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New Subaru Forester 2024: everything you need to know

Olek Novak

This is Chasing Cars’ rolling coverage of everything you need to know about the all-new Subaru Forester, as it happens

Subaru has officially unveiled the new-generation Forester, with a largely evolutionary update for the stalwart midsize SUV and confirmation that it will share hybrid tech with Toyota.

Having gone on sale locally in 2018 before receiving a mid-life facelift in 2021, the Forester is due for a new generation based on its historic five-year average generation lifecycle.

Year-to-date, the Forester is Subaru’s best-selling vehicle in Australia, and the fifth most popular midsize SUV – with an eight percent market share – behind the Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson. 

Subaru Forester 2.5i-S 2023 off road front puddle 5
The current generation Forester (pictured in 2.5i-S trim) is Subaru’s highest-selling vehicle in Australia

As we inch closer to the arrival of the new-generation Subaru Forester in Australia make sure you bookmark this article as we’ll provide rolling coverage as it happens, right here in one place.

November 21, 2023 – Subaru confirms Forester hybrid powertrain to come from Toyota

Subaru has confirmed that the new-generation Forester will utilise Toyota hybrid technology, addressing key criticisms for the minimal fuel savings of the brand’s current in-house hybrid powertrain.

Speaking to Automotive News about new hybrid variants in the lineup, Subaru America chief operating officer Jeff Walters said that “it will be a Toyota-sourced battery [and electric components] joined with a boxer engine”. 

Subaru has confirmed the sixth-generation Forester (pictured) will utilise Toyota hybrid technology

Further details on the powertrain, outputs and specifications have not yet been confirmed, however Walters indicated that the hybrid will arrive “about a year” following production of the redesigned Forester begins in the first half of 2024.

The confirmation follows earlier rumours that foreshadowed that the new-generation Forester would use Toyota hybrid tech shared with the top-selling RAV4 midsize SUV. 

Subaru Forester 2025 front white
Further details on exactly what will sit under the bonnet of the new hybrid Forester have not yet been confirmed

A major shareholder in Subaru, this isn’t the first time Toyota has shared technology with the brand and vice versa. A long line of collaborations between the two Japanese automakers has included platform, technology and production sharing partnerships for the BZ4X and Solterra electric SUVS, as well as the GR86 and BRZ sports coupes. 

Subaru has previously used Toyota hybrid components for a plug-in hybrid version of its Crosstrek small SUV, however this model hasn’t been sold in Australia. 

Toyota Kluger GXL Hybrid 2023 badge
Subaru has previously used Toyota’s hybrid tech for a plug-in hybrid version of its Crosstrek small SUV not available locally

While a hybrid hasn’t been made available in the US before, a Forester Hybrid is currently available in Australia, however it has received much criticism for delivering minimal fuel savings as compared to its petrol lineup siblings.

November 17th – New-gen Forester officially unveiled

Almost a week after it was leaked online, Subaru has officially unveiled the new-generation Forester midsize SUV and disclosed its full list of upgrades at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

These upgrades include a more modern cabin featuring a huge 11.6-inch portrait touchscreen, a stronger chassis, modern safety features and a more advanced version of the brand’s off-road focussed ‘X-Mode’.

Here it is: it’s the new Subaru Forester

The model unveiled today is destined for the US market and we’ll likely see a slightly tweaked version from Japan in the coming months, with Australian-delivered Foresters historically sharing much in kind with those sold in the Asian country.

As seen in the leaked images previously, the new Forester has a visually wider stance, measuring roughly 18mm broader and 20mm longer than the current 2.5i-S grade, but the 1730mm height and 2670mm wheelbase remain the same. 

Updated interior for new Forester

As expected, the Forester has followed the Crosstrek and WRX by incorporating the brand’s huge 11.6-inch touchscreen interface which brings with it wireless capability for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

As expected, Subaru’s 11.6-inch touchscreen now dominates the interior

A 7.0-inch unit is fitted to the base-model Foresters in the US, but it’s likely we will only see the larger option across the range here in Australia. 

The front seats are redesigned to be more comfortable, with a slimmer profile to aid the forward visibility of those in the backseats. The cabin as a whole is also said to be quieter and the power tailgate also features a kick sensor for the first time.

Improvements to safety 

Being a family car, Subaru has also sought to update the safety package of the Forester and particularly its Eyesight driver-aid technology.

Subaru’s AEB system is now more advanced than before

The Forester’s autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system now has a wider field of view and the ability to process a reaction faster when detecting, pedestrians, cyclists and other cars. 

Other features such as lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert and reversing AEB are also expected to be standard equipment here in Australia.

Better to drive but no sign of the XT

Subaru says the chassis of the Forester has a 10 percent increase in stiffer torsional rigidity versus the outgoing model, thanks to stronger welding techniques and additional structural adhesive. 

The result, the brand says, is a lighter frame, improved driving dynamics, a better ride and a more comfortable cabin. 

The 2.5L remains the only engine right now

The only engine currently available is the carryover 2.5L naturally-aspirated flat-four engine, making 134kW/241Nm, which compares to 138kW/245Nm in the current Australian model, though it remains to be seen what exact units the new Forester makes locally. 

Still expected to come, though not yet shown, is the revival of the turbocharged ‘XT’ engine option, likely in the form of the 183kW/350Nm 2.4L turbocharged four‘ found in the current Outback wagon. A hybrid is also expected in due course.

The ground clearance remains an impressive 220mm

Subaru also says X-Mode has been enhanced, with faster response time and more agile handling. Higher grades score hill descent control an enhanced version of X-Mode and ‘Incline Start Assist’ which holds the Forester in place when on a hill. 

It appears the Forester’s impressive 220mm ground clearance remains unchanged for the new generation, providing an edge over rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 Edge with 190mm.

It’s an exciting first look at what’s to come but it remains to be seen how different the right-hook versions out of Japan will be. Expect an update towards the end of this year or early next. 

November 11, 2023 – new design leaked days before LA motor show reveal

Only days before its expected official reveal at the LA motor show, images of the sixth-generation vehicle have leaked online.  

The images reveal the full exterior and interior design of the new-generation car which has received an evolutionary update as expected. 

Detailed images of the sixth-generation Subaru Forester have leaked online

Overall the new model sports a slightly more masculine appearance that gives the impression of a longer vehicle, although dimensions have not yet been confirmed.

At least two model grades were featured in the leak – ‘Sport’ and ‘Touring’ – however it is important to note that these would likely be US-specification vehicles, with Australian details yet to be confirmed. 

Nevertheless, the images provide a clear glimpse on what to expect, and fans of previous Foresters will be pleased that the recognisably chunky styling of previous generations has remained. 

The Forester’s new interior will be familiar to anyone who has driven a current-generation Subaru

Notably, the new interior will be familiar to drivers of the rest of the Subaru range with the vehicle taking on a huge 11.6-inch vertical tablet-style infotainment, which will likely bring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too.

While the leak has comprehensively showcased the exterior and interior designs, no official detail on powertrain options has yet emerged. 

November 2, 2023 – Subaru teases new model, reveal date set

Subaru has globally released a teaser image of what it calls an ‘all-new fully redesigned vehicle’ which will debut at the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show. 

While the automaker stopped short of confirming this is the new Forester, it’s largely expected by global media that this is exactly what we’ll see.

Subaru has received a single image teasing an ‘all-new fully redesigned vehicle’

The tightly cropped single photo doesn’t reveal much, only showcasing a partly in focus alloy wheel together with a blurred part of the front side skirt. 

The LA Auto Show begins November 17th Australian time, and Chasing Cars will bring you all the latest news from the event. 

November 2023 – catching up on all the latest rumours to date 

There has already been much speculation about the new Forester, whether it be the model variants that will be on offer, the technology that will feature, or the design.

Subaru Forester 2.5i-S 2023 off road side
It’s expected the new generation will receive an evolutionary design (current-generation pictured)

It’s largely anticipated that the ‘fully redesigned’ vehicle will remain faithful to the chunky styling Subaru Foresters have become renowned for.

When it comes to the powertrain, it has also previously been rumoured that the new generation Forester would receive a more efficient hybrid option and potentially using Toyota technology shared with the RAV4.

If true, this update could address a key criticism of the current generation Forester Hybrid which has been found in testing to deliver relatively minimal fuel savings over the pure-petrol version. 

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD Hybrid 2022 front 3/4 2
It’s been rumoured the new Forester could share hybrid technology with the best-selling Toyota RAV4 (pictured)

It’s likely that Subaru will also continue to offer a purely petrol-powered model, which could arrive in the form of an updated form of the 2.5L naturally-aspirated or 1.8L turbocharged flat four engines found in the current generation, or a yet-to-be revealed option.

Given the positive reception Subaru has received for the addition of turbo-powered ‘XT’ variants of its Outback wagon, it’s also highly likely we could see range-topping XT turbo-powered Foresters join the lineup. 

Subaru Outback Sport XT 2023 front 3/4
It’s likely we could see a turbo-powered variant of the new Forester following the success of the Outback XT turbo (pictured)

The Outback XT is fitted with a 2.4L turbocharged flat-four engine making 183kW of power and 350Nm of torque, and given that the Forester and aforementioned wagon has historically shared a platform, there is little reason to think why the new-gen couldn’t incorporate this larger powerplant.

As well as this, it’s also likely we could see an off-road enhanced ‘Wilderness’ version join the lineup. Subaru has previously confirmed the Wilderness trim-grade will make its way downunder

While the brand stopped short of confirming which models will be available with the trim locally– aside from the Outback – the launch of a new generation provides Subaru with an opportunity to bring the trim to the Forester in Australia.