One of the qualities most appreciated by drivers of the previous Forester was its handling, which was more like a car than an SUV. That quality hasn’t been lost. In fact, car-like handling is even stronger in the 2009 Forester. That’s due to the utilization of the Legacy/Impreza platform (a vehicle’s basic chassis and unit body assembly).
The new platform brings with it a wider track, longer wheelbase (by 3.6 inches), and double wishbone rear suspension system. Handling is improved, complemented by enhanced traction. The rear suspension is mounted to a subframe, which helps to lower road noise.
A slightly lower engine mounting moves the center of gravity closer to the ground, which contributes to improved handling. Other chassis improvements include a quicker steering ratio and a more rigid mounting for the steering system. Even with the longer wheelbase, the turning circle is tighter, making the 2009 Forester more maneuverable.
Added safety is provided by the standard Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system.
Although the platform is new, the core Subaru technology remains. Standard equipment includes Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive on all Subaru Forester models.
The all-new Forester unit body benefits from increased rigidity. Along with the subframe-mounted rear suspension, this helps to reduce Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH).
Although the Forester engine lineup looks familiar, changes have been made to improve performance, drivability, and fuel economy. Modifications to the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine include a new intake port design that increases low-end torque and lowers emissions. The catalytic-converter system has been optimized as well, helping to reduce emissions. Dual mufflers are also new, helping to reduce exhaust back pressure and noise.
The available turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine has a new intake system along with a redesigned turbocharger and intercooler. These changes help the engine produce more torque at lower rpm and contribute to smoother power flow.
The Forester transmissions, too, have updates that improve operation. The manual five-speed has been enhanced for better feel during shifting, and the four-speed automatic receives Subaru SPORTSHIFT® manual gear-shifting control.