New for 2009-Subaru

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
  • Redesigned third-generation Forester is longer, taller, more SUV-like

  • All Foresters now include Vehicle Dynamic Control

  • Redesigned for 2008, Impreza and its WRX/STI offshoots aren't likely to change much for 2009

  • Midsize Legacy sedan and Outback wagon are likely to carry on into 2009 with little revision, awaiting redesign before too long

  • Tribeca wagon, redesigned for 2008, probably won't see notable changes
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2009 Subaru Forester

Placed on sale in April 2008 as a 2009 model, the redesigned Forester is still a crossover car-type wagon, but looks more like an SUV than before. Exterior and interior styling are new. The 2009 Forester is 3 inches longer than its predecessor, on a wheelbase that's gained 3.6 inches. Roomier than before for 5 occupants, it's also 4 inches taller, with ground clearance up to 8.9 inches. Front and rear doors open wider than in the past, to ease entry/exit. Rear legroom has grown by 4.3 inches. Shoulder space has increased in both the front and rear.

Vehicle Dynamic Control is standard on all five versions of the new 2009 Forester. Six air bags are standard. Like all Subarus, the Forester has standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Depending on model, either a naturally aspirated 170-hp "boxer" 4-cylinder engine is installed, or a turbocharged 224-hp version. According to Subaru, both engines deliver better low-end and mid-range torque for improved response. As before, 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions are available. Manual-shift models again include Incline Start Assist, for easier takeoffs on upgrades. The first-generation Forester debuted as a 1998 model.

Get more information on the 2009 Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Impreza

Fully redesigned for 2008, Subaru's subcompact series received two new body styles on a wheelbase that grew by 3.7 inches. The 4-door sedan was 6.5 inches longer than the 5-door hatchback, which replaced the prior wagon. Offered only in 5-door form, the Outback Sport had a two-tone look as well as chassis enhancements, including a raised suspension, Vehicle Dynamics Control, Incline Start Assist, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Subaru also offered 2.5i models in both body styles, with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Like all Subarus, Imprezas have standard AWD. The 2.5-liter "boxer" 4-cylinder engine develops 170 hp. Because of the recent redesign, changes for 2009 are likely to be minor.

Like the basic Impreza, the sport-minded WRX was totally redesigned for 2008, with new 4-door and 5-door body styles on a 3.7-inch longer wheelbase. Subaru's turbocharged, 2.5-liter "boxer" engine develops 224 hp, working with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Incline Start Assist and Vehicle Dynamics Control are standard, along with curtain air bags.

Topping the Impreza group, the performance-oriented WRX STI comes only in 5-door form. Competition cars inspired the STI's wide front fenders and rear quarter panels. Functional brake-cooling scoops are installed, along with side engine heat outlets, 18-inch wheels, and Brembo brakes. Wheelbase grew for 2008, as did track width. Under the STI hood, Subaru's 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine cranks out 305 hp at 6000 rpm, and 290 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. Neither WRX model is likely to change much for 2009, considering the major reworking for 2008.

Get more information on the 2009 Subaru Impreza

2009 Subaru Legacy

Starting in 2008, Subaru's midsize model came only in sport sedan form. Wagons moved to the Outback group. A new 3.0 R Limited model held the first-ever 6-cylinder engine in a Legacy for the U.S. market, producing 245 hp. Its 5-speed automatic transmission included Sportshift with paddle shifters, as well as rev-matching downshift "blipping" control. A Bilstein sport suspension was installed on the 3.0 R Limited, too. Subaru also offered 2.5i and 2.5i Limited versions of the Legacy with a 170-hp engine. The 2.5 GT Limited substituted a 243-hp turbo engine, while the GT spec.B added a 6-speed manual transmission and 18-inch alloy wheels. Subaru exhibited a diesel Legacy at the Geneva (Switzerland) in March 2008, rumors of an anniversary edition have been floated, and a redesign might be coming in 2010. For now, Subaru is staying mum on 2009 changes.

Get more information on the 2009 Subaru Legacy

2009 Subaru Outback

Just as the midsize Legacy series became sedan-only for 2008, Subaru's Outback was offered only in wagon form, with revised exterior styling. Performance of the 6-cylinder 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition was enhanced by improved low-/mid-range torque, a revised 5-speed automatic transmission, addition of Subaru's 3-mode SI-Drive system, and new downshift "blipping" control. A 170-hp, 2.5-liter "boxer" engine went into 2.5i models, while the 2.5 XT Limited held a turbo version rated at 243 hp. In the 3.0 R L.L. Bean Edition, a 6-cylinder "boxer" engine developed 245 hp. No information has been released on revisions for 2009.

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2009 Subaru Tribeca

Fully redesigned and renamed for the 2008 model year, Subaru's larger crossover SUV isn't likely to change much for 2009. Introduced as the B9 Tribeca for 2006, the SUV was not a strong seller initially. For 2008, in addition to a fresh front-end appearance, the abundantly reworked 5/7-passenger wagon got a more powerful "boxer" 3.6-liter 6-cylinder, 256-hp engine to replace the prior 3.0-liter model. The 5-speed automatic transmission, with Sportshift manual gear selection capability, was modified for 2008. Symmetrical AWD and Vehicle Dynamics Control are standard. Inside, the "twin-cockpit" dashboard features a standard 7-inch information display screen, which also is used by the optional navigation system. Seven-passenger models have a second-row tip/slide feature to ease third-row access.

Get more information on the 2009 Subaru Tribeca

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