Subaru Australia’s boss has touted the next-generation Forester SUV as the brand’s “next big thing”, and CarExpert understands it will go into production either next year or in 2025.
The current Forester has been around since 2018, and only went through a mild mid-life refresh late in 2021. A typical six- to seven-year product cycle points to a new model launching in 2024-25.
“The next big big thing, because by then every model in our range will have gone through a new generation model, Forester is next,” said Blair Read, managing director for Subaru Australia.
Mr Read was unable to share further details around the new Forester’s official timing or what to expect when it lands in Australia.
CarExpert recently reported Subaru Corporation’s latest financial results presentation, where the company detailed its plans to introduce three more all-electric SUVs to join the Solterra by the end of 2026, as well as its plans to ramp up production of electrified vehicles across its various manufacturing plants.
You can read our report here, where it focuses on the EVs, though the presentation also mentions a ‘next-gen HEV’ at both its ‘Main’ and Yajima plants from 2025. Currently, the Main Plant produces the Levorg, Impreza, Crosstrek, WRX, and BRZ, while the Yajima facility builds the Outback, Impreza, Crosstrek and Forester.
Additionally, Subaru Corporation’s presentation mentions its Kitamoto Plant, formerly used to produce industrial products, will be tooled to produce the brand’s next-gen HEV transmissions from 2025.
It’s unclear whether there are multiple new-generation hybrids to be assembled at the Main and Yajima plants, though we’re pretty confident that the new Forester is one of them.
The next Forester could also be the first Subaru to utilise Toyota’s hybrid technology, given the brand recently confirmed it would be sourcing batteries from Toyota Motor Corporation with its new electrified push.
It means the next Forester could have a lot in common with the similarly-sized Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, though it’s unclear whether Subaru will continue to supply its signature Boxer engines with the Toyota hybrid components bolted on.
The current Forester Hybrid draws upon Subaru’s e-Boxer technology, which adds a small electric motor into the Lineartronic CVT transmission, which is more like a mild-hybrid with electric drive assistance rather than a full hybrid akin to Toyota’s popular tech.
Toyota will also be supplying hybrid componentry to Mazda, another company which it has a minority stake in. Mazda recently revealed a CX-50 Hybrid for China and is expected to reveal a version for the North American market also using Toyota tech.
The Forester is currently Subaru’s best-selling vehicle in Australia, so getting the next one right is vital.
In 2022 the long-running nameplate returned 10,637 registrations, down 9.9 per cent on the year prior but still commanding 6.0 per cent market share despite ongoing supply struggles.
Fortunes are better this year, with the Forester up 45.3 per cent year-to-date as of April 30 (5840 units), and sitting in fifth place overall in the mid-size SUV sales race behind the Toyota RAV4 (8049 units), Mazda CX-5 (7949 units), Mitsubishi Outlander (7838 units) and Hyundai Tucson (6171 units).
While Subaru’s e-Boxer Hybrid range hasn’t been as well acclaimed as rival systems, Mr Read confirmed the electrified Forester is currently subject to wait times of 6-8 months, though the local arm is working hard to secure more build slots and bring down lead times on new orders.
The Forester Hybrid quotes a 0.7L/100km improvement over 2.5i versions on the combined cycle (6.7L v 7.4L), but the gap widens on the urban cycle (7.5L v 9.3L). Toyota’s RAV4 AWD Hybrid range, meanwhile, quotes combined fuel use of 4.8L/100km.
Stay tuned to CarExpert for the latest!