Subaru South Africa recently introduced a revamped Forester range, complete with cosmetic changes, updated engines and specifications.Subaru South Africa recently introduced a revamped Forester range, complete with cosmetic changes, updated engines and specifications.
The 2006 Forester range includes 2,5-litre normally-aspirated manual (with low-range transfer ‘box) and automatic models, as well as 2,5-litre turbocharged versions, which are available with either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
The new front end of the SUV is characterised by reshaped headlights, smaller bumper-mounted fog lights, and new exterior mirrors with integrated side repeaters. The grille has additional slats, and pronounced side sections that reach from the bonnet’s ridges into the revised bumper, which extends 35 mm further than before. Whereas the previous-generation Forester had a passenger car-like front end, the new model – although neater – has a more generic look not unlike that seen on various other SUVs.
At the rear, a pair of distinct circles is visible behind each clear-lens tail light. The embellishing strip that carries the six-star Subaru logo on the tailgate is 30 mm thicker than before, with the base of the rear glass now at the same height as the side glass.
The quartet of turbocharged models (XT and XT Premium) still have characteristic bonnet scoops – and Xenon headlights with headlamp washers. There are also four normally-aspirated XS models (with a choice of automatic and manual transmissions), each available with high-end Premium spec. All XT models come with 215/55 high performance rubber on 17x7J five-spoke alloys. Exteriors now have monotone rather than two-tone paintwork, with the tough side protectors, bumpers and mirrors body-coloured.
The range is completed by the entry-level X models distinguished by the resin black bumpers, black protective strips along the sides and steel wheels shod with 215/60/16 tyres.
Inside, Premium models are trimmed in leather upholstery and have double-volume sunroofs. All the other models have seats covered in a new water- and dirt-resistant cloth material.
In addition to new front seats, a multifunction console – with a centre armrest that slides out by 60 mm – has been fitted. The console includes a 12-volt power point and added storage space. The handbrake consoles of automatic and turbocharged versions are equipped with a pair of circular moulded recessed cupholders. In normally aspirated manual models, some of that space is allocated to the high/low gear lever, but there is a pop-out cupholder in the upper-left segment of the centre console.
The seat cushions now extend 50 mm further to provide additional under-thigh support. New towel-rail-type levers below the front seat squabs handle fore/aft adjustment. Height and lumbar support adjustments are fitted to the driver’s seats of all models.
The luggage area – beneath which the Forester’s spare tyre is stored – has been fitted with bag hooks and a pair of bar hangers. The steel rails are attached below the height of the retractable luggage cover and run along the sides of the luggage compartment, which have been designed so that karabiners and spring clips can be attached to them. Owners can attach a luggage net at the extremities of the two rails to make a hammock for fragile items.
A new “Butterscotch” interior, which features a combination of light yellow/cream leather upholstery and carpeting of a similar hue, is available as an option on XT and XS models,.
Normally aspirated Foresters are now fitted with the same specification 2,5-litre horizontally-opposed boxer engines as those in the Legacy range. Upgrades to the fuel injection system, mass airflow measuring system, intake and exhaust manifold and electronic throttle control have increased the output of the 2,5-litre unit by 9 kW to 121 kW. Peak torque has gone up by 3 N.m to 226 N.m, and Subaru says “the overall (torque) curve is flatter, with gains at the lower end” of the vehicle’s rev range.
The turbocharged 2,5 XT models’ power outputs have been boosted from 155 to 169 kW. Peak torque remains unchanged at 320 N.m, but the manufacturer claims that, overall, the turbo models accelerate better, are more responsive and more fuel-efficient than their predecessors.
Internal engine changes to the 2,5 turbocharged engine include revised piston and cylinder head designs, with an increase in compression ratio from 8,2 to 8,4. A new emission control device, a secondary air pump that recirculates the unburned fuel in the exhaust port of the cylinder head and pumps it back into the engine to reduce the emission of hydrocarbons when the engine is cold, has been added.
Normally-aspirated automatic models are now fitted with a similar D4-AT all-wheel drive gearbox to that of the turbocharged versions, with “Direct Control” software and hardware.
Direct Control reduces the number of mechanical movements within the ‘box, allowing more accurate control of the pressure that engages or disengages the hydraulic clutches that execute the actual gearshifts. Each clutch has its own pressure control solenoid, and an additional “linear solenoid” controls the line pressure to these control modules. The result is claimed to be the virtual elimination of “shift shock”, a constant and linear shift under all conditions, and a more rapid and accurate shift action on acceleration (when necessary, the ’box will now skip a ratio or two on downshifts, going from fourth straight to second/first or from third back to first).
The XT-specification models with automatic transmission have had Sportshift added, which is said to be a genuine sequential gear selector “that will not change up unless the driver intervenes”.
The manual transmissions of normally-aspirated Foresters have had a 21 per cent gear ratio reduction thanks to high/low transfer cases. The transmissions are also fitted with double synchro rings on first and third gears, and total gearlever movement has been reduced from 60 to 50 mm.
XT manuals get a slightly revised gearbox, with the clutch release changed from a pull-type to a push-type mechanism that has fewer parts and is therefore lighter. The “Hill Holder” automatic handbrake is fitted to all manual transmission Foresters, and two-pedal versions now require the key to be in the ignition and the footbrake applied to shift out of Park.
In addition to its trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and viscous type limited slip rear differential, the Forester benefits from the latest generation Active Torque Split system.
In the case of the two-pedal Forester, torque is normally distributed 60/40 front/rear, with a split of 50/50 in manual versions, as before. The electronic control system has been refined to monitor each wheel individually (rather than each axle, as was previously the case). “This improved input information on individual wheel speeds and accelerator position enables the available torque to be optimally allocated to the right axle,” the manufacturer claims.
The electronic control system also allows variations in transfer clutch engagement (a multiplate clutch integral to the automatic transmission) to be more finely controlled.
Mechanical changes to the suspension include a revised pick-up point for the rear bush of the front lower control arm. These changes in geometry are claimed to improve resistance to pitching and nose-dive under hard braking. The rear suspension cross member has also been reinforced, and spring and damper rates have been changed slightly across the range.
2,5 X manual R245 000
2,5 X auto R255 000
2,5 XS manual R265 000
2,5 XS auto R275 000
2,5 XS Premium manual R295 000
2,5 XS Premium auto R305 000
2,5 XT manual R305 000
2,5 XT auto R317 000
2,5 XT Premium manual R335 000
2,5 XT Premium auto R347 000
Original article from Car