2019 Subaru Forester at Nelson Bays Motor Group

The 2019 Subaru Forester is the latest all-new SUV to be launched in the SUV-loving nation of New Zealand and this fifth-generation model is bound to make an impact courtesy of features like facial recognition and its many other remarkable, class-leading technologies.

Subaru of New Zealand’s Managing Director Wallis Dumper says: “The new generation 2019 Forester is the ideal SUV to provide Kiwis and particularly families, with a chance to upgrade their fun.”

“We see this exciting reinvigoration of our already popular Forester as an opportunity to maintain and build on this model’s reputation as a pleasurable to drive, family-friendly vehicle. We have sold Forester in New Zealand since 1997 and the good times accessible in this SUV don’t change - Subaru only gets better at it. That makes sense given that it’s Subaru’s number one selling model globally!”

“Some kids might have swapped out skateboards for hover boards; a whole generation has ditched pedal-powered mountain bikes, for e-bikes; and paddleboards probably outnumber kayaks but wherever the fun is at, the 2019 Forester SUV will get you and your family there and do it in style,” Mr Dumper says.

The clever new Forester SUV debuts with Subaru’s first-ever Driver Monitoring System (DMS) which sets driver preferences for seat position, door mirrors, air-conditioning and some instrument displays using facial recognition technology.

Within seconds of stepping in the Forester, the system recognises the driver and automatically adjusts the SUV to their preferences. Up to five drivers can be registered in the system, which greets each driver when they get behind the wheel of the Forester.

Another feature of the Driver Monitoring System is a Wandering Gaze Warning – if the driver continues to look away from the road ahead the system warns both passengers and the driver through a visual and audio alert.

The Driver Monitoring System can also detect if the driver is dozing or getting drowsy. This warning system once again uses facial recognition technology to determine if the driver is dozing off – this is presumed if they continue to close their eyes while driving. Drowsiness is recognised by calculating the time ratio the driver’s eyes are closed.

Mr Dumper thinks the ground-breaking DMS technology will be a game-changer for Kiwis.

“The family SUV is often driven by multiple family members, who are transporting their kids around. DMS technology will make life even easier for those with a fast paced life, and of course safer.” 

He also believes it is one of the first non-luxury brands in New Zealand to feature this technology.

“We imagine that this comprehensive technology package could be the envy of some of our premium competitors, considering the value-for-money comparison the 2019 Forester presents.  And when you consider all the added benefits of the safety features that come with DMS, it will truly test our competitors’ ability to match this technology,” Mr Dumper adds.

DMS is just one of many significant advances that underline Forester’s status as a class- leader for driving fun, safety, whole-of-life value and sure-footed performance both on and off-road. Further enhancing safe driving, Subaru’s award-winning EyeSight® driver assist technology is now standard across the entire Forester range.

From Southland to Auckland, the 2019 Subaru Forester will arrive in Subaru’s 16 Authorised Dealerships from this September in three sharply-priced variants.


Three model variants are available in the New Zealand market, with Subaru of New Zealand retaining the price of the previous Forester for the entry-level specification variant.

A new model, the Forester 2.5 Sport Plus, has been introduced. The Forester has previously been a popular choice for fleet buyers, and the 2.5 Sport Plus is the ideal option for this audience, who want technology at their finger tips but don’t necessarily need some of the luxuries, such as the leather upholstery, which is an addition available in the 2.5 Premium model.

The Recommended Retail Prices for each of the 2019 Subaru Forester models are:

  • 2.5 Sport $39,990 (same price as the previous generation Forester 2.5i)
  • 2.5 Sport Plus $44,990
  • 2.5 Premium $47,490

All three Forester models will be powered by a naturally-aspirated, newly-enhanced direct-injection 2.5-litre horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder Boxer engine. With around 90% new components, the engine offers the perfect balance of excellent driving and environmental performance.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive - the engineering prowess that underpins all of New Zealand’s new Subaru models - and enhanced X-Mode provide outstanding driving on and off the numerous gravel roads.

The 2019 Forester’s 220 millimetres of ground clearance instantly puts the three variants ahead of the pack when it comes to genuine SUV credentials.

2019 Forester is the roomiest, most versatile and capable Forester ever made, offering greater cabin comfort that allows all occupants to enjoy travelling in this SUV. The 2019 Forester balances easy handling with a spacious interior, and user-friendly features, including two rear fast-charging USB charge ports for passengers in the back seat.

“Forester is even more appealing to families, with its extra cabin space, combined with its enhanced safety and efficient fuel consumption. This Subaru SUV offers a great combination of comfort and adventure. The responsive new engine underpins a lively package, capable of great on-road response and gravel road ability. This is vital in a country where not far out of our cities are the mountains, forests, beaches and gravel roads that form the fun parts of any family adventure. Our All-Wheel Drive advantage really comes into play when our straight roads turn into hairpins, potholes and shingle,” Mr Dumper says.

“Forester’s new style has seen it refine its durable DNA on the exterior but it’s when you step inside and are presented with the truly impressive technology advancements that we believe you will see the elevated benchmarks it sets in the SUV segment. Our legendary All-Wheel Drive combined with new technologies like Reverse Automatic Braking and the DMS, which is usually only available in high-end European brands, simply keep extending this SUV’s appeal,” Mr Dumper adds.

Subaru Corporation anticipates a high five-star occupant safety rating when the 2019 Forester SUV is tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) later this year.

A Forester variant was the first Japanese-made vehicle – and first compact SUV – to receive a five-star ANCAP rating, in early 2003. That established a trend followed by the entire Subaru New Zealand range.

“Those Kiwis who want a real SUV with All-Wheel Drive now have the Forester as an alternate model choice and a natural progression between our other two SUVs, the Subaru XV and Outback. We see the Forester as the ultimate family SUV and we envision watching it achieve the similar sales success and growth that our XV and Outback have enjoyed. With the global trend continuing to favour SUVs, the 2019 Forester has arrived at the perfect time to help Kiwis upgrade their fun - if it’s a capable, comfortable, tech-packed, safe SUV that they are after," Mr Dumper concludes.


Driver Monitoring System (DMS) – using facial recognition technology the system can detect driver distraction and drowsiness as well as personalise up to five drivers' cabin preferences including seat position, door mirrors, air conditioning and some instrument displays. (Available on Forester Sport Plus and Forester Premium only)

90% new direct injection engine – significantly more responsive and efficient, with 136 Kilowatts of power (+ 8.0%) and 239 Newtonmetres of torque (+1.7%).   

Seven-speed manual mode – ultra-reliable Subaru Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (SLT) upgraded for a more sporty response. 

EyeSight® driver assist – now standard across the entire Forester range, with new features that:

Will place Subaru ahead of every other mainstream brand for customer uptake of the award-winning technology. Bring yet more safety to the masses.   

Roomiest Forester yet - distance extended between front and rear passengers. Fantastic family flexibility, thanks to efficiencies gained from the Subaru Global Platform. Larger, wider cargo area with easier access. Forester 2.5 Sport Plus and Forester Premium have a smoother, faster-operating, powered rear tail gate – almost twice as fast as the previous generation model.

X-Mode – with new features and functionality for even better sure-footed performance on challenging surfaces.

Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB) – helps to avoid collisions and reduce damage. Debuts in Forester 2.5 Sport Plus and 2.5 Premium (revealed previously in XV Premium)

Infotainment – Adds digital radio to Forester for the first time. Continues the trend of Impreza and XV in offering the very latest in cabin convenience and entertainment. Includes Apple CarPlay™ and Google Android Auto™ connectivity.

Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) -  SI-Drive is optimised to improve fuel efficiency in I mode and increase engine speed in S mode, for even greater responsiveness and is now available on all Forester models. Wider field of vision – Subaru Corporation claims class-leading field-of-vision.

LED headlights – across the entire Forester range. Approach and departure angles are optimised to enhance Forester’s SUV abilities in challenging off-road environments.

Electronic parking brake – new to Forester, for added convenience.


Latest application of the renowned Subaru Global Platform, which has won accolades for dynamic performance and sophistication.

Interior quality – vast improvements, consistent with the achievements of Impreza and XV, reflecting Subaru Corporation’s quality commitment.

Want to know more! Contact the Nelson Bays Subaru team.