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click above image for more live pics of the 2009 Subaru Forester from Detroit

Today in Detroit we finally got to see the long-anticipated (by some of us at least) 2009 Subaru Forester that was revealed on Christmas Day. We've covered the JDM version and the US model pretty extensively, but now we have a few live shots of this fun and funky CUV for those who like that sort of thing. As we've already revealed, US customers will have their choice of naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions of the same 2.5L boxer four-cylinder engine that has been offered in the past, although they've been reworked for more low-end torque.

The new, longer press release is after the jump, and if you peruse it you'll learn that the engines put out 170 HP/170 ft-lbs and 224/226 for the NA and turbo versions, respectively. Pretty much what we assumed, seeing as how they are virtually identical to those used in the Impreza. Although not specifically outlined in the release, we'll probably be getting the same trim levels as in the past: base 2.5X, Sports 2.5X, 2.5X L.L. Bean Edition paired with the NA engine and the 2.5XT, Sports 2.5XT and 2.5XT Limited offered with the turbo. New features for the 2009 US-spec Forester include available satellite navigation, standard Vehicle Dynamics Control and traction control, and Incline Start Assist on models with the manual transmission. Check out the live shots of US-spec 2009 Forester that have been added to our gallery below and read Subaru's press release after the jump.

[Source: Subaru]

Press Release



  • All-New Design with Improved Comfort, Space and Utility
  • All-New Platform With Sport-Sedan Dynamics
  • Standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)

DETROIT -- Subaru of America, Inc. today introduced the all-new, third-generation 2009 Forester. A total re-design of the award winning Forester, a vehicle that has built a strong reputation as an icon of safety, dependability and versatility. The 2009 Subaru Forester builds upon that reputation, with a bolder, more SUV-like design, and it makes a major leap in safety technology, comfort, refinement and driving dynamics – a noteworthy accomplishment considering the high standards set by the previous model.

The 2009 Forester arrives in Subaru dealerships this spring. As with all Subaru models, the 2009 Forester comes equipped as standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The new-generation 2009 Forester again blends positive SUV attributes including a high seating point and interior versatility with passenger car comfort, handling and fuel efficiency.

The 2009 Forester is built on an all-new platform featuring a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase (now 103.0 inches) that improves ride and interior space, especially rear seat legroom. The 2009 Forester also features increased hip and shoulder room. In addition, the new platform improves crash-worthiness and provides a stiffer platform for crisper handling. A new double-wishbone rear suspension, mounted to a sub frame, replaces the previous strut-type configuration to provide improved ride and handling and increased cargo room. The enhancement of body rigidity and new suspension help reduce levels of Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH).

All Forester models for 2009 feature standard side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, and the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system is standard on all models for the first time. With the Subaru Dynamic Chassis Control Concept (Subaru DC3), Subaru optimized all elements of the Forester's chassis to deliver a better balance of ride, handling response, quietness and overall traction performance than offered by competitive vehicles.

A comprehensive array of elements contributes to that goal, including the new, high-strength body structure, standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, VDC and four-wheel disc ABS brakes with the Brake Assist safety system. Manual-transmission models also feature Incline Start Assist, which can momentarily prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when being driven away from a stop on an incline.

Even with its bolder exterior and roomier interior, the new 2009 Forester is only about three inches longer than its predecessor, thus retaining the trim exterior packaging cited by Forester owners as one of this model's most essential features. Combined, the all-new platform and chassis systems enhance the outstanding on-road handling and maneuverability that have been Forester hallmarks since the model's inception.

The Forester for 2009 was designed to create a new CUV for active lifestyles, improving ground clearance and drivability while maintaining Forester's rugged off-road capability. The 2009 Forester offers naturally aspirated and turbocharged/intercooled 2.5-liter Boxer engines, both revised to provide better performance. In particular, low-end and mid-range torque is improved for both engines for more responsive everyday performance. The robust body structure, heavy-duty raised four-wheel independent suspension and up to 8.9 inches of ground clearance help make Forester equally adept at negotiating twisty roads and absorbing ruts and bumps. The ride quality, acclaimed in the previous model as one of the best in the segment, is now even smoother and quieter.

As before, Forester is offered in a wide array of models. The 2009 Forester 2.5 X is one of the best values in the crossover SUV segment. The Forester L.L.Bean Edition model offers more luxury without compromising the vehicle's sporty nature.

The new-generation Forester makes a bolder SUV design statement than before while retaining its Subaru identity and without resorting to overbearing design elements. A larger, more pronounced grill, higher hood line, "hawk eye" headlights and a large, contoured bumper cover with available foglights give the front end a more confident appearance. More sharply defined character lines and boxed front fenders and rear quarter panels accentuate the new SUV profile. Larger light clusters highlight the rear styling.

The new Forester design integrates functional improvements, as well. New for 2009, framed side windows and larger door openings provide improved ingress and egress. The rear gate's generous glass area enables the average-sized driver to see a 1-meter (3.2 ft. tall) test dummy positioned 1 meter behind the vehicle.

The 2009 Forester platform is based on the Subaru DC3 which underpins the brand's high-performance Impreza models. The new chassis and body are designed for improved rigidity and ride comfort with the addition of high-tension steel at key structural points.

The Subaru Forester was among the first crossover SUVs to ride on four-wheel independent suspension. The 2009 Forester continues that practice adding a new rear double wishbone independent suspension and widened tracks, which gives it a car-like ride quality while providing exceptional handling dynamics. Changes in the ground camber are reduced to ensure that the tire is constantly perpendicular to the road. This enhances the grip performance of tires. To further improve handling in the 2009 Forester models, the engine is now placed slightly lower in the chassis, which lowers the center of gravity. All Forester models feature a quicker steering ratio and a more rigid steering mounting. Forester models with 16-inch steel wheels use 215/65R16 tires; models with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels feature 225/55R17 tires.

The 2009 Forester interior places a new emphasis on comfort and spaciousness. New materials, including double-stitched fabrics and high-grade plastics, impart a feeling of higher quality. Front seatback comfort is enhanced by the use of specially developed seat cushion and seatback spring. The sweeping twin cockpit design embraces occupants, and brushed aluminum-look insets flow into the center stack. The center console shape adds to the airiness of the interior, aided by the sculpted door panels and improved headroom. Each door panel houses a molded recess that can accommodate a 24-oz. soft drink bottle, as well as loose items.

Rear passenger comfort is enhanced by a central armrest in all models, and new available retractable rear center tray that can securely hold food and drinks is available, as is a reclining rear seatback function. The standard 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold to provide a flat cargo floor, made wider between the wheelhouses by the new double-wishbone suspension. The cargo area is large enough to accommodate four Tour-sized golf bags or four large overnight suitcases with the rear seat backs raised.

The 2009 Forester offers more user technology then ever, including a navigation system for the first time. The standard information center (or available navigation system) is the focal point of the instrument panel. In addition to an input for MP3 players, the center console, when equipped with the navigation system, also includes video jacks that can accommodate portable gaming devices. These can be displayed on the navigation screen when the vehicle is parked.

The navigation screen is placed at the top of the dashboard for improved visibility and ease of use. The 2009 Forester comes pre-wired for XM® or SIRIUS® Satellite Radio. The standard and optional audio systems feature the Radio Broadcast Data System, which can display a variety of information, including a song's title and artist.

Forester models equipped with the optional navigation system include Audyssey MultEQ® audio enhancement, which made its OEM debut with the new-generation Subaru Impreza models for 2008. Featured in high-end home theater systems, Audyssey MultEQ creates the optimal sound experience for passengers in each seat position by tuning equalization that corrects for time and frequency response.

The heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer are available as optional features. The available AM/FM 100-watt premium stereo includes a 6-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3/WMA audio file capability. The accompanying 6-speaker audio system with SRS Circle Surround Automotive® is also available in other Subaru models. An auxiliary audio input jack enables connection of an iPod® or MP3 player.

Additional available comfort touches include a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons and a leather-wrapped shifter handle.

The headlights-off with ignition switch is a traditional Subaru convenience that can preserve battery life, and the 2009 Forester offers several important new conveniences, as well. On models with the 5-speed manual transmission, the Incline Start Assist feature can help prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when being driven away from a stop on an incline. This new feature represents an improvement over the Hill Holder system previously used in manual-transmission Forester models. With the optional automatic transmission, Forester is pre-wired for a remote-starting system. The dual gas-strut hood supports are easier and more convenient than a prop rod.

The Forester's 2.5-liter normally aspirated Boxer engine is modified for 2009 to improve performance, drivability, and economy. The engine delivers 170 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 170 lb-ft. of peak torque @ 4,400 rpm. A new intake port design helps improve both low-end torque and emissions. A new optimized catalyst system provides improved emissions performance. The i-Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) ensures a broad torque curve and smooth response at all engine speeds, while also helping to improve fuel efficiency. The switch from a single rear muffler to dual mufflers – as on the Legacy and Outback models – reduces exhaust backpressure while ensuring quiet operation.

The 2009 Forester turbocharged models are powered by a revised 2.5-liter Boxer engine delivering 224 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm and 226 lb.-ft. of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. The turbo engine, while retaining the same peak power and torque ratings as its predecessor, is modified with a new intake system, redesigned turbocharger and intercooler to produce more torque at lower rpm for a smooth stream of power.

The 5-speed manual transmission is enhanced for better feel, and models with the 4-speed automatic transmission feature SPORTSHIFT ® control for manual gear shifting when desired.

Previous Forester models have been safety leaders, achieving the highest ratings in both NHTSA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests. Subaru engineered the 2009 Forester to achieve these high ratings, building it around the company's proven Ring Shaped Reinforcement Frame safety structure.

All Forester models for 2009 feature as standard equipment front seat side impact air bags and side curtain air bags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to determine front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection. Active front head restraints can help reduce potential whiplash injury in a rear collision.

A rollover sensor is added to activate the seat belt pre-tensioners and deploy the curtain airbags. (It should be noted that the previous Forester model achieved a 4-star rating for rollover from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

An All-Wheel Drive pioneer, Subaru is the only brand to equip all its models with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is comprised of the Boxer engine and the full-time power distribution system, which varies by model and transmission. The aluminum Boxer engine and simple, symmetrical drivetrain layout help to lower the center of gravity, which in turn contributes to handling precision. Subaru began offering four-wheel drive passenger cars 35 years ago and introduced innovative automatic full-time All-Wheel Drive in 1987. In 1997, Subaru became the first brand in the U.S. to make All-Wheel Drive standard on all models.

The 2009 Forester models feature two versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, both of which power all four wheels all the time and can transfer more power to the wheels with the best grip. Models equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission utilize a viscous-coupling locking center differential that distributes power 50:50, transferring more power to the wheels with the best traction should slippage occur.

In all Forester models with the automatic transmission, an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively manages power distribution based on acceleration, deceleration, and available traction. This active torque split system automatically transfers more power to the wheels with the best grip should slippage occur. Overall AWD performance is enhanced in the 2009 Forester models via improved communication over the LAN system. Control logic in this AWD system enhances stability by monitoring individual wheel speeds and reacting more quickly to wheel slippage. The control logic also helps to improve tight corner braking, contributing to more neutral handling response (reduced understeer and oversteer).

Both versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive integrate the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to further enhance all-weather stability and traction.

About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes all-wheel drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru is the only car company that offers Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its model line.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Most US citizens are getting bigger and older, most "car" doors are not. I suspect that is one big reason people buy small SUV's, mini vans and small pickups, it was for me.
      As to "style"-- "me to" doesn't seem to be Subaru's thing.
      Subaru has a fine 5 speed auto, the 4 cyl. needs it far more than the 6. Perhaps a low range (1st-4th gear) and High
      (2nd-5th gears) for normal driving.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dissapointing the turbo automatic loses its four wheel drive.
      and still no modern transmissions.
      Who is subaru kidding, the consumer or itself?
        • 7 Years Ago
        The current turbo forester has the 45/55 center differential (four wheel drive)

        The new one has front drive with a clutch pack to couple the rear axle.
        "In all Forester models with the automatic transmission, an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively manages power distribution based on acceleration, deceleration, and available traction. This active torque split system automatically transfers more power to the wheels with the best grip should slippage occur."
        'All wheel drive' is marketing non-sense. The same goes for the part/full time BS. Either you have four wheel drive or you don't. Most pickups have off-road drive. That is where you couple the front driveshaft to the rear driveshaft. You have no ability to turn, crow hop (you can, usually you have power on understeer turning to snap oversteer)

        Cars like the WRX have a center differential. They are the cars you want when you are chasing tornados, and you want the WRX STi when the tornado decides to chase you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mike, the new one should be AWD (45/55) - there's nothing that says otherwise...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mike, where exactly does it say that "the turbo automatic loses its four wheel drive"? I think you might have misread since all Subaru cars since 1997 have had AWD standard. Aside from that note, I am going to have to agree with you with regards to the 4spd auto. Also, Subaru have really dropped the ball with the styling on the Impreza and the Forester. Although the Legacy is still stunning, I am disappointed that they no longer offer the non-Outback wagons in the United States. Subaru would have a lot more sales if they actually marketed the Legacy GT. We wound up buying one after cross-shopping it with the 3 series and the G35.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone, put it out of its misery.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Dumbass. The Forester is a very competent compact SUV vs the competition. The Forester does very well head to head with the CRV and Escape. I'd buy the new Forester tomorrow if it had a diesel motor in it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why? Subaru has sold almost a half million of them since 98. Someone obviously likes them.

        I love watching the crys of "ugly" and "horrible" whenever Subaru introduces a new car. If it had any other badge on it; it would pass without comment. Because it is a Subaru, there is a race to be the first to gripe about how ugly it is.

        By the way, to those complaining about the 4-speed automatic, check out a 4 cylinder Toyota RAV-4. It's got one too. (as well as VUE, Liberty, and Tribue/Escape. ie: most of the competition)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Put yourself out of my misery.

        The Forester is the ONLY compact SUV option available right now. There is nothing that compares in the price range - heck, the CRV drives like a child's toy in comparison. In stock form the Forester is a wonderful machine, an XT with a little tuning is a little stealth bomber and will leave many BMWs in the dust.

        I have no idea what you drive, but there's a good chance a Forester XT will outperform and outhandle it.

        • 7 Years Ago
        I disagree. I think the new Forester has a better design. Doesn't matter if it looks commonplace on the outside - people who drives SUVs and Minivans generally are not looking for flashiness in appearance anyway. If they did, they would be buying sport/sporty cars.

        Anyway, does anyone know why this SUV can do this?

        Also, I wonder if all 4 seats can fold down to form a bed - similar to the Honda Element:

      • 7 Years Ago
      I own a 2005 Forester and love it (with a few gripes).
      It desperately needs a 5 speed Auto.
      Move the "dead pedal" to where your foot goes.
      The front seats need to be an inch wider.
      • 7 Years Ago
      nice interior...but the exterior looks like it was designed by ford...sort of lost its unique look...i cant stand those tail lights!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Just to answer an earlier question. The driver's seat does not swing out in the North American version. Maybe just JDM? However our Forester will have the fold flat front seats. The rear seats also recline.

        Regarding the all-wheel drive. The new 09 Forester continues with Subaru's Symmetrical Full-Time AWD system. In an automatic transmission that means an electronicly adjusted centre differential that splits torque from a default 60/40 (front-drive bias) upto 50/50 for maximum traction depending on road conditions. In the manual transmission the centre differential is purely mechanical and is a constant 50/50 torque split.

        The exterior style looks much much better in person. Trust me. In fact after seeing it in person, the rear-view of the vehicle went from being my least favourite part of the vehicle, to the most. The tall back window is to keep with the Forester tradition of excellent visibility. Try backing up a Rogue then jump in a Forester, there is no comparison.

        Looking at the rest of the vehicle, there are several noticeable improvements over the 08 model. First is the rear seat leg room which goes from being cramped to luxurious. That combined with a larger opening radius for the rear doors makes getting children in and out, especially in car seats, a walk in the park. Secondly is the ride quality. The new 09 Forester rides smoother and quieter than the 08. It soaks up potholes and ruts like a car way above its class. Road noise is also cut down significantly, I'm guessing partially due to the move to framed windows. Subaru's VDC (stability control) now comes standard as well as side curtain airbags and an auxiliary audio input. The interior is updated to match the new Impreza's styling and ground clearance has increased to best-in class. Beating out even a Hummer H3.

        As for the 4-speed automatic. It has picked up the transmission setup from the Impreza that allows for a sport mode as well as a manual mode. For the spirited driver, I'd recommend taking advantage of those features.

        A heard someone complain about gas mileage. The new 09 Forester model returns numbers similar to the RAV4, Outlander and CR-V. In fact, better than a CR-V. All the while increasing performance, increasing interior space and comfort, increasing ride quality, increasing safety, adding more standard features, and lowering the price $1200. I'd say Subaru hit a home run with this one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's a nice looking Rav4 / Outlander!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I thought i read somewhere that the Forester requires premium gas. Can someone clarify this?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just bought the 2009 L .L. Bean Edition and I love it! I had a 2001 and then 2005 but 2009 is the best one yet.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No big surprise here.

      Rumors that it gets the 4-speed automatic, not Subaru's 5-speed auto... which is unfortunate.

      The little range rover coupe SUV, and the Hummer HX certainly are more visually enticing. But people don't buy little SUV boxes because they are unique.

      They buy them because they are NOT unique.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with Gary Fulton. I have a 2005 Forester and chose it over CRV.
      Lookwise Subaru hasn't always been on the frontline - but my 05 forester is overall more value for money than either Xterra(terrible gas)/Rav4/CRV (less options for same value) .. + the crash ratings.

      The -ve I feel with the 2009 is they reduced the internal storage areas a lot - the JDM version has a clock console next to the dash which used to be such a convenient storage bin.
      • 7 Years Ago
      God, you think the auto press was run by a bunch of lesbians...this SU whatever is no big deal! Enough already!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Read up on the Forester XT - should leave whatever you drive in the dust. The boxer engine really is something else, as is the handling. Wonderful small SUV.

        Enjoy your economobile...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not a huge fan of Subarus, but I thought it was only the Legacy Outback that came in L L Bean trim.
      The "story" says that most likely the same three trim levels/models as the previous Forester offered, will be available...then it contradicts itself by naming other trim levels. Is it : Base, Sport XT, and Turbo XT?
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