- News, specifications and tech details about the Mk5 Subaru Forester
- Only North American versions have so far been revealed
- Likely to feature hybrid technology for the first time
Ignore the same-again styling on display in these official images, because the fifth generation of Subaru Forester is all-new.
Although the latest Forester made its world debut at the end of March 2018, it’s likely to be early 2019 before the first British customers receive their cars.
As before, the Mk5 Forester will be competing in a hotly contested sector of the market against a swathe of rivals, including the Ford Kuga, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, SEAT Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Toyota RAV4, Vauxhall Grandland X and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Symmetrical all-wheel drive: the Subaru difference
While the majority of SUVs the fifth-generation Forester will compete against send power exclusively to the front wheels, Subaru’s ethos is different – all of its cars feature symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD).
In laymen’s terms, all four wheels have power sent to them, but it's metered out in a manner that ensures the car has maximum traction, making it particularly advantageous in very slippery conditions or across tricky terrain.
That’s all well and good, but few people in the UK live in areas that reflect those descriptions, although rural communities across the country tend to have a higher density of Subarus than urban areas.
Instead, Subaru’s refocused marketing endeavours in Britain focus on AWD being part of a suite of safety systems – a factor more likely to resonate with families the Forester is most likely to appeal to.
Although the fifth-generation Forester has yet to be crash-tested under the auspices of Euro NCAP, the current Subaru Impreza hatchback and smaller XV crossover have been awarded very high safety scores, so the signs bode well.
What engines will the 2019 Subaru Forester have?
This remains something of a question mark for the time being, given that so far the only powerplant confirmed is a 2.5-litre petrol for American and Canadian markets.
It may be that this engine does make it to the UK – Subaru has confirmed that the latest Forester has grown a little and from our experiences with a long-term test version of the outgoing generation, more power wouldn’t go amiss.
What’s less clear is whether there will be a replacement for the diesel-engined Forester, given that both the recently launched Impreza and XV are petrol-only ranges. The outgoing Forester diesel wasn’t exactly a popular choice either.
More certain is that whatever engines are under the bonnet, they will be Subaru’s famous Boxer motors – a unique design in the mainstream market. Think of them as being similar to a V-configuration, but with a 180-degree angle between the banks of cylinders.
Will there be a hybrid version of the 2019 Subaru Forester?
Previous hints from Subaru suggested that petrol-electric hybrid powertrains could be on the cards before the end of this decade, indicating that the brand’s existing technical relationship with Toyota could be a sensible avenue to explore.
What isn’t currently clear is whether hybrid technology can be mated to the Boxer engine, or if it would require the installation of a more conventionally arranged Toyota engine too.
What else do we know about the 2019 Subaru Forester?
Unfortunately, at the time writing, there’s little else that’s concrete about what to expect from the 2019 Forester, other than Subaru claims to have made it even easier for families to live with.
Not only is there more space in both the passenger compartment, as well as the boot, the rear door openings have been made more vertical than on its predecessor specifically to make it easier to install younger children in car seats.
That aside, details are scant, including how much the Subaru will cost. Prices for the all-new Forester are likely to be confirmed closer to British sales beginning in the first quarter of 2019, though.
Parkers will be among the first to drive this mid-sized crossover, so check back with us soon for the full fifth-generation Subaru Forester SUV review