo
2019 Subaru Forester

Debuting at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, the new 2019 Forester is also the roomiest one that Subaru has ever built. When it goes on sale later this year, it will be offered in standard, Premium, Limited, Touring, and Sport trim levels.

Exterior Features

Subaru says the Forester showcases the company's new design language, but it sure looks similar to the old one. Cues derived from the larger Ascent are evident, though, especially when the compact crossover SUV is viewed in profile.

Behind the bold grille, active shutters improve aerodynamics and, in turn, fuel economy. Every 2019 Forester has LED headlights, silver or high-gloss black exterior trim, and to make sure everyone knows it is an SUV, prominent underguards front, side, and rear.

Roof rails are standard on all but the base model, and they include tie-down hooks on Sport and Touring trim. A black grille, black wheels, rear roof spoiler, and orange accents also distinguish the Forester Sport. New paint colors include Jasper Green, Horizon Blue, and Crimson Red.

Interior Features

Thanks to a wheelbase that is longer by 1.2 ins., the 2019 Subaru Forester is larger and more comfortable than before.

New front seats are designed for improved comfort on longer drives, and rear-seat passengers benefit from a 1.4-in. gain in rear-seat legroom. The new Forester also has more headroom, hip room, and shoulder room, as well as wider rear door openings. Front seatback pockets are now divided with a specific space for electronic devices.

Cargo space improves, too. Maximum volume measures 76.1 cu. ft., making the Forester one of the most commodious in the segment. A flatter load floor, wider rear liftgate opening, and squared-off space designed to handle bulky cargo add to the Forester's utility. A power rear liftgate is optional for Premium and Sport trims, and standard for Limited and Touring.

All 2019 Foresters have automatic climate control, welcome lighting, and new interior plastics that are designed to resist dirt and scuffing while at the same time aiding cleanup after adventures. Sport trim features unique dark gray interior materials with orange contrast stitching.

Subaru has also reportedly made the 2019 Forester quieter than before, especially in terms of road noise. Subaru also promises that outward visibility remains exceptionally good, preserving a hallmark of previous versions of this SUV.

Optional Features

Depending on the trim level, the 2019 Forester is available with numerous upgrades. Highlights include leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and windshield wiper de-icer.

The Forester can also be fitted with a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, an 8-way power front passenger's seat, keyless access with push-button engine starting, and a panoramic sunroof. Available fog lights employ LED lighting, and LED flood lighting illuminates the tailgate area for easier loading in the dark.

Subaru also offers its PIN Code Access system for the new Forester, which allows active lifestyle types to leave the key fob inside the vehicle while they engage in various activities.

Under the Hood

An updated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection and automatic start/stop technology is standard for the 2019 Forester. It makes 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers the power to all four of the SUV's wheels.

With Sport and Touring trim, the CVT has a manual mode with seven programmed ratios and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. In all Foresters except for the base model, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system includes X-Mode and hill-descent control. Active torque vectoring is included for all 2019 Foresters.

Subaru's SI-Drive is also standard, offering Intelligent and Sport driving modes. With Sport trim, a Sport Sharp setting is available. New for 2019, the Sport, Limited, and Touring trims offer Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud driving modes. As was true before, the new Forester supplies 8.7 ins. of ground clearance.

Other new standard features for 2019 include trailer stability assist and an electronic parking brake. The base trim is equipped with 17-in. steel wheels, while Premium trim upgrades to 17-in. aluminum wheels. Sport, Limited, and Touring trims get 18-in. wheels in unique designs.


Thanks to a new vehicle platform and architecture, crash protection is expected to be much better with the new Forester when compared to the outgoing model, which was already among the safest in its segment.

Furthermore, for 2019, Subaru makes its EyeSight suite of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance systems standard. EyeSight includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. For 2019 it adds pre-collision throttle management, and for the adaptive cruise system a Lead Vehicle Start Alert feature.

New for 2019, a DriverFocus system is exclusive to the top-of-the-line Touring trim. It is basically a monitoring system that can warn the driver if it determines they are too tired or distracted to drive. It uses facial-recognition software and can also remember the preferences of up to five different drivers in terms of seating position, temperature settings, infotainment system settings, and more.

Additionally, the new Forester offers reverse automatic braking, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and steering-responsive headlights that can help a driver to see around corners after dark.


Subaru installs the latest version of its StarLink infotainment system in the 2019 Forester. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-in. touch-screen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, and StarLink Apps. Upgrades include an 8-in. touch-screen display, navigation system, and StarLink Connected Services.

With StarLink Connected Services, the owner can access various vehicle functions through a smartphone app, including a new-for-2019 remote engine starting function. New Wi-Fi services, concierge services, and Safe Teen driver functions related to speed, curfew, and boundary alerts are also available for 2019.

A Safety Plus service package includes SOS emergency assistance, automatic collision notification, enhanced roadside assistance, and more. Upgrade to the Safety Plus and Security Plus package for a remote vehicle locator, remote door lock/unlock, stolen-vehicle recovery, and added features.