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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Review: 2022 Subaru Forester 2.0-iS EyeSight


Boring. Bland. Dull. Those are just some of the adjectives thrown against the current “SK” Subaru Forester since its launch in 2019. Without a turbocharged variant, or any sense of quirky, oddball styling, it sits, for better or worse, right smack in the middle of the mainstream. It has become, Mr. Innocuous—neither offending nor impressing. Well, it seems Subaru’s heard its fans out loud, and the result is this: the 2022 Forester.

Like most midcycle refreshes, the changes are mostly concentrated at the front (the back is actually unchanged). The clean, but conservative face has been replaced by one that doesn’t look out of place in a concept car. Subaru calls it BOLDER (yes, in all caps), and it is, admittedly, polarizing once again. However, it works to cut the Forester a large vibe, while also reiterating its position as a highly capable compact SUV for the paths not taken. The dramatically-shaped headlights, cut by the bumper, is visually interesting to say the least. Other tweaks include a new design for the 18-inch wheels and silver-painted roof rails instead of black.



Inside, Subaru’s embraced the same outdoorsy feel with a cabin that feels as rugged and tough as a Casio G-Shock. Instead of going for something like open pore wood or fancy fabric weaves, the Forester goes for soft-touch rubberized plastics. These, in turn, blend well with more traditional materials like high-gloss black accents and well-wearing leather. Now, that’s not to say that there were no attempts to uplift the cabin. For 2022, gray-colored padded material has been added to the dashboard and stitched to the door trims. They do break the monotony of the previously all-black cabin, but it doesn’t fundamentally change the fact that it’s more function over form.

Ergonomics and space remain two strong points for the Forester. For the driver, the cabin is clearly laid out with nice, chunky switchgear. For everyone else, there are no complaints as to the amount of head-, leg, and shoulder room be it at the front or the back. Oh, and yes, the adjustable back rests for the rear seats make a comeback too. There are no issues with cubby holes as well since this SUV’s got a ton of them from the one in front of the shifter to the right-sized cupholders to the deep, usable center armrest console. At the back, the cargo hold is wide enough to fit a golf bag sideways.



The 8-inch infotainment system’s new for 2022, and chucks out the previous Forester’s outdated system for something with clearer graphics and easy-to-hit icons. The audio quality from the speakers still isn’t up to par with some other OEM systems, but at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now standard. Also, the 360-degree panoramic view camera is clear enough and offers some clever tricks like automatically switching to curb view at engine shut off to show the passengers that there aren’t any obstacles by the door.

Also upgraded this year is the Forester’s suite of safety systems. Headlining the updates is the Subaru EyeSight. The stereoscopic camera-based safety system has been bumped up to Version 4.0 which widens its field of view and adds more functionalities. The previously standard functions—pre-collision braking, lane sway and departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start assist, and pre-collision throttle management are still present, but automatic lane centering’s been added in. Subaru says it’s helped reduce rear-end collisions by as much as 84 percent compared to non-EyeSight equipped vehicles—a staggering number by any margin.



And while the demo unit doesn’t come with it, the 2022 Forester also adds emergency steering assist which automatically steers the Forester to avoid an impending collision. On top of the EyeSight system, other safety features not found in the demo unit, but standard on the Philippine-spec model are automatic high beam assist, blind spot indicators with rear cross traffic alert, and rear automatic braking. Then, there’s the Driver Monitoring System which not only detects driver fatigue, but also uses facial recognition to automatically personalize settings such as the seats, mirrors, and climate control for up to five drivers.

Left on its own, the EyeSight works excellently for the Philippine road conditions. Unlike similar systems from other manufacturers which may have the tendency to kick up a false alarm or two, this one is finely tuned. And to say that driving here is unique lends gravity to what Subaru has done with the system.



Now, despite all the aesthetic and safety improvements done to the Forester, mechanically it’s still the same basic compact SUV launched in 2019; and this happens to be its biggest weak point. The whole experience is simply a downer with an engine that feels far too uninterested in offering outright performance. A sharpened throttle response manages to hide this at low speeds (the CVT also mimics shifting), but take it out on the open road and it feels stunted. Overtaking takes careful practice, patience, and having to constantly hear the engine belt out a drone. Subaru quotes a 0 to 100 km/h time of 10.3 seconds, but it feels slower than that. Plus, fuel economy is dreary: 7.81 km/L on a diet of strictly 95 RON gasoline.

Handling-wise, Subaru says they’ve made some changes to the chassis for better ride and handling precision. It’s not as transformative as their work on the refreshed Subaru XV, but it’s obvious that there’s more sharpness to the steering. The steering aside, the rest of the package though doesn’t feel that different. It remains squarely in the middle of the comfort/handling equation. It’s utilitarian in the way it soaks up bumps—pliant without a sense of plushness. The chassis, at least, is neutral and obedient, remaining planted when pushed that extra bit. Furthermore, it’s the only compact SUV that comes with nifty features for off-roading such as the dual X-Mode system. Ground clearance remains a commendable 220 mm, while approach, breakover, and departure angles are set at 21.4 degrees, 21.1 degrees, and 25.8 degrees respectively.



It’s fair to say Subaru wants to turn a new chapter when it comes to designing and engineering their cars. Instead of embracing a fun-loving, the road is my racetrack kind of lifestyle, they’ve opted to embrace a family-loving, safety-conscious one instead. This decision will take fans aback for sure, but in the end, it’s the voice of sensibility that will ultimately help sell cars like the Forester. It won’t delight those who want to seek out their inner rally driver, but anyone seeking a solid, and above all, safe family car that happens to look a bit better now need not look anywhere else.

2022 Subaru Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight

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Ownership 2022 Subaru Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight
Year Introduced 2019 (Refreshed: 2022)
Vehicle Classification Compact SUV
Warranty 5 years / 140,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 156 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 196 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.81 km/L @ 18 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,640
Width (mm) 1,815
Height (mm) 1,730
Wheelbase (mm) 2,670
Curb Weight (kg) 1,570
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Bridgestone Dueler HP Sport 225/55R18 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No (as tested),
Yes, Rear (as standard)
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-plt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Pre-Collision Braking System
Pre-Collision Throttle Management
Lane Departure Warning
Emergency Steering Assist (as standard)
Blind Spot Indicators (as standard)
Reverse Automatic Braking (as standard)
Driver Monitoring System (as standard)
Exterior Features
Headlights LED, Active
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 8-way, Electric, w/ Memory
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 8-way, Electric
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat 60/40
Sunroof Yes
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night (as tested),
Auto-dimming (as standard)
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

31 comments:

  1. What's up with Subaru PH dropping variants in its new models? Seems like they are now offering just 1 variant per model (XV S, Forester S, Outback)

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  2. Uly, I am aware that we shouldn't fully rely on ADAS (it's all just driving assistance systems at the end of the day, they're not self-driving cars. There's no 100% substitute for good driving habits but i'll be glad it's there as a safety net.) On my experience, ADAS do reduce its effectivity on heavy rains and fogs so we shouldn't fully rely on it.


    But Uly, in your opinion, which of the car manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Subaru, have the most reliable ADAS that's finely-tuned for our abhorrent, dismal road and traffic conditions in our country?

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    1. I totally agree that you shouldn't rely on ADAS but having said that, I'd have to say that Subaru is the most finely-tuned for our roads. However, Mazda offers the most options--you can set sensitivity, timing, and even alarms (audio-visual or just visual).

      I've yet to try the revised Honda SENSING in the Honda Civic which drops the radar for a single wide-angle monocular camera. That would be interesting because the stereoscopic setup is supposed to offer depth of field. I'm lined up for it so the wait won't be long.

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    2. On that note...it sucks that Mazda's adaptive cruise control only works at speeds above 40 km/h. It doesn't have the same stop-and-go function as its rivals. There's an update for newer Mazda models though, but it's unknown if our local spec units have them.

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    3. It really sucks Uly, and I have driven a Mazda.

      The AEB and FCW works just fine, I tend to turn it off occasionally in hostile roads due to a lot of kamote drivers appearing magically at your sides. I don't also have information if newer Mazdas will have the updated adaptive cruise for future vehicles. Though, I recently heard that Toyota updated the adaptive cruise in TSS to a full-speed config (in Corolla Cross HV variant?)

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    4. And I agree with you in the previous reviews Uly, that the blindspot indicators and RCTA is even more useful, especially in kamote-ridden traffic settings.

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    5. Yes. The latest Corolla Cross (1.8 HEV and GR Sport) now have the more advanced TSS system with all-speed adaptive cruise control. That kinda leaves Mazda as the only system without all-speed cruise control.

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  3. I think Honda's lane watch is very practical in our environment, rear cross traffic alert and all AEBs help us avoid sudden sweet potatoes in the street.

    Other ADAS features are mostly highway centric which gets less use in our country (unless you use highways daily).

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    Replies
    1. I'd prefer blind spot indicators to Lane Watch but to each his own, I guess. Most ADAS features are indeed highway-centric, but there are some that are quite useful in stop in go traffic (pre-collision braking, for one).

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    2. Agree, esp w motorcycle riders passing by left and right w/o much regard for safety :(

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    3. I wish I can rely on assistance of Automatic Emergency Braking or Forward Collision Warning in heavy traffic. Alas, we have garbage traffic conditions in our country, combine that with an overwhelming number of kamote drivers (mostly motorcycles, tricycles, jeepneys) that tend to appear in front of you in milliseconds.

      Alas, we can only use it real-life on some rural roads and expressways (combined with adaptive cruise control.)

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    4. PH doesn't even get the full suite of Honda Sensing ADAS tech. We don't get the Blind Spot Monitoring indicators in the side mirrors like in other countries, the Lane Watch camera is only on the top-spec variant. We also don't get Rear Cross Traffic Alert and full Autonomous Emergency Braking, it's just Front Collision Mitigation, i.e., it just helps prime the brakes & slows down the car, gives an audio-visual warning, but if you don't step on the brakes, Honda Sensing won't stop the car for you. So in effect, it would just lessen the intensity of impact, it wouldn't help avoid it completely. Dunno why Honda PH didn't include it all, it's just firmware, all the hardware to support those features are there already.

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  4. Subaru more or less has already mastered the AWD setup. But how is the brand in terms of reliability and durability (at least in reputation)?

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    Replies
    1. I've owned two Subarus and they're fuss-free when it comes to their ownership...but this was before they introduced things like Lineartronic CVT, etc. etc.--from what I hear now, the ownership experience is mixed. Some say it's still good, but others say their warranty policy is extremely draconian. It's almost always denied.

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    2. Same. No problem with my ownership. I'm just waiting for the 2024 new model change of the forester. i'm still on the fence if I get the outback next year or just wait for the new model forester - hoping to hybrid and a better engine with turbo. like a 1.8turbo with a hybrid system or a 2.5L with a hybrid.

      the current offerings from subaru are not ideal. they don't offer the 2.5L engines for the Forester and even the XV. They didn't likewise offer the 2.4L turbo for the outback.

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    3. Yeah that was a missed opportunity for Subaru PH. They should have kept the 2.0 for the Subaru XV, offer the Forester with the 2.5 and the Outback with the turbo 2.4.

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    4. Thank you Uly for actively engaging your readers here. Carguide is my number 1 site for local motoring news after TG, AI, and Visor.

      i'm part of Subysoc albeit i'm not active anymore. Also, Gen is a classmate in Uni. groupmate even. haha.

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    5. Indeed. Cheers and more success to all your endeavors!

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    6. The problem with Subaru here is the more expensive parts & maintenance compared to the more common brands. They should offer a free 3-5 year PMS package like Ford & Mazda.

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  5. Safe, spacious/practical, gas guzzler, slow and boring.

    Among the sensible options, CRV is the one to beat with its frugal but relatively powerful diesel engine and much more spacious/practical interior space. Now comes with Honda Sensing too.

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    Replies
    1. I love slow and boring because it is the new cool.

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    2. ...says the guy who is driving a 90's Toyota revo. :-)

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    3. Hahahha. It's a 2003 model which I used to ferry 12 staff during office events back in the day to our guards' shock how the hell that number of passengers fit.

      We still have it. It just refuses to break.

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    4. Nothing special with an old, late 2000s-era Euro 4-only diesel they used on Euro-market Hondas that they only started using here after it cannot comply with stricter emissions standards in more advanced countries. A 1.6L turbodiesel w/ a mere 120hp/300Nm output is a joke. Even taxi drivers w/ diesel Innovas would laugh at you.

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    5. I agree that Honda Phils chose to equip an old diesel engine. But among the "sensible" options its relatively better (torque at low rpm and frugal too).

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  6. Subaru is a shell of its former self. It all started going wrong when they began using CVT.

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    1. But the true shell of the former self is mazda because I love Subaru the most.

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  7. I was travelling to bicol and was on a constant speed of 80-100kph. Lo and behold, i saw a brand new forrester in my rear view mirror, quickly closing in on me and eventually overtook me. Must have been travelling at over 120kph. I was very aware of its nasty reputation of being a "cruiser", that is why i was dumbfounded about the encounter..

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    Replies
    1. 120kph is nothing, even the cheapest gas-powered econoboxes can achieve that if there's only 1 or 2 persons on board.

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  8. I need the display 8" supplier for this model ? everybody who is the maker ?

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