Spring 2008 Forward to a Friend


2009 Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester, the most award-winning small SUV in America,1 has changed ... and all for the better. Although its legions of advocate owners will tell you that it was fine as it was, they won’t be disappointed at the 2009 version of the SUV. The 2009 Forester is, in a way, theirs.

In designing the new Forester, Subaru took into account considerable input from previous owners and looked at how people use their vehicles. For instance, owners wanted more rear-seat legroom, easier access to the rear seat, and more cargo room – all without a significant increase in vehicle size. That’s what the 2009 Forester provides ... and more.


From nose to tail, the new Forester adopts familiar Subaru styling cues. In the front, the nose is reminiscent of Subaru Tribeca, and “hawkeye” lighting assemblies recall those of the Legacy, Outback, and Impreza. Outback- and Legacy-like lighting assemblies also adorn the back.

The lines around the wheel arches and across the sides are similar to those of the Tribeca, as are the door handle designs and the shape and tilt of the rear quarter windows. The door windows are framed, like those of the Tribeca and Impreza.

Inside, the sweeping twin cockpit design picks up lines established by Tribeca at its introduction. That sweep has been reiterated in Impreza. The convenient controls inside the new Forester along with an easy-to-read instrument panel are Subaru hallmarks.


One of the qualities most appreciated by drivers of the previous Forester was its handling, which was more like a car than an SUV. That quality hasn’t been lost. In fact, car-like handling is even stronger in the 2009 Forester. That’s due to the utilization of the Legacy/Impreza platform (a vehicle’s basic chassis and unit body assembly).

The new platform brings with it a wider track, longer wheelbase (by 3.6 inches), and double wishbone rear suspension system. Handling is improved, complemented by enhanced traction. The rear suspension is mounted to a subframe, which helps to lower road noise.

A slightly lower engine mounting moves the center of gravity closer to the ground, which contributes to improved handling. Other chassis improvements include a quicker steering ratio and a more rigid mounting for the steering system. Even with the longer wheelbase, the turning circle is tighter, making the 2009 Forester more maneuverable.

Added safety is provided by the standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system.

Although the platform is new, the core Subaru technology remains. Standard equipment includes Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive on all Subaru Forester models.

The all-new Forester unit body benefits from increased rigidity. Along with the subframe-mounted rear suspension, this helps to reduce Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).


Although the Forester engine lineup looks familiar, changes have been made to improve performance, drivability, and fuel economy. Modifications to the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine include a new intake port design that increases low-end torque and lowers emissions. The catalytic-converter system has been optimized as well, helping to reduce emissions. Dual mufflers are also new, helping to reduce exhaust back pressure and noise.

The available turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine has a new intake system along with a redesigned turbocharger and intercooler. These changes help the engine produce more torque at lower rpm and contribute to smoother power flow.

The Forester transmissions, too, have updates that improve operation. The manual five-speed has been enhanced for better feel during shifting, and the four-speed automatic receives Subaru SPORTSHIFT® manual gear-shifting control.


Interior convenience highlights include cargo-carrying details. Each door panel has a molded recess for soft-drink and water bottles up to 24 ounces. The center console’s design includes several moving pieces that can be configured to handle such items as handbags. In the rear seat, all models have a center armrest.

Door openings are wider, and the rear seats are situated for maximum ease of entry and exit. These provisions meet specific requests by previous Forester owners.

In the cargo area, the space between the wheelhousings is wider than in previous Forester models due to the subframe mounting of the double wishbone rear suspension system. That contributes to the new model’s ability to carry four tour-sized golf bags with the standard 60/40 split rear seatbacks raised. With these seatbacks lowered, the cargo floor is flat.

The 2009 Forester also offers more user technology than its predecessors, including such standard features as a vehicle information center, MP3-player input, pre-wiring for XM® or SIRIUS® satellite radio, and Radio Data System® (which can display such information as a song’s title and artist). A partial list of available features includes a navigation system incorporated in the dashboard, video jacks that accommodate portable gaming devices (displayed on the navigation screen when the vehicle is parked), Audyssey MultEQ® audio enhancement, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer. Forester has an available AM/FM 100-watt premium stereo that includes a six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3/WMA audio file capability along with SRS(•)® Circle Surround Automotive2 (Audio System Application). A leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons is also available.


The 2009 Forester is the direct result of Subaru responding to the needs and desires of Forester owners. This small SUV is poised for utilization in the typical Forester owner’s active life. Contemporary styling and practical design come together to make the new, third-generation Forester more of what it has been for its owners through its first two iterations.

1 Claim based on cumulative awards won since 1997 from Car and Driver (5Best Trucks), Edmunds.com (Editor’s Most Wanted), and R.L. Polk & Co. (Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards).

2 SRS(•), CS Auto, Circle Surround Automotive and WOW are trademarks of SRS Labs, Inc.

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by Ric Hawthorne

Accepting an invitation to drive the all-new Forester in Southern California the first week of March was a quick and easy decision for someone living in Wisconsin. In this case, though, the lure of finding out what this new vehicle is like to drive overshadowed the promise of respite from winter’s snow and subfreezing temperatures.

Our seat time in preproduction 2009 Forester models started in Laguna Beach, California, with a briefing by Subaru of America, Inc. The presentation team discussed the goals for this new Subaru as well as its design, technology, and utility. My driving partner and I followed a schedule that directed us first on a street drive and then had us flying to Santa Catalina Island for off-roading. During the course of the day, we drove the range of Forester models, with both five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions and both naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines.



This was my first experience with the Forester outside the confines of an auto show. Show lighting and booth setup make any vehicle examination a bit surreal. Now we had the Forester where it should be – on the road and on the trail.

Styling is dramatically different from the previous Forester, with strong design cues reminiscent of other Subaru models. While these are covered in the main article, I wanted to emphasize the family resemblances that Subaru vehicles now carry across the model lineup. The 2009 Forester is closer in design to the other Subaru models than to its predecessor, both inside and out.


The presentation team walked us around the new Forester, pointing out highlights. Having observed that Forester owners thoroughly utilize their vehicles, the team made it clear that utility was a Forester strength and advantage carried over to the new model, especially with its larger cargo area.

We were shown how much camping equipment could fit inside, as well as how many granola bars (4,590) and recycled cans ($400 worth). The telling demonstration was a large wooden box that fit into the Forester with its seatbacks folded forward to make a flat floor. The box did not fit in competitors’ cargo areas, and not even through some of their tailgates.

Under the cargo floor, sectioned storage areas make transporting loose items more convenient. So do the grocery-bag and coat hooks in the cargo area.

For rear-seat passengers, access to the rear seat has been improved significantly. The opening angle of the rear doors is wider, the span between the door post and the seat cushion is larger, and the legroom has been increased.

Other impressive interior features include the available rear-seat retractable tray, which folds forward to make a continuous console with the front center console. It has cupholders and a rectangular open storage area for the second-row passengers. Those passengers also will enjoy the comfort of the reclining seatbacks. The large, panoramic power moonroof lets in plenty of light and air (when open) for everyone.

Street Drive


One of the outstanding characteristics of the 2009 Forester is the visibility from inside. Not only is the moonroof larger than most, the side windows and tailgate glass give the driver and passengers a picture-window-like view of the surroundings all the way around the vehicle.

The Subaru presentation team demonstrated the excellent visibility to the rear with a test dummy that was one meter (3.2 feet) tall. An average-size driver can see the dummy when it is located only one meter behind the vehicle. Not many other vehicles provide such an excellent line of sight.

After the presentation, pairs of journalists took off for a street drive. Switching between driving and navigating, we followed a route that took us on city streets, freeways, and twisting, two-lane canyon roads. The first Forester that we drove had a naturally aspirated engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Later we drove a turbocharged model with a four-speed automatic transmission.

For me, the Forester driver seat (with either manual or power controls) is an easy one to situate for comfort and visibility all around. Even though telescoping columns are available, I was happy with the positioning I could achieve with only the tilt function on columns that had no telescoping function.

Seat cushioning caused both my driving partner and me to comment – it’s comfortable enough for daylong rides (even on primitive trails) with good side support for cornering. The seats were particularly comfortable in the region of the lower back.

As in other Subaru models, driving the Forester gives you the feeling of being connected with the road. Unless it’s pushed far beyond the limits of reason, the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive fights for traction at each wheel, and you can sense that in the confidence you feel behind the wheel. That connection is there with either engine and with either transmission.

We noticed a difference in suspension between the naturally aspirated-engine models and the models with turbocharging. Subjectively, both my driving partner and I prefer the firmer ride and improved handling of the XT models.

The Forester models that we were driving were preproduction units, so they exhibited quirks and some noises that will not be present in the production Foresters. That being said, we were surprised by the quiet interiors when traveling at 65 miles per hour. We held conversations without raising our voices to be heard, reminding me of luxury cars that I’ve driven in the past. Road noises are well buffered by the suspension mountings and rear subframe.

Our morning street ride ended at the Orange County airport, where we boarded a small, two-prop plane and flew to Santa Catalina Island, approximately 20 miles from the California shore.


What a beautiful place! Approaching the island’s airport (Airport in the Sky), we could see the steep cliffs dropping into the ocean at the shoreline and few sandy beaches. The landing strip is a level spot along some of the island's ridges.

Santa Catalina Island is approximately 76 square miles in size. Other than the town of Avalon (approximately one square mile), the land is largely a conservation area.

We were taken to a meeting site some miles from the airport, near a small harbor where major motion pictures have been filmed in the past. Our carriage was an older van that has probably had a long history of bouncing along the rough gravel, stone, and dirt roads. It reminded me of driving old pickup trucks across the furrows in plowed fields around the farm.

The speed limit on the island is 25 miles per hour. That’s if you can reach such a speed, hindered by tightly winding, narrow, trail-like roads that are wide enough for only one-and-a-half vehicles – at the most. Thankfully, we didn’t meet anyone along the ocean-side cliffs. Both driver and passenger had to be alert at all times.

Once in a while we met animals that wanted to share the road. We had to pass through a herd of bison – twice. Bison are a symbol of the island, although the herd that roams there started from animals left behind by a film crew decades ago.

The roads bounced and pitched. We skirted and drove over chunks of the rock that comprised the road surface or had fallen from the stone walls alongside. Every so often, streams from recent rains cut through the road, leaving a gulley to ford. Where those streams passed through dirt, we had oozing mud to plow through – like snowdrifts made of clay.

At one point, a wrong turn took us to a dead end that required turning around while avoiding a freshly cut gulley. The Forester we were driving never missed a beat, even though we had only three wheels on the ground at one point. Its turning circle and AWD got us out of the situation with nothing more than embarrassment about misreading navigational notes.

Then we went from one and a half lanes to a trail that followed the ridges at the “top” of the island. The views of the ocean and hills were spectacular. The Forester models that we drove were so competent and sure-footed that we could pay attention to the scenery, at least while we were in the passenger seat. At times the roads were so steep that our view of the road ahead was nothing but sky.

Our last stop before returning to the airport with the Forester models we drove was called “Hillclimb” on our navigation directions. That seemed ridiculous after the afternoon of twisty, rocky roads and gulley-washed trails. The entire day had been a hillclimb!

Subaru had found an exceptionally steep, rocky trail that looked impossible to drive. In addition to the angle of incline, the trail was loaded with large chunks of rock and loose stones, and it was difficult just to walk up or down it, let alone drive on it. But we watched as several journalists drove their Forester models up that hill.

Was it possible for other vehicles to climb that hill as well? Certainly (although one competitor at the scene could not)! However, the point was that a Forester could do it, too. The vehicle that gave us quiet, sophisticated drives on public roads earlier in the day also were capable of climbing dramatic slopes.

Throughout the day, we saw Forester suspension systems bounced furiously along the roads and trails as we traversed the island. But between the rigid vehicle bodies and the seats, we finished our ride without feeling stiff or beat up. Despite lurches and jolts, the Forester took the radical terrain in stride.

We were just happy not to have to ride the old van back to the Airport in the Sky.


Specifications sheets show that the new Forester is larger than the previous model – but just a little larger, and in all the right places to enhance the capabilities that made it so popular with its owners. Wider stance, longer wheelbase, and slightly longer body add to the comfort inside. It handles better and turns tighter. Plus, it handles cargo better and is quieter inside.

So the award-winning Forester has matured a bit. Still, at its core are the elements that made owners fall in love with the first two generations. In the 2009 Forester, a little bit more is a whole lot better!

For more information about the Catalina Island Conservancy and its work to preserve the island, visit www.catalinaconservancy.org.

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Engine 2.5X Models 2.5XT Models
Configuration 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (Boxer); aluminum cylinder block and heads with forged steel cylinder liners 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed (Boxer), turbocharged/intercooled, specially reinforced die-cast aluminum semi-closed deck cylinder block with integral cast iron cylinder liners, aluminum heads
Displacement 2,457 cc (150 cu in)
Bore x stroke 99.5 mm x 79.0 mm (3.92 in x 3.11 in)
Compression ratio 10.0:1 8.4:1
Horsepower 170 @ 6,000 rpm (PZEV: same) 224 @ 5,200 rpm
Torque lb-ft 170 @ 4,400 rpm (PZEV: same) 226 @ 2,800 rpm
Valvetrain Single Overhead Camshaft (SOHC), 4 valves per cylinder, belt-driven camshafts, i-Active Valve Lift System variable valve lift technology Double overhead belt-driven camshafts (DOHC), four valves per cylinder, Subaru Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing
Fuel/induction Sequential multi-port fuel injection (MFI); Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system Sequential multi-port fuel injection (MFI), Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system, turbocharger with intercooler
Fuel requirement Regular: 87 AKI min. Premium: 91 AKI min.
Ignition Distributorless Direct
Firing order 1-3-2-4
Emission control system Tier 2 BIN 5 Low Emission Vehicle (LEV II) standard, 50-state certified; PZEV in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont – PZEV available nationwide
Alternator rating 12v, 90 amps 12v, 110 amps
Transmission 5-speed manual with incline start assist (standard for 2.5X and 2.5X Premium)
4-speed electronic direct-control automatic with lockup torque converter and SPORTSHIFT (standard for 2.5XT models and 2.5X L.L.Bean Edition, optional for 2.5X models)
M/T AWD System Continuous All-Wheel Drive with viscous-coupling locking center differential
A/T AWD System Active All-Wheel Drive with electronically managed continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch
Stability/traction control Standard for all: Vehicle Dynamics Control with all-wheel, all-speed traction control and Electronic Limited Slip Differential function
Transmission ratios 5-speed manual 4-speed automatic
1 3.454 2.785
2 2.062 1.545
3 1.448 1.000
4 1.088 0.694
5 0.780
R 3.333 2.272
Final drive ratio 4.11 4.44
Chassis DC unitized body construction, ring-shaped frame reinforcement safety structure
Suspension 4-wheel independent, heavy-duty raised
Front MacPherson-type struts with internal rebound springs, lower L-arms, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Rear Double wishbone with subframe
Brakes Power-assisted with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and 4-channel/4-sensor ABS and Brake Assist
Front 11.7-inch discs, ventilated, dual-piston calipers
Rear 11.3-inch discs, single-piston calipers
Steering Rack-and-pinion with engine-speed controlled variable power assist
Ratio Pending
Turns, lock-to-lock Pending
Turning circle 34.4 ft
Wheels 2.5X base: 16 x 6.5JJ styled steel with full wheel covers
All others: 17 x 7.0 JJ aluminum alloy
Tires 2.5X base: 215/60 R16 96H Bridgestone® Dueler? H/T 687 M+S all-season
All others: 225/55 R17 95H Yokohama Geolandar G95 M+S all-season
Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase 103.0 in
Length 179.5 in
Width 70.1 in (79.0 in with mirrors)
Height 2.5X base: 65.9 in
All others: 66.9 in (includes roof rails)
Track (front/rear) 60.2 in/60.2 in
Ground clearance 2.5X models: 8.7 in
2.5XT models: 8.9 in
Angle of approach 24.8 deg
Angle of departure 24.8 deg
Ramp breakover angle 20.8 deg
Curb weight (lbs) 5-speed manual 4-speed automatic
     2.5X 3,250 3,300
     2.5X Premium Package 3,300 3,340
     L.L.Bean Edition 3,360
     2.5XT 3,440
     2.5XT Limited 3,460
Interior Dimensions
Headroom (front/rear) 41.6 in/40.4 in
With moonroof: 40.0 in/37.7 in
Legroom (front/rear) 43.1 in/38.0 in
Hip room (front/rear) 52.9 in/52.7 in
Shoulder room (front/rear) 56.1 in/55.6 in
EPA passenger volume 107.6 cu ft
With moonroof: 102.1 cu ft
Maximum load-floor length Rear seatback up: 37.5 in/rear seatback down: 61.8 in
Cargo area height 33.9 in
With moonroof: 31.2 in
Cargo area liftover height 27.4 in
Width between wheelhouses 42.2 in
Cargo volume Rear seatbacks up: 33.5 cu ft/rear seatbacks down: 68.3 cu ft
With moonroof: 30.8 cu ft/63.0 cu ft
Towing capacity Up to 2,400 lb (200-lb tongue weight) on a trailer equipped with trailer brakes
Fuel Efficiency 5-speed manual 4-speed automatic
EPA city mpg 2.5X models: 20
2.5XT models: 19
2.5X models: 20
2.5XT models: 19
EPA highway mpg 2.5X models: 26
2.5XT models: 24
2.5X models: 26
2.5XT models: 24
Fuel capacity 16.9 gal

Specifications are preliminary and subject to change.

Online Exclusive
Press Release from the North American International Auto Show Press Kit


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

[January 13, 2008] 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.

Online Exclusive
2009 Subaru Forester AT-A-GLANCE
From the North American International Auto Show Press Kit
  • Forester, one of the first crossover-type compact SUVs, is all new for 2009, with bolder SUV styling, an all-new platform for better ride and handling and a roomier, more refined interior.
  • Sport Utility Tough, Car Easy® crossover design blends positive SUV attributes such as a high seating point and interior versatility with passenger car comfort, handling and fuel efficiency.
  • Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) give Forester models outstanding all-climate traction and stability.
What’s New for 2009
  • Bold new SUV styling on a longer wheelbase than previous models (103.0 in. vs. 99.4 in.).
  • Longer wheelbase yields improved interior roominess and ride quality. New chassis improves crash-worthiness, and a stiffer platform gives Forester crisper handling and smoother ride.
  • Sophisticated double-wishbone rear suspension replaces strut-based configuration of the previous model; provides enhanced driving dynamics and improved cargo versatility.
  • Subaru Dynamic Chassis Control Concept (Subaru DC3) 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.
  • Forester combines the benefits of the new, stronger platform, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, VDC (electronic traction control included), 4-wheel disc ABS, Brake Assist, and, on 5-speed models, Incline Start Assist.
  • Improved ACT-4 system incorporated with automatic transmission constantly monitors the rotation of the four wheels and engine output in real time via onboard LAN system.
  • Side curtain air bags standard for all models.
  • 2.5-liter Boxer engines (naturally aspirated and turbocharged/intercooled) modified to provide broader torque curve for better performance.
  • Incline Start Assist (5-speed models) can momentarily prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when being driven away from a stop on an incline; improves on mechanical Hill Holder feature used in Forester previously.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System standard on all models.
  • Interior uses new higher-quality materials, including double-stitched fabrics and high-grade plastics.
  • Optional touch-screen navigation system, including Audyssey MultEQ® audio enhancement.
  • All models come pre-wired for installation of XM® or SIRIUS® Satellite Radio.
Key Facts
  • Two different versions of Symmetrical AWD, depending on transmission: Models with 5-speed manual transmission feature a viscous-coupling locking center differential that splits power 50:50 front to rear. Models with ACT-4, 4-speed automatic transmission use an electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch that actively manages the power split based on acceleration, deceleration and available traction. Both systems power all four wheels and will transfer power to the wheels with the best grip.
  • Ring Shaped Frame Reinforcement body structure provides outstanding occupant protection. Standard safety features include 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, Subaru Advanced Airbag System, curtain side air bags, front seat side-impact air bags and rear seat headrests for all three seating positions. Active front head restraints can help reduce the potential for whiplash injury in a rear collision, and a safety brake pedal system can help reduce lower leg injury in a frontal collision.
Major Standard Features
  • 12-volt cargo area power outlet
  • 16x6.5-inch steel wheels with full covers
  • 24-hour roadside assistance for new-car limited warranty period
  • 3-spoke steering wheel
  • 60/40 split fold down rear seatback
  • Air conditioning with air filtration
  • AM/FM stereo system with single-disc CD player and four speakers
  • Auxiliary audio input jack
  • Cargo area light and tie-down hooks
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Cruise control
  • Digital odometer and dual-mode trip odometer
  • Digital outside temperature gauge
  • Engine immobilizer
  • Engine speed-sensing rack-and-pinion power steering
  • Foldable power side mirrors
  • Gas-damper hood supports
  • Headlights/parking lights auto-off with ignition switch
  • Heavy-duty raised suspension
  • Height-adjustable driver’s seat
  • Incline Start Assist (5-speed manual transmission)
  • Information center with digital clock , outside temperature gauge and average fuel economy
  • Multi-function center console
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with driver’s one-touch auto down
  • Pre-wired for remote starter (automatic transmission only)
  • Pre-wired for XM® or SIRIUS® Satellite Radio
  • Rear window wiper with washer
  • Remote keyless entry system
  • Subaru Advanced Airbag System, front seat head / chest side impact air bags and side curtain air bags
  • Tilt adjustable steering column
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Variable intermittent windshield wipers
Highlights of equipment featured on or available for premium models:
  • 17x7-inch aluminum alloy wheels
  • AM/FM 100-watt premium stereo with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, 6-speakers and SRS Circle Surround system
  • Automatic climate control system
  • Fog lights
  • Heated exterior mirrors
  • Heated front seats
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Leather-trimmed upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped shifter handle
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with buttons for cruise control and audio system
  • Power driver’s seat
  • 60/40 split fold down rear seatback with reclining feature
  • Panoramic power glass moonroof
  • Roof cross bars
  • Tilt-and telescope adjustable steering column (2.5 XT and 2.5 XT Limited models only)
  • Touch-screen GPS navigation system
  • Dark tint privacy glass

To learn more about the current line of Subaru vehicles, go to www.subaru.com.