We first saw the new Forester during its regional launch and test drive in Taichung, Taiwan and following its launch in Singapore as a CBU unit from Japan, it will be made available in Malaysia as a CKD (locally assembled) unit sometime in December.
In Singapore, the Forester's variants are the entry-level 2.0i-L and range-topping 2.0i-S - both with Eyesight and have been priced with Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) at SGD$111,800 (RM340,000) and SGD$118,800 (RM360,000) respectively.
Additionally, both variants come in eight colour choices of Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Jasper Green Metallic, Horizon Blue Pearl, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, Dark Grey Metallic and Crystal Black Silica.
The drivetrain utilises a 2.0-litre (1,995cc) flat-four direct-injected engine - producing 156PS at 6,000rpm and 196Nm at 4,000rpm, mated to a continuously variable transmission with seven virtual gears that manages the 'twist' to the Active Torque Spilt all-wheel drive system.
This allows the Forester to sprint from 0 to 100kph in 10.3 seconds with a top speed of 193kph.
The 2.0i-L ES at 1,538kg (kerb), comes equipped with 17-inch wheels wearing 225/60 series tyres, automatic-levelling and steering responsive LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, bulbed front fogs, LED rear combination and fog lights, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, automatic wipers, roof spoiler and a shark-fin antenna.
Inside, the cabin comes fitted with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls and paddle-shifters, leather-wrapped gear knob, leather upholstered seats, eight-way powered driver and front passenger seats as well as 60:40-split rear folding seats with reclining and one-ouch folding switch.
For convenience, the powered windows have driver and front-passenger one-touch up and down function, dual-zone climate controls, multifunction display, keyless entry with push-start button, one-touch turn signal, PIN code access, and a tonneau cover.
Additionally, there's also start-stop functionality, SI Drive (Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp modes) and X-Mode (Normal, Snow/Dirt or Snow/Mud) for better traction.
A six-speaker audio system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display takes care of entertainment that comes with a reverse camera, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, single USB and HDMI ports (two USB ports for power behind centre console box) and an AUX jack.
For safety, there are seven airbags, four-channel anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, brake override, vehicle dynamics control, automatic vehicle hold, active torque vectoring, towing vehicle dynamics control and Isofix child-seat anchor points.
As for the range-topping 2.0i-S ES, it comes rolling on 18-inch wheels with lower profile 225/55 series tyres, and has been fitted with LED front fogs, sunroof, roof rails with loopholes, heated external mirrors, powered rear tailgate, aluminium pedals, driver's seat memory that includes external mirror positions and matt-silver coloured side claddings as well as front and rear underguards.
Additionally, safety is further bolstered by the inclusion of rear vehicle detection, external mirror tilt function when in reverse gear and a side-view monitor.
With both variants equipped with EyeSight, it means that both variants are fitted with adaptive cruise control, lane sway departure warning, lead vehicle start alert, pre-collision braking system and pre-collision throttle management.
Following the launch of the new Forester in Singapore, the company also kicked off its 2018 Mediacorp Subaru Car Challenge that saw 285 participants (including 74 regional participants from Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, China and Cambodia) vying for the Grand Prize of a brand-new Subaru XV 2.0i-S.