Forester still retains its unapologetic boxy stance, though subtle styling cues — such as an updated hexagonal grille, a squared-off bumper, more prominent shoulder lines, and trim cuts across tail lights — give the Forester a more strikingly refined look.
 - Photo by Kelly Bracken.

Forester still retains its unapologetic boxy stance, though subtle styling cues — such as an updated hexagonal grille, a squared-off bumper, more prominent shoulder lines, and trim cuts across tail lights — give the Forester a more strikingly refined look.

Photo by Kelly Bracken.

With its boxy frame, high ride, and subtle styling cues, the Subaru Forester always owned the moniker of “functional crossover” and owned it well. The compact SUV gets a substantial makeover for the 2019 model year and doesn’t stray from its roots — yet widens its appeal with added capabilities and features.

The 2019 Subaru Forester improves in roominess, horsepower, and fuel economy.

The 2019 Forester comes in five trim levels, with the top-of-the-heap Touring trim added for this latest iteration. We tested the Premium trim, a step up from the base trim, presumably where most fleet sales would fall. The Premium trim offers upgraded interior appointments, power driver’s seat, rear air conditioning, and X-Mode with hill descent, a suite of controls to limit slipping tires.

Fleets should like the extra room for people and stuff: Forester has grown in headroom, hip, and shoulder room, as well as rear seat legroom. Cargo space increased 1.4 cu. ft., while the rear gate opening grew 5.3 inches to 51.2 inches — a bragging point against compact SUV competitors.

Subaru Forester's rear gate opening grew 5.3 inches to 51.2 inches — a bragging point against compact SUV competitors. - Photo by Kelly Bracken.

Subaru Forester's rear gate opening grew 5.3 inches to 51.2 inches — a bragging point against compact SUV competitors.

Photo by Kelly Bracken.

On the styling front, Forester still retains its unapologetic boxy stance, though subtle styling cues — such as an updated hexagonal grille, a squared-off bumper, more prominent shoulder lines, and trim cuts across tail lights — give the Forester a more strikingly refined look.

Engine choice has been narrowed to one, an update of Subaru’s 2.5-liter boxer engine. The engine’s four cylinders offer 182 hp, 12 more horses than the previous model.

On paper, the new Forester’s power ratings fall in the middle of competitors such as Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV-4. In our testing, the 2019 Forester had more than enough muscle off the line and entering freeway traffic.

Here’s the payoff: the 2019 sits at the top of the segment in fuel economy (29 mpg combined). Fleets will also like fewer trips to the pump — the fuel tank has increased from 15.9 gallons to 16.6 gallons.

Subaru’s driver safety suite, EyeSight, moves from optional to standard equipment. The driver-assist technology monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns you if you sway from your lane.

Subaru’s standard AWD, combined with a segment-leading 8.7 inches of ground clearance, is a safety bonus for fleets in inclement weather climates.

The upgrades to the Subaru Forester are impressive in light of a minimal $500 addition to starting price. The 2019 Subaru Forester is available now.

2019 Subaru Forester Specs:

  • Engine: 2.5L 4-cylinder boxer (182 hp and 176 lb.-ft. torque)
  • Transmission: CVT (continously variable transmission)
  • All-Wheel Drive: Standard
  • Cargo Space: 76.1 cu. ft. with rear seats lowered

Originally posted on Business Fleet

Author

Chris Brown
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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