Early development car suggests Subaru will continue to shift its Forester further into road-biased SUV territory

A development car for the next Subaru Forester has been spotted testing alongside its future compact SUV arch-rivals, the Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Subaru’s engineers are evaluating their model’s chances against some of the segment’s bestsellers, which also include the Mazda CX-5 and BMW X1, before it reaches market in 2019.

Like the current car, the next-gen model takes the form of an SUV as opposed to the jacked-up estate of their forebears. The car sits high with a boxy body, which will be underpinned by Subaru’s new Global Platform – a structure the manufacturer claims will enable “class-leading, real-world” safety.

In a bid to make a mark in the European market, where its sales currently represent just 0.8% of the SUV segment, Subaru is prioritising refinement with tortional rigidity that is up by 70% on previous underpinnings. This, in turn, will improve the car’s on-road handling and responses - something the car maker believes will be key to attract keener drivers in Europe.

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The new underpinnings will also be compatible with electrification, meaning it’s highly probable that the next Forester will be offered with a hybrid drivetrain. Most likely, it will come mated to a flat-four unit, with electric power focusing on driving the rear wheels.

A 2.0-litre boxer is also expected to be available in pure combustion form, shared with Subaru’s other high-riding models such as the upcoming XV. And the current car’s diesel engine may also be revamped to ensure the engine line-up is broad enough to take on those of the Forester’s rivals.

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Our Verdict

Subaru Forester

Subaru's rugged estate-cum-SUV is likely to be its best-selling model, but is this the best iteration of the Forester yet?

Find an Autocar car review

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