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by Tim Beissmann

The first official images of the 2013 Subaru Forester have been released ahead of the all-new medium SUV’s world premiere in Japan on November 13.

Uncovered in September in a series of leaked brochure images, the fourth-generation Forester shares much in common with the recently released Subaru Impreza small car and the high-riding Subaru XV crossover, with which it shares its basic underpinnings.

The all-new Subaru Forester will arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2013, replacing the outgoing third-generation model, which has been on sale here since March 2008.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior described the new Forester as the most significant generation of the car since the original from 1997.

“There is more change – substantial technical change – and innovation than ever before,” he said.

At 4595mm long, 1796mm wide, 1732mm tall and riding on a 2639mm wheelbase, the new Subaru Forester is 35mm longer, 24mm wider and 1mm taller than the current model, and is 32mm longer between the wheels. Rear-seat legroom and boot space have both increased, while ground clearance remains unchanged at 220mm.

Entry-level Forester variants (pictured above) will carry over the existing car’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 126kW of power and 235Nm of torque. The engine will be available with either a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The high-performance Forester XT (pictured top) scores a new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, which generates 186kW of power at 5600rpm and 350Nm of torque between 2000-4800rpm (up 17kW/30Nm from the current 2.5-litre turbo). The engine is teamed exclusively with a CVT, which Subaru says features both six-speed and eight-speed manual modes.

A diesel option will also be offered in Australia, although the local division is yet to announce the full details of its powertrain line-up.

Although few consumers in the medium SUV market have serious off-roading ambitions, Senior said the new Forester would be more capable off the beaten track than ever before.

“It’s a vehicle that could have been designed specifically for the Australian lifestyle,” he said. “It’s all-road, all conditions, all seasons and this new one will go further than any previous Forester.”

With a cabin that appears almost identical to the Impreza and XV, the new Forester is set to offer smartphone integration, navigation and a rear-view camera as standard throughout the range.

The Subaru Forester is the Japanese manufacturer’s best-selling vehicle of all time in Australia, with more than 169,000 delivered to the end of October.




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