Canada is home to many beautiful provinces, each having its own unique charms. British Columbia however, has an exceptional beauty that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. Osoyoos is the southern-most town in the Okanagan Valley in BC and is surrounded by desert, vineyards and mountains. This rugged  wilderness setting painted the ideal backdrop to test the 2019 Subaru Forester.

It became clear driving the roads of the Okanagan Valley that the Subaru Forester is a well-loved vehicle for active Canadian families. Loyalty for the Subaru brand is strong and the 2019 Forester will only add to that fealty among the faithful.  Subaru believes the features of the new Forester will also add new acolytes to the brand.

Responding to customer demand, the 2019 Forester is shifting to a simplified line-up and is going head-to-head with key competitors with top-in-class fuel economy, and standard symmetrical full-time all-wheel drive. The 5th generation Forester will no longer offer the turbocharged engine or manual transmission. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, the six Forester trim lines come standard with an automatic 2.5L direct injection Subaru Boxer engine with 182hp and 176 lb.-ft of torque. Trim levels start with 2.5i and progress to Convenience, Touring, Sport, Limited and Premier.

The exterior of the 2019 Forester has incorporated sharp lines giving the SUV a tough, capable look. The overall dimensions have increased by 15mm longer and 20mm wider than the previous generation, making the Forester larger and more spacious than ever. New colours include Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, Crimson Red Pearl and Dark Blue Pearl.

As for the interior, the driver seats have been designed for comfort on long drives by using high resilience cushioning material to absorb road vibrations. Family-friendly accessibility includes C-pillars angled to prevent bumping heads while installing child seats and door opening angles have increased to 80 degrees compared to 75 degrees on the last model. Improved cargo area includes a maximum cargo opening width of 1,300mm.

The Forester comes equipped with a four-mode climate control system, as well as cold-weather feature improvements like larger seat and steering wheel heating coverage, well suited for frigid Canadian winters.  The completely redesigned next generation-infotainment system offers Subaru Starlink, Apple carPlay and Android Auto as well as voice recognition capabilities.

The Forester is right at home on Canadian terrain and climate. Engine parts are 90 percent new, resulting in an increase of 12hp with fuel economy at 7.2L/100km highway and 9L/100km city for a combined fuel economy of 8.2L/100km.

The vehicles Dual-mode X-mode technology was tested on Apex Mountain in thick mud. Drivers can activate each mode to escape from rough or uneven roads where tire slip is common, such as driving on snow or off roading. One-mode X-Mode comes standard. Higher grades offer a selectable system that includes two modes, Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud. The Deep Snow/Mud mode disengages traction control, while the ECU allows the engine to generate maximum torque to get out of poor conditions.

Driving down Apex was a breeze for Forester as its Hill Descent Control maintained a constant speed without the driver having to use the brake to reduce wear and tear on the vehicle’s components. Standard SI-Drive allows drivers to select their preferred driving performance- I(intelligent) or S(Sport) according to their mood or environment.

Safety is Subaru’s priority and keeping to the Forester tradition, the new edition has thinner pillars, big windows and optimized placement of side mirrors to minimize blind spots.. Collision safety has been enhanced with an additional crash energy conduction route,  a system that uses the cars frame to disperse front collision energy smoothly to the rear to reduce risk of injury for passengers.

One key feature of the new 2019 Forester is its Eyesight driver assist technology. The technology allows for 61% fewer accidents on the road by continuously monitoring driver safety through a camera installed above the Multifunction Display and warns  drivers as necessary if it detects driver distraction or drowsiness to support safe driving. The vehicle can remember up to 5 different faces and the driver’s seat position, mirror angles and temperature settings.

The Eyesight driver assist system includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane departure and sway warning, pre-collision throttle management and pre-collision braking. The vehicle also features a host of other advanced safety technologies including Blindspot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, High Beam Assist and Steering-Responsive headlights. Eyesight driver assist technology comes standard on Touring trim and above.

Subaru offers an industry-exclusive comprehensive extended maintenance schedule up to 500,000km. The Forester is a important model for Subaru in Canada, representing 25-30% of sales on average since its inception more than 20 years ago. Given the continuous demand for SUV’s, the Subaru is well positioned as a Compact SUV in this popular and growing segment.

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