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Subaru Australia has today released details of the all new Forester, the company’s best selling model. Starting price for the entry model Forester X has dropped from $31,990 to $30,490 – yet equipment levels have improved.

The new MY09 Forester has been upgraded in all respects, it now offers better fuel economy, safety as well as practicality and performance.

With over 105,000 Foresters sold in Australia since 1997, the new the new-generation has grown to appeal to a wider audience, it’s now 75 mm longer, 110 mm taller (including roof rails) and 60 mm wider.

2009 Subaru Forester

The front grille has changed with more chrome highlights and clear lens “hawk eye” headlights, the rear receives integrated taillights, with metallic highlights.

Most importantly the new car has come in line with the rest of the Subaru line-up, receiving the highly sought after maximum five-star rating for occupant protection from ANCAP (three-star pedestrian rating).

Don’t think for a minute that the extra safety equipment and reinforcing has made the car less economical and sluggish, the new-generation car offers fuel consumption improvements of up to 7.8 per cent.

2009 Subaru Forester

Another reason why the Japanese manufacturer continues to remain on top of its game is the introduction of standard ESP (Vehicle Dynamics Control – VDC) across the Forester range.

Engine lineup has remained relatively the same with naturally aspirated models using a Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC) four-cylinder 2.5-litre horizontally opposed boxer engine that produces 126kW and 229Nm of torque. 0-100km/h takes 10.4 seconds.

The range-topping Forester XT makes use of the new Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) four-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged MY08 WRX engine, which generates its torque (320Nm) 400 revs lower in the range at 3200 rpm. Power is rated at 169kW.

2009 Subaru Forester Engine

Manual XT variants will do the 0-100km/h dash in 7.1 seconds while the four-speed automatic XT gets there in 7.9 seconds.

Subaru has stuck with the electronically controlled four-speed SPORTSHIFT automatic transmission for all variants.

Subaru has improved the handling dynamics with the addition of a newly designed double wishbone rear suspension setup which also allows for more cargo space.

2009 Subaru Forester

Other improvements include the higher ground clearance, now 220mm on the X/XS and 225mm on XT, height and telescopic adjustable steering, hill start assist, MP3/WMA compatibility, SPORTSHIFT auto transmission (all auto models) and a shorter rear overhang.

Like the new Impreza, the 2009 Forester has reverted to framed doors, apparently for improved safety, solidity and major reductions in NVH (Noise Vibration and Harshness).

2009 Subaru Forester

As for the interior, the 90 mm longer wheelbase (compared to the MY08) offers more head, leg and shoulder room. Steering-wheel audio and cruise control buttons as well as a more ergonomic dashboard have also been added.

CarAdvice will be behind the wheel of the new Forester soon.

2009 Subaru Forester Model Lineup:

Forester X:


  • ABS anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs (ventilated front, solid rear), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Active headrests
  • Automatic transmission lock-out – need foot on brake, key in ignition “on” position, to release lever
  • Child seat anchor points including ISO FIX
  • Constant All-Wheel Drive
  • Curtain airbags – full length (front and rear)
  • Dual front airbags
  • Dual range on X and XS manual
  • Dual side airbags
  • Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
  • Double pretensioners on driver’s seatbelt
  • Front adjustable seatbelt anchorage
  • Height adjustable seatbelt anchors
  • Hill Start Assist (manual models)
  • Rear door child lock
  • Safety pedals – shock absorbing brake and clutch pedals
  • Seatbelt indicator lights – front seats
  • Side intrusion bars
  • Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control


  • AM/FM radio, single in-dash CD, MP3/WMA compatible, four speakers – steering wheel controls
  • Bottle holders in each door + two cup holders in auto centre consoles – one in manual
  • Cargo area light
  • Cargo hooks (four)
  • Cargo security blind
  • Central locking – remote
  • Cruise control – steering wheel buttons
  • Driver’s footrest
  • Height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Immobiliser security system
  • Luggage hooks (four)
  • Luminescent gauges with blue highlights
  • Manual air conditioning with anti-dust filters
  • Map lights (2)
  • Overhead console
  • Multi-information dashboard display
  • Power steering, mirrors and windows
  • Rear seat centre armrest
  • Rear seat recline
  • Remote fuel lid release – tethered fuel cap
  • Seatback pocket (passenger side)
  • Security blind
  • SPORTSHIFT four-speed automatic transmission option
  • Two remote central locking keys
  • Vanity mirror
  • 60/40 split/fold rear seat
  • 12V/120W power jacks (three)


  • 16-inch steel wheels – full size spare
  • Chrome-highlight grille
  • Rear roof mounted radio antenna
  • Rear wiper
  • Roof rails

Other features

  • Auto hatch unlock on key
  • DataDot security technology
  • Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
  • Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty
  • 2.5 litre SOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine. 126 kW/6000 rpm, 229 Nm/3200 rpm

Forester XS adds:

  • Alloy matt finish door handles
  • Climate control air conditioning with anti-dust filters
  • Colour-coded door mirrors
  • Front fog lights
  • Privacy glass – rear, rear quarter, tailgate
  • Rear seat retractable tray with cup holders
  • Self-levelling rear suspension
  • Six-stack CD with seven speakers (including subwoofer)
  • Woodgrain-type centre console surround
  • 16-inch alloy wheels- full size steel spare

Forester XS Premium adds:

  • Eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat
  • Leather trim, including steering wheel and gearshift
  • Sunroof

Forester XT adds (to XS specification – not XS Premium):

  • Alloy pedals
  • Engine cover
  • Rear roof spoiler with LED brake light
  • Xenon headlights (low beam) – self levelling with pop-up washers
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 2.5-litre DOHC horizontally opposed turbocharged boxer engine. 169 kw/5200 rpm, 320 Nm/2800 rpm.

Forester XT Premium adds (to XT specification):

  • Eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat
  • Leather trim
  • DVD Satellite navigation with WMA/MP3/Bluetooth compatibility
  • Sunroof


  • Satellite navigation (XS Premium) – $2990.

Forester MY09 pricing

These are recommended retail prices and do not include dealer and statutory charges.

  • Forester X manual $30,490
  • Forester X SPORTSHIFT auto $32,490
  • Forester XS manual $33,990
  • Forester XS SPORTSHIFT auto $35,990
  • Forester XS Premium manual $37,490
  • Forester XS Premium SPORTSHIFT auto $39,490
  • Forester XT manual $38,990
  • Forester XT SPORTSHIFT auto $40,990
  • Forester XT Premium manual $44,990
  • Forester XT Premium SPORTSHIFT auto $46,990

  • Adam J

    Another great car from Subaru,
    I am not a fan of the rear styling, but the front looks great.

  • http://www.ihatemycar.com.au ihatemycardotcomdotau

    Designers did better job on new Forester than new Impreza…WRX really suck

  • Mitch

    i hope they dont have the stupid middle seat belt they do in the current model. you’ve gotta reach half way back to the tailgate and grab it off the roof. Pain in the A*SE

    Also 4 speed auto cant be great for the fuel economy.

  • Duck

    Looks good outside, some people wont like the new front grill on subbys now. Is the interior exactly the same to the one found in the Impreza?

  • Tom

    The thing that impresses me the most is the XT manual for only $38990! Thats a lot of car for not a lot of money. Some people will say it looks too outlander-ish, but at least its not offensive. Like the new impreza, if you get the colour right it looks quite good.

  • Tom

    It will be good when subaru ditch the 4 speed auto though, particularly with the popularity of auto, a lot of bought foresters will be auto, which is a fair bit slower and thirstier than the manual.

  • Barneyridge

    I think you made a slight mistake by saying the non turbo will get a 5sp auto. I believe that it will still be only the 4sp auto only. I have read else where that in 2010 the auto’s will be ditched for a CVT transmission.

  • Nath

    Its looks a bit weird to tell you the truth. I think the old one looks nicer. The interior is much better though.

  • http://antilag.com Joe

    Outlander, Forester, same!

  • o

    1 outlander and forester are completly different and are not even on the smae platform
    2 the rear window reaches far to low
    3 NO frameless dorrs thats what made me a suburu fan

  • trackdaze

    I’ll take the diesel thanks. Comon subaru bring the diesel out 110kw & 350torques! using 7litres per hundred.

  • Captain Mainwaring

    Not a smart idea putting a Chrysler front end on it. Same goes for new Tribeca. What happened to their originality? Oh, I know, it’s part of the Toyota empire now.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    Captain – beam yourself up mate? You comment is like your on Star Trek. Simply its called changing the look as previous versions were offensive and ugly as – not sold in numbers! Thats it and thats all! NOTHING ELSE TO SAY! AS NO MORE TO SAY!

  • Realcars

    looks a lot better than the old model.has proper awd too!

    Should sell well.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    Lights like Outlander, wheels like all other cars, motor like all other cars, windows like all other cars, steering wheel like all other cars, front bumper under grille like Kia…..gee people how they draw conclusions and vague comments amazes me! As look normal compared to last it should sell well.

  • Andrew M

    looks like an outlander?

    ill take the outlander for looks every day of the week

  • trackdaze

    FFS people. really, who cares what it looks like there is only so much you can do with a 2 box design. & me thinks it still looks like a forester from the rear and sides and thank god they didn’t stick a koala nose on it.

    & last time i looked the outlander had god awefull suspension & steering & no dual range transfer case.

  • Realcars

    Sorry NM but I like the look of it and don’t like the look of the outgoing model. These things are good value considering u get proper AWD and not just front drive most of the time AWD and at least it doesn’t look like the dog mobile out of Dumb and Dumber anymore.

    Yeah and the Toyota corporate Koala Nose(I\’ll remember that one)annoys me too!

  • Reckless1

    It’s a pity you can’t get dual range on the higher spec XTmanuals.

    That seems really stupid. The transfer case gears must be so weak the extra power of the turbo is too much. But then Toyota likes putting weak components in its cars – just look for exploding diffs in the cruisers.

    I sat in this jigger at the show, and it wasn’t half bad. Looks better in the flesh than in the photos, particularly the slightly weird dash curves.

    Might have a look at the XS manual with dual range for off-roading. The ground clearance is good at 220, but why the XT has more ground clearance when low range is dropped seems pretty stupid.

  • http://antilag.com Joe

    O, how can you say that the Outlander and the Forester are based on a different platform?

    They are clearly the same car, obviously!

    (is there a button that I can press which shows my eyes rolling)?

  • trackdaze

    Reckless, Imagine the turbos extra clearance is on account of its taller tyres.

    Agree XT would be the go if it had a Hi/Lo range. Wonder if thats the same reason we wont be getting the 110kw/350torques turbo diesel?

    Comon subaru wack the turbo diesel in (& keep the 2sp transfer case) and i’ll buy one!

  • Frugal One

    SUBARU –

    “The wagon car company”

    THE most over-rated brand on our market.

    Ok product, NO better than any other Japper



  • Bret

    F-O, and what brilliant insight are you basing that comment on?
    Based on my personal experience it is by far the best Jap brand (note from my experience). Better than Honda, far better than toyota, and Nissan & Mitsu aren’t even in the same ballpark.
    Funny how Subaru is always UNDERrated by those that don’t own them. (but I don’t know about F-O)
    (And no, none of our Subarus have been “wagons”)

  • http://antilag.com Joe

    Ssshhhh, leave F-O alone…his comments in all of the Car Advice articles are well informed, unbiased opinions.

    (where is that eye rolling button again?)

  • Godspeed

    Pity they’ve dropped the signature Suby upside-down trapezium gille but I guess it looks aesthetically better (if more boring) for it.

    While it looks like a big injection of value and safety in the new Forester, it looks like XT buyers are getting a bit of a raw deal? Acceleration in the 6’s (of the old model) has now gone, and you’re stuck with an anachronistic FOUR speed auto? turbo must go off the boil easily when changing gears

  • Reckless1

    Yes, Trackdaze, I reckon there’s a torque limit on the low range gears which is exceeded by the Turbo and the Diesel.

    From what I saw at the show, the low range seems to be engaged at the rear of the engine before gearbox input, rather than the “conventional” transfer case hanging off the back of the gearbox.

    This would mean the input torque to the gearbox would be multiplied and therefore easily exceed its capacity.

  • trackdaze


    They’ve got the TD in the outback in the UK does it do without the 2spd transfer case?

  • Frugal One

    Further –

    One other thing i forgot to mention, like haonda owners, “The Wagon Car Company” owners are very very [extreme] fickle punters too.

    NO, wont buy one, they are as ugly as a hat full of assholes, and the company is unethical [shutting down dealers and selling directly, and no factory representation]




  • Bret

    NO F_O not exteme or fickle (sic) just discerning!

  • Ian

    While not a difficult achievement, this looks significantly better than the old model – looks tolerable now. And it seems to be good value. I don’t like the dated and familiar looking dash though and shame about the 4 speed auto.

  • Barneyridge

    The diesel is coming out for the Forester but the demand from Europe is taking up the entire surplus. They tried to get the diesel here for launch but it could not happen. Should provide a bit more appeal to the range, plus it will be up against the new diesel VW Tiguan.

  • http://caradvice.com.au Chris Parr

    best looking compact suv by FAR!! new X trail is plain ugly,, crv front grille horrible styling and those ugly rear tail lights!! the only problem with previous forester
    was it was to small and looked dated,,both problems been fixed!! as well as more safety and std features..dont judge the auto until you have driven it, it works brilliantly and is very smooth.. GOOD WORK SUBARU!!

  • David

    Frugal One-a pretty big statement

    Subaru no better than any other Japper?
    Only have to compare my 92 Wagon with my neighbours 95 Camry both purchased new,no comparison.

  • Peter

    Looks alright, but then again the styling is inoffensive. It now looks just the others in this segment (ie. RAV4, Outlander). The previous generation model had rather unique styling – it appeared to be smaller than the competition, which I believe added to its appeal.

  • Jeremy

    I was going to buy a 08 CR-V until I test drove the 09 ForesterXT. I found the Forester a great car, and very fuel economic. Around town averaged 12-13lt/100km and on the highway got down to as low as 8.5lt/100km. Great interior and a real refreshing new look has got me ordering one.

  • Red-Dirt-Country-Lover

    Looks good, especially higher clearance – will be interested to see how approach and departure angles altered off road. Disappointed that Subaru don’t listen to feedback re low profile tyres – thin walls are hopeless in arid country resulting in staking extraordinaire. How about an option for smaller rims allowing higher profile tyres with multiply walls? Come on diesel – in the meantime is 2008 Forester compliant with gas conversion?

  • Terry

    I bought a 2007 Forester run-out model(Columbia pack)in Jan08 and after 2 months,whilst parked at a set of traffic lights,it got rammed up the arse by an out-of-control 3 ton truck. Luckily for me it was declared a write-off and so I recently took possession of the latest 2008 MY09 model. The improvements compared to the out-going model are immense. Simply,it is brilliant!..the auto tranny is much smoother, the engine much more responsive, the suspension is damm near perfect, it has much more room, it is very much quieter and the upgrades to switch gear, dash, console, gear selector and steering wheel are very well designed.The wife and I couldn’t be happier…you could say that the dim-wit who ran into my “old” model did us a HUGE favour.

  • Frugal-One

    Yeah Terry, lucky u.

    The WAGON-CAR-COMPANY vehicles have one word that comes to mind….U-G-L-Y!



  • Allan

    I currently drive a Liberty GT Spec B, Having recently bought a property I’m looking at the XT Auto, but to me there are a couple of concerns. No Dual Range is a negative. No Dual Range Auto is a Negative and 4 Speed Auto is a Negative. Positives – It’s a Suby so resale is excellent, safety is excellent, handling is superb, Power is ok and economy is ok. Still not decided, but I can’t keep driving through paddocks in the liberty ! I’m leaning towards the XT manual and compromising on the dual range ..

  • Andrew

    Went for a drive in both a manual and auto xt. I think it’s the gear boxes that lets them down. It needs a six speed manual to provide even gate ratios and a decent overdrive gear (way too many revs at 100km/hr), as for the auto, it needs to be a 5 speed at least. The other issue for me is the storage, just not enough of it. Appart from those points, a very good car.

  • Troye

    I currently drive a 2004 model Forester XT and am very happy with it. Had a look at the new 2009 model the other day and while the exterior is easier on the eye, i am hugely disappointed with the interior.

    My model has plenty of storage spaces which has disappeared in the new model. For starters, i have two glass/sunglass containers above the rearview mirror, now there’s only one. The big pop-up container above the dash is gone. The pop-out cupholder in the dash is gone, replaced by one or two (depending on manual/auto) fairly shallow square blocks in the centre console, what good is that!!?!? In addition to the standard enclosed container in the centre console (for CDs etc) i also have the optional centre console extender which doubles as an armrest and opens seperately to provide additional storage space for smaller items. This has been replaced by one gaping open hole in the new model, which i can only assume is for a woman’s handbag.

    I therefore have no desire to get the new model as i believe that i will lose more than i will gain, plus i get the feeling that Subaru is now aiming at the female market. Good luck to them, i’ll be looking elsewhere for my next upgrade.

    Oh and for heaven’s sake put a larger fuel tank in the thing, i hardly get 350km on a tank.

  • http://www.forestertoronto.com Forester Toronto

    A grown up Impreza!

  • SteveXT

    I currently have a 2011 XT Premium, And what a car, Though I agree with those who say it lacks storage inovation, What it has in power/performance and driving excelence you can easily deal with it. A few small items from the reject shop and auto shop and storage problems were solved.
    I’ve gotta say, Those whingers about this vehicle, Instead of sitting and whining, get out there and take one for a drive, the new full sat nav system with dvd,cd,phone,etc etc, Sunroof and leather interior is very plush. I have owned many european vehicles with much larger price tags which might I add have much worse storage problems then the jap cars and this one holds it place with any vehicle I’ve owned prior.