The mid-life update to the fourth-generation Subaru Forester comes at a time when the popular SUV is trailing the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail in the highly competitive medium-sized segment, at least in the sales race.
The most prominent changes are to the Forester’s suspension setup, which includes modifications to the front and rear damper force, front and rear spring rates, bushes and cross member rigidity and even the rear suspension geometry alignment. The stabiliser bar is now thicker, while the steering ratio has been reduced from 15.5:1 down to 14:1.
The Japanese company claims the changes allow for a quicker vehicle response to steering inputs as well as improved ride and handling.
In addition to the suspension modifications, Subaru has also given the Forester thicker window glass and improved the rubber seals used, improving the cabin’s noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.
There are also changes to the actual body and door sill structures to further aid in NVH improvement, which Subaru claims has improved from the MY15 model by around five per cent.
From a design perspective, there’s the addition of a new Sepia Bronze Metallic exterior colour to complement the newly designed grille, headlights, taillights, bumpers and alloys on most models (XT remains unchanged).
The well-known Subaru hexagonal grille is restyled, as is the front bumper and the fog light surrounds on Forester 2.0i-L, 2.5i-L, 2.5i-S and diesel variants, along with fog light surrounds.
Adaptive LED headlights (respond to the angle of the steering wheel) and new daytime running lights (DRLs) have been added to the Forester 2.5i-S and 2.0XT variants, while all MY16 Foresters gain a new a three-dimensional C-shaped motif LED clear combination rear lights. A range of new 17- and 18-inch alloy wheel designs are also added.
The interior has also seen its share of improvements with the addition of a silver frame into the spoke section of the steering wheel. The seat fabric in the base models now has a stronger contrast for greater visual appeal, while Forester variants equipped with leather trim gain quilting to the door arm rest, for added visual appeal, while the seats themselves use thicker underside cushioning for better comfort and support.
Other minor changes include the addition of cushioning to both ends of the instrument panel, a revision of the reversing camera software to allow for faster display of guidelines with reverse selected, light to the vanity mirror (except in 2.0i) while Multi-Function Display (MFD) switch is moved from the steering wheel to the centre dashboard panel to reduce accidental use and to emphasise focus on the more often used buttons already on the wheel.
Subaru has also added a special 2.5-litre Forester EyeSight edition, which comes with the company’s list of active safety features and slots between L and S grades to entice fleet buyers. The Eyesight variant gains steering responsive headlights, LED DRLs, auto headlights wipers, a 7.0-inch touch screen and Eyesight.
There are no price changes to the 2016 Subaru Forester range.
- 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine - 110 kW/6200 rpm - 198 Nm/4200 rpm
- 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine - 126 kW/5800 rpm - 235 Nm/4100 rpm
- 2.0-litre turbo charged four-cylinder engine - 177 kW/5600 rpm - 350 Nm/2400-3600 rpm
- 2.0-litre turbo diesel four cylinder engine - 108 kW/3600 rpm - 350 Nm/1600-2400 rpm
Fuel consumption (L/100km) combined:
- Forester 2.0i-L manual - 7.2
- Forester 2.5i-L, 2.5i-S auto – 8.1
- Forester XT, XT Premium – 8.5
- Forester 2.0D-L, 2.0D-S manual – 5.9
- Forester 2.0D-L automatic – 6.3
- Forester 2.0D-S automatic – 6.4
2016 Subaru Forester pricing (plus on-road costs):
- Forester 2.0i-L manual $29,990
- Forester 2.5i-L auto $32,990
- Forester 2.5i-S auto $39,490
- Forester 2.0D-L manual $33,490
- Forester 2.0D-L auto $35,490
- Forester 2.0D-S manual $39,490
- Forester 2.0D-S auto $41,490
- Forester 2.0XT auto $40,990
- Forester 2.0XT Premium auto $47,990