Subaru Forester CUV gets upgrades in style, gear, technology

2017, Subaru, Forester

Subaru updates and upgrades 2017 issues of Forester, the go-anywhere 5-door and 5-seat crossover utility vehicle in the compact class.

Forester dresses up its sleek, yet durable body shell with fresh front-end styling focused on a new hexagonal grille and redesigned headlights with Subaru's C-shaped signature. The C-pattern repeats at rear combo taillights using new LED illumination.

In the passenger compartment, all 2017 Forester models stock a revamped steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and cruise control tabs, while top-trim Touring edition lists Saddle Brown leather upholstery as an option.

Hardware upgrades for 2017 Forester models include a quicker steering ratio for enhanced feel and a carload of soundproofing material -- such as thicker door glass, restructured door seals, under-floor insulation and an acoustic windshield -- to forge a quiet and refined passenger compartment.

Software upgrades for 2017 Forester apply with an updated version of Subaru's EyeSight camera and driver-assist technology. Electronic safety gear as Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking and Lane Departure and Sway Warning, plus a Lane Keep Assist function and -- for Limited and Touring grades -- Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic alerts.

The 2017 Forester issues based on the fourth generation unit-body platform introduced in 2014. That expanded structure with a 103.9-inch wheelbase creates a larger package stretching to 181.5 inches long and 70.7 inches wide. The enlarged cabin has a passenger volume of 108.3 cubic feet and a rear cargo volume of 34.4 cubic feet with rear seatbacks raised or 74.7 cubic feet with seatbacks down.

Subaru developed Forester as a different kind of sports utility with an easy-to-operate attitude where all mechanical aspects are direct and straightforward and efficient.

Subaru's engines, with four cylinders opposed horizontally and set perpendicular to the driveline, employ equal-length drive shafts and function like boxers jabbing directly at one another so there's little vibration or residual torque steer. And power from the engine moves directly through an exceptional transfer case for distribution to all wheels, with scant loss of energy.

Forester 2017 lists six grades: 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, 2.0XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring.

All 2.5i models carry a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder boxer-style engine with aluminum block and cylinder heads, DOHC (Double Overhead Camshafts) and Subaru's AVCS (Active Valve Control System). This plant produces 170 hp at 5800 rpm with torque reaching to 174 lb-ft at 4100 rpm.

The 2.5-liter engine ties to a 6-speed manual transmission with ISA (Incline Start Assist) or an optional Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). With the CVT aboard, this powertrain scores EPA estimated fuel-burn numbers of 26/32 mpg city/highway.

The souped-up Forester 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring models pack a turbo-charged and inter-cooled DOHC 2.0-liter boxer 4-pack with GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) and dual-AVCS. Output climbs to 250 hp at 5600 rpm as the torque rips to 258 lb-ft between 2800-4800 rpm. Sole transmission for 2.0XT models is the Lineartronic CVT with manual shift modes and paddle shifters.

Forester 2.0XT trims employ the SI-DRIVE (Subaru Intelligent Drive) device for selecting from three driving modes: Intelligent (relaxed throttle response), Sport (quicker throttle response and 6-speed ratios for the manual shift mode), or Sports Sharp (even faster throttle response and 8-speed manual mode ratios).

The Forester 2.5i entry model rolls on 17-inch steel wheels and has cabin gear like a rear vision camera, security system, tilting/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and Starlink 6.2 multimedia system.

Forester 2.0XT Touring top trim upgrades to 18-inch alloy wheels with luxe gear including HID headlights, Harman/Kardon premium audio system, electroluminescent instrument cluster with LCD, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start, a heated steering wheel, and one-touch folding rear seatback.

The MSRP figures for 2017 Forester models begin with Forester 2.5i/MT6 listing for $23,470. Forester 2.0XT/CVT Touring caps at $35,170.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Subaru Forester

2017 Subaru Forester legacy
2017 Subaru Forester legacy
2017 Subaru Forester in the wet
2017 Subaru Forester in the wet
2017 Subaru Forester tailgate
2017 Subaru Forester tailgate
2017 Subaru Forester front row dash
2017 Subaru Forester front row dash