It is crossover and a 4-wheel drive station wagon designed and produced by Fuji Heavy Industries. It has been in production since 1997 and up till now three generations of Forester has introduced. It made its debut in Japanese market in 1997, while it was introduced in US market in 1998. Throughout its three generations, the Forester used the platform of Impreza, but currently it has a hybrid platform taken from the Japanese Impreza wagon as well as from the US-based Impreza sedan. All-wheel drive (4WD) system was offered as standard feature at the time its launch. Presently, it is a produced as a station wagon variant of the Impreza for which the wagon version is discontinued in favor of a 5-door crossover hatchback.
First Generation (SF, 1997–2002)
The car was first revealed as “Sutoriga” (Stalker) concept in November 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show. In Japan, the Forester went on sale in February 1997, while it arrived in United States a year later in 1998. Although, it was based on Impreza platform, it came with larger 2.5-L DOHC EJ25D 4-cylinder boxer engine (from Outback) rated at 165 hp (123 kW) at 5,600 rpm and torque of 162 lb-ft (220 Nm) at 4,000 rpm.
The Forester was launched as a replacement for the Subaru Impreza Gravel Express in Japanese market, which was called the Subaru Outback Sport in US market. Nissan Rasheen preceded the Forester in Japanese market and both shared many designing cues. In Japan, the Forester has to compete with the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Honda CR-V, Toyota R4V4 and Mitsubishi RVR.
As for name, the term ‘forester’ is used to suggest as if the car is ‘of the forest’. The Forester features a low center of gravity which means that it complies with the US Federal Safety Standard s for Passenger Vehicles. Depending on its size and price, the Forester fills the slot between the Legacy and Impreza.
Second Generation (SG, 2003–2008)
Back in 2003, the second generation Forester was launched. This model used the platform of new Impreza which offered a range of improved and enhanced features than the previous version. Many weight-saving enhancements were used in this generation Forester, like perforated rails, a hydro-formed front sub-frame and an aluminum hood. The most prominent transformation was the introduction of 2.5-L normally-aspirated and turbocharged versions. The US market also received its share of 2.5-L turbocharged model.
Third Generation (SH, 2008–present)
The third generation Forester was introduced in Japan as 2008 model year on December 25, 2007 and the following year in the North America at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Subaru Chief Designer, Mamoru Ishii was the man behind the designing of third generation Forester. A team of engineers derived the external dimensions of the vehicle. The team got the basic body structure cues from the Japanese based Impreza wagon, while the rear suspension was derived from the US based Impreza sedan. The new Forester receives an increase of 3 inch (76 mm) in its length, while the wheelbase has also increased by 3.5 inch (89 mm). The height is increased by 4.3 inch (110 mm) and the width by 1.8 inch (46 mm).