By Steve and Tamami Laser
Before our three-year lease ended on our Subaru Outback we went shopping for another long-term test car. While we considered several different models from other brands, we decided to lease a new 2019 Subaru Forester Touring.
We configured the Forester the way we like it online at Subaru.com prior to visiting a dealer. The top-line Forester Touring with new Jasper Green Metallic paint and Saddle Brown leather trim was our top choice.
We went to Irvine Subaru, in Lake Forest, Calif. (above), where our helpful salesperson, Marcelo, located the Forester of our dreams. We made a great deal for a three-year lease, said “goodbye” to our 2016 Outback, and drove home in our new Forester.
In this video, our editor highlights the driving dynamics and some of the key features in our new Forester Touring, including the improved powertrain and interior.
The fifth-generation Forester is all-new for 2019. It rides on the Subaru Global Platform, gains a longer wheelbase and is treated to more dynamic styling. Yet this crossover remains instantly recognizable as a Forester.
With its tall roof and squared-off profile, Forester delivers more room for cargo and rear-seat passengers. We like the new rear styling with crescent-shaped taillights, wider tailgate opening, and sporty spoiler. We also like the generous glass area that makes it easy to see out.
All 2019 Foresters are powered by an updated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Boxer engine. With improvements including direct-injection, output has increased to 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque (previously 170 hp and 174 lb-ft). New Auto Stop-Start automatically shuts the engine off while idling at a traffic light to help save fuel. (There’s a switch to deactivate the system on the dash.)
By pressing buttons on the steering wheel, we can select two different drive modes. The “SI-DRIVE” system includes “Intelligent” mode for regular driving, and “Sport” mode for more sporty response.
The standard Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) includes paddle “shifters” on the steering wheel that simulate 7-speeds. Also standard is Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Active Torque Vectoring, plus driver-selectable X-Mode® settings for Snow/Dirt, Snow/Mud, and Normal.
Our Forester rides on good-looking 18-inch alloy wheels with Falken 225/55R18 M+S rated tires. The four-wheel independent suspension delivers a well-controlled ride along with an amazing 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
The redesigned dash contributes to the Touring’s high-tech look. There’s a combination meter display in the instrument cluster, a multi-function display on the top of the dash, and an 8-inch multimedia system with navigation in the center.
By pressing buttons on the steering wheel, we can monitor information on the multi-function display (above) including dual-zone automatic climate control, weather, traffic and navigation, the audio system, fuel consumption, and EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology.
We can access a wide variety of functions on the 8-inch multimedia system screen by touch or using the voice control button on the steering wheel (see our video). This improved multimedia system is one of our favorite Forester Touring features.
We used voice control to “find restaurant,” and the system displayed a list of those nearby. After we made our selection, the navigation system provided turn-by-turn directions. We also used it to “find golf course,” and “find gas station.”
We also like the comfortable bucket seats in the Touring. Trimmed with Saddle Brown leather, the driver’s seat has 10-way power controls plus memory settings for two drivers, while the passenger’s seat is 8-way power including height adjustment.
The 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seat can be folded down remotely using levers in the cargo compartment. Comfort and convenience features include air vents on the center floor console, heated outboard rear seats, and dual USB charge ports.
The power tailgate allows easy access to the cargo compartment. As we demonstrate in our video, it can be opened and closed remotely using buttons on the keyfob. With the rear seats folded down, the Forester offers 76.1 cubic feet of storage space.
Our dogs really like riding in our new Forester and have plenty of space to stretch out for naps. We added an aftermarket bed so they can relax on longer trips.
This Walkaround video offers a closer look at some additional features in our new 2019 Forester Touring.
Subaru EyeSight® safety features on our Touring include Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Reverse Automatic Braking.
The MSRP for our 2019 Forester Touring starts at $34,295. Adding the Popular Package, roof rack crossbars, front side sill plates, a sunshade, and destination brought the bottom line to $36,621. We made a small down payment, and our monthly lease payments are about $400 for 36 months.
We’re happy to welcome the new Subaru Forester into our family and look forward to the next three years of driving.
Prices, features and specifications apply to U.S. market models at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. The 2019 Forester test car in this story is privately leased by the editorial staff of CarNichiWa.com
Story, photos and video © 2019 CarNichiWa.com