Upon its introduction for 2008, we couldn't help but feel that the third-generation Forester was perhaps Subaru's most attractive design effort in many, many years. While there was little that was groundbreaking about the design, its simple two-box shape was – and is – clean and free of extraneous details. To be fair, the Japanese automaker has always been renowned more for their technological designs (e.g. all-wheel drive, boxer engines) than their aesthetic ones, but this Subaru was proper work. Thus, we've been awaiting the range's promised successor with more than a little trepidation – we've seen modest design tweaks undue the visual appeal of previous Subarus too many times. Judging by this early look courtesy of what look to be scans of a Japanese Domestic Market brochure, we needn't have been so concerned.

The new Forester is expected to carry a 2014 model year designation here in the U.S. when it goes on sale here next year, and it's almost certain to share its platform with the new-for-2012 Impreza and XV Crosstrek. Based off the measurements disclosed in the JDM brochure, the new Forester will ride on a modestly longer wheelbase (less than an inch longer than the 2012 model), be a bit longer (roughly 1.4-inches) and wider by under an inch. It will also stand a sliver taller, but such minor differences will likely be very tough to discern with the naked eye.

Up front, the Forester has a bluffer and more assertive face, with a markedly more aggressive lower fascia with what look like vertical slat vents adjacent to smaller, low-mounted fog lamps. Subaru's wing-form element has nestled into a boxier grille form – the outgoing model's chrome fillet and badge rode on the top edge of the grille, but here it slides down a bit, standing out more thanks to a dark mesh backdrop. Like the new Impreza, the Forester adopts a five-window greenhouse, with a small quarterlight up front and new door-mounted side mirrors. The rest of the two-box shape looks decidedly similar to the outgoing generation, but that's not a bad thing. Prominent fender flares and new wheels mark out the rest of the profile. Out back, there's a larger roof-mounted spoiler, new rear hatch skin and a fresh bumper cap as well.

What we can see of the dashboard in the grainy brochure image appears to be the same unit found in the Impreza, which is to say simple and frill-free. We're hoping there are some upgrades in the materials and center stack technology, as we found the Impreza's cabin to be honest but underwhelming.

In Japan, the Forester will apparently be available with the buyer's choice of a 146-horsepower, 2.0-liter four (yoked to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a Continuously Variable Transmission) or a 276-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four, the latter only available with a CVT. For those keeping score, the outgoing Forester is available in the U.S. with a pair of 2.5-liter engines, one with 170 hp and the turbocharged model with 224 hp. It isn't immediately clear what engine(s) will be available in the States, but we think it's unlikely that the JDM 2.0-liter will be offered, if only not to go "backwards" on the spec sheet in terms of power. Thus, it's reasonable to assume that the company's newer 2.5-liter FB flat-four will find a way underhood, and it offers 173 horses in today's Legacy.

While there's no official word on when this Forester will make its global debut, we expect it to be very soon, as reports have the car going on sale in Japan in mid-November.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 67 Comments
      Delta5
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dear Subaru, Please, please, please bring the 2.0 Turbo to the US Market. I know you probably won't, but you'd make a whole lot of Subaru owners very happy since you quit offering a turbo in the Outback. Plus, I'd really love a "grown-up" version of my beloved WRX. My checkbook is waiting. Yours truly, A 4-time Subaru owner
        sp33dklz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Delta5
        Dito Subaru... And I'm also a 4-time owner myself. Start listening to your clientel.
        sp33dklz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Delta5
        Dito Subaru... And I'm also a 4-time owner myself. Start listening to your clientel.
        foxtrot685
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Delta5
        That really was such a shame they dropped the turbo from the Outback wagon. Plus the last generation was such a good looking model in XT format with the nice simple 5 spokes and the hood scoop. (I'm sorry but the current gen is just too damn chunky... eww.)
      m
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great little car, totally underated ... this car deserve more love... but dont care so much about this refreshed facia... i actually prefer the previous face. made it looks cuter...
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      So are they going to make everything in their lineup look like the Impreza? That doesn't do anything for me at all. As much as it pains me to say it, the CVT is a HUGE upgrade over the terrible 4 speed automatic that the Forester had.
      jjmoonen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awkward looking. Subaru design seems to be slowly getting............well, ugly.
        Drakkon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jjmoonen
        Sometimes. It seems every other generation Legacy looks good. I had a 1995 and liked it. The 2000 was boring. The 2005 was really nice looking, the current one is gross. The sport wagon concept is brilliant, but not a sure thing and likely to be bore-i-fied if it did come to market.
      Yoshi
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is the vehicle that will entice me to try Subaru. I'm not sure if I'll go for the 2.5 or the Turbo at this point, but I'll be eagerly awaiting more information about it. Looks great, economy should be much more respectable, and the size is perfect. If they've improved a few of the (lack of) interior/door panel quality issues I found with the previous generation, I'm on board!
        Jim
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Yoshi
        I agree Yoshi. I currently have an Escape and am a big fan of the two box design. If Subaru could get the thing more responsive, increase the MPG's and get a first class interior, I'd be on board.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      BB79826
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not sure why Autoblog thinks they wouldn't downsize from a 2.5L to a 2.0L It's exactly what they did with the Impreza - and its acceleration numbers actually improved, at least with the automatic/CVT. But I do think they'll stick with the 2.5L.
        joejoe509
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BB79826
        Unless they make a new 2.5L for uplevel Imprezas, the new WRX/Sti, etc. It's not out of the question.
      KosmicOdyssey
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seriously, how the f**k did they make the current Forester UGLIER? That's takes some real talent!
      David
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 2007-2008 looked way better then 2009+...
        BB79826
        • 2 Years Ago
        @David
        Actually, each gen has looked progressively worse. The first still looks great, I think!
      David
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 2007-2008 looked way better then 2009+...
      David
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 2007-2008 looked way better then 2009+...
      deejayspinz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Title Correction - "Subaru Rav4"
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