Greetings from the Land of Smiles! We’re reporting live from the grounds of the 37th Bangkok Motor Show, and first to officiate a new car arrival is Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru cars in the Southeast Asian region.
Making its debut here in Thailand is the facelifted Subaru Forester, but what makes it different from the preceding model is that it’s now locally assembled at Tan Chong’s plant in Segambut. There are three trims on offer – base 2.0i, 2.0i-P and 2.0XT. The former two are the only ones produced locally, whereas the range topping 2.0XT – the only one with the turbocharged engine – remains a fully imported unit.
|Name||Subaru Forester 2.0i||Subaru Forester 2.0i-P||Subaru Forester 2.0XT|
|Engine||1,995cc; horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, DOHC||1,998cc; turbocharged 4-cylinder|
|Max Power||148 hp @ 6,200 rpm||238 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Max Torque||198 Nm @ 4,200 rpm||350 Nm @ 2,400 – 3,600 rpm|
Just like its smaller sibling (the Subaru XV), the facelift here brings about minor but noticeable enhancements in the way it looks, feels and performs. On the outside, the Forester gets its headlights, tail lights, front grille and bumper, rear bumper and alloy wheels all refreshed. Each trim comes with different levels of equipment, so we’ll break it down for you in a more concise, less cluttered fashion.
This trim is the most affordable option of the lot, and at RM144k, it comes with reflector-type halogen headlamps, daytime running lights, roof rails, rear spoiler, rear fog lamps and power folding side mirrors with integrated signal indicators. Wheel size is 17-inch, shod with 225/60 series tyres.
Compared to the 2.0i-P, this trim offers far lesser toys, but you do get Auto Vehicle Stop, Hill Descent Control, basic multi-function display, automatic air-conditioning, retractable cargo cover, rear view camera and Subaru’s latest feature – the X-Mode. With the push of a button, this system automatically adjusts all mechanical components (including engine and transmission characteristics) to safely navigate through treacherous roads with ease.
All variants get leather seats as standard, but the 2.0XT is the only one to benefit from leather and Alcantara seats.
Move one tier up and you’ll meet with what could be the best selling offering of the bunch. Besides sharing the same 17-inch wheels, this trim gives you range-topping equipments such as auto-levelling and adaptive LED headlamps with C-shaped DRLs, front fog lamps, rear fog lamps and LED wing mirrors.
Inside though, the 2.0i-P is better complemented with features like SI Drive, keyless entry and push-start button, dual zone air conditioning, multi-function leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise control, powered leather seats (driver gets memory function), PIN code access as well as aluminium foot pedals. The multi-function display is also of a higher grade than the 2.0i, but here it’s topped off with the powered tailgate.
As mentioned earlier, both the 2.0i and 2.0i-P will be locally assembled and powered by the same 2.0-litre naturally aspirated ‘Boxer’ engine which makes 148 hp at 6,200 rpm and 198 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels through Subaru’s chain-driven Lineartronic CVT (conventional CVTs are belt-driven).
If you insist on having a turbocharged engine for a car this size, the 2.0XT is the only one money can buy. The blown horizontally opposed 2.0-litre engine makes a healthy 238 hp at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 2,400 to 3,600 rpm, and shares the same drivetrain as the rest in the lineup.
The Thai-spec Forester you see here is exactly what we will be getting back at home, and it comes inclusive (on top of everything offered with the 2.0i-P) of the power sliding sunroof, shark fin antenna, twin tailpipes, Premium Audio System with Harman Kardon speakers and Siri Eyes Free (supports iOS only). It sits on a larger set of 18-inch wheels, wrapped with 225/55 rubbers.
On the safety side of things, they all come fitted with ABS with EBD, seven airbags, reinforced shell, Isofix child anchors and Vehicle Dynamics Control System. The Forester’s relatively low stance masks its 220mm ground clearance rather well, whereas damping is managed by a set of McPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear.
That’s not all. According to Subaru, their updated SUV are now quieter thanks to improved sound proofing and the use of thicker windows.
It’s estimated that the Segambut plant will produce about 10,000 units of the Forester annually, with some destined for neighbouring markets like Thailand and Indonesia. The Forester is the second Subaru model to be assembled within the confines of Tan Chong’s plant, the first being the XV. All three Foresters will be available for booking at all authorised Subaru showrooms across Malaysia beginning 22 March 2016. Deliveries will commence after its Malaysian debut sometime between April to June.
Subaru Forester 2.0XT
Subaru Forester 2.0i-P
Subaru Forester 2.0i