2019 Subaru Forester Bound for New York, Needs to Keep the Sales Magic Alive

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 subaru forester bound for new york needs to keep the sales magic alive

If there’s a great way to piss off Subaru buyers, the quirky Japanese brand hasn’t thought of it yet. Few automakers can boast of Subaru-like annual sales increases, and even fewer can say their customers are more likely to stick with the brand at trade-in time. Actually, only one brand can say that.

Subaru holds the distinction of actually seeing its U.S. sales rise during the recession, and from 2008 to 2017, volume rose by more than 245 percent. One of the models contributing to its success is the unassuming but remarkably capable Forester — a boxy, upright compact crossover with a tall greenhouse and an interior larger than its outside appearance would suggest.

Screwing up the next-generation Forester, which debuts later this month as a 2019 model, could hurt Subaru badly. No surprise, it looks like the automaker is choosing to play it safe.

We’ll see the whole thing at the New York Auto Show on March 28th, but for now, all we have to go on is a taillight and corner of the new model’s liftgate seen in this teaser photo. The shape of the rear glass doesn’t diverge much from the fourth-gen model, which went on sale in early 2013.

Modern, C-shaped taillights mimic those seen on recent Viziv-badged concept cars, signalling the model’s adoption of Subaru’s new design language. Unlike other models, however, the backup lights are located below the taillights, not nestled in the nook of the “c.”

Like we’ve seen with the recently introduced Impreza and its Crosstrek sibling, Subarus are quickly leaving the brand’s chunky styling in the past. It seems the Forester, which grows ever-so-slightly smoother with each generation, is continuing in this direction, but won’t make the mistake of turning into an anonymous blob. (The model moves onto the Subaru Global Platform, shared by those smaller models, for 2019.) Fewer cutouts, and perhaps a flowing line or two could be in the cards. In the photo, the crossover’s fenders, beltline, and tumblehome appear remarkably similar to the current version.

Powertrain information isn’t available, but it’s safe to expect the return of a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four and a turbocharged uplevel engine, each hooked to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. Previous top-flight Foresters borrowed a 2.0-liter unit, but the new Ascent’s blown 2.4-liter makes for an interesting possibility. Base-model purists had best hope Subaru isn’t planning a manual transmission cull.

While the automaker continues to see stellar sales growth, the Forester appears to have peaked. After climbing every year since 2011, Forester sales in the U.S. dropped by six-tenths of a percent in 2017. In February, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year sales declines, the Forester fell 9.2 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Over the first two months of 2018, U.S. volume fell 12.4 percent (It’s possible that anticipation of a new model plays into these numbers.)

We’ll have all the details on the 2019 Subaru Forester after it premieres on March 28th.

[Images: Subaru]

Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • HahnZahn HahnZahn on Mar 15, 2018

    Wow, there's a lot of snark aimed at Subaru. FWIW, we've take my wife's Forester deep into Death Valley, down 60 miles of unpaved deeply washboarded trails a couple times. I should see if we can get one of Subaru's bumper badges for that... But looking forward to seeing what the 2019 Forester looks like. I sprung for the 2017 Impreza after VW's Dieselgate. If she hadn't had a Forester, I'd have probably gone for that, but I didn't want to be one of those freak families that have two of the same damn vehicle. But starting to think, what the hell, why not get another?

  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Mar 15, 2018

    Well these will soon be clogging the roads in my neck of the woods driving 25 in a 35 with me stuck behind them. Oh boy I can't wait.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.