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Subaru Forester 2018 set for second-half launch

The Viziv Future Concept from the 2015 Tokyo motor show may provide a hint at the styling of the next-generation Forester.

Subaru Australia's best-selling offering, the Forester, will be replaced next year by an all-new model looking to rocket up the medium-SUV sales charts, with many of its rivals having been overhauled recently. 

While official details on the fifth-generation Forester remain secret, Subaru insiders have indicated it will break cover in the first half of 2018 before a local launch in the second half of the year.

The Japanese carmaker typically rolls out its most significant models at the New York motor show, so it is likely the Forester reveal will take place in late March.

The Forester is certain to share the flexible 'Subaru Global Platform' (SGP) with the latest Impreza and XV, with the architecture engineered to reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels and improve ride comfort, rigidity and handling.

Additionally, the new 1.6-litre turbocharged boxer four-cylinder petrol engine that debuted in the Levorg is on the cards for the Forester, which is a player in the medium-SUV segment responsible for around 17 per cent of Australian vehicle sales.

This unit produces 125kW of power between 4800rpm and 5600rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1800rpm to 4800rpm, up 15kW and 52Nm over the base 2.0-litre powerplant used by the current-gen Forester, on sale since 2013.

The Forester's new platform is expected to be lighter, helping to reduce its fuel consumption figures.

Paired with a continuously-variable transmission (CVT), this engine has a claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle test in the Levorg GT, up slightly over the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit (7.2L/100km).

Nevertheless, the Forester's new platform is expected to be lighter, helping to reduce its fuel consumption figures.

Its predecessor's older 2.5-litre petrol powerplant is likely to be retired, but it is unclear if the 197kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine employed the WRX and Levorg GT-S will succeed it in the next Forester.

Diesel variants have also been brought into question after other manufacturers, like Honda, dumped their oil-burning medium SUVs, with Subaru potentially looking towards a petrol-electric powertrain option instead, following talk that such a set-up will debut soon in the XV. 

Subaru Australia will be hoping the Forester has a sales resurgence similar to that of the Impreza, which has increased its haul by 143 per cent this year.

In total, 9177 examples of the Impreza have been sold to the end of September, placing the small car just behind the venerable Forester (9736) in the Subaru stable.

Meanwhile, the Forester is currently ranked seventh in its own segment, trailing the sales-leading Mazda CX-5 (19,187) by a significant margin.

Despite the existing Forester being on the verge of its last year on sale, it has maintained momentum, down only 3.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

XV sales have increased this year, up 12.6 per cent to 6772 units, suggesting new-car buyers are taking to Subaru’s latest crop of smooth-driving models.

What changes should Subaru make to the new-generation Forester? Tell us what you think in the comments below.