Johannesburg - Subaru’s fifth-generation Forester is set to go on sale in South Africa at the beginning of December 2018.

Based around Subaru’s new SGP global platform, as per the latest Impreza, it claims “major improvements” in safety, handling, ride and overall comfort - not that the current model lags particularly in those areas.

The newcomer is also more spacious, with a longer wheelbase giving it an extra 35mm of rear legroom.

All local models will be fitted with a new version of Subaru’s normally aspirated 2-litre flat-four, now featuring direct injection and rated at 115kW and 196Nm, which is 5kW more but 2Nm less than the current Forester offers.

Also fitted across the board is Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT gearbox, symmetrical all-wheel-drive (which is a given, of course) and Active Torque Vectoring.

Subaru has not yet confirmed the local range structure or pricing, but says all versions will come as standard with seven airbags.

Furthermore, range-topping models will be fitted with the new dual X-Mode system and EyeSight Driver Assist technologies.

X-Mode controls pedal movements automatically during off-road driving, meaning that theoretically the driver only needs to worry about the steering, and the dual-mode version fitted to fancier Foresters has separate modes for deep mud and sand.

The ‘EyeSight’ pack comprises a whole suite of driver assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning and lead vehicle start alert.

Watch this space for more information nearer to launch.

IOL Motoring