2022 Subaru Forester Changes Might Be Coming to U.S.

Chris Teague | Jun 14, 2021

Subaru Japan has released home-market details about the 2022 Forester, which gets revised styling, new technology, and updated powertrains. Nothing shared here is confirmed for the U.S.-spec Forester, but this is likely a good indication of what we’ll eventually see coming to America.

2022 Subaru Forester White Front Quarter Righ

If Subaru’s photos of the Japanese-market Forester are any indication, a more sharply styled version of the SUV is on its way. Cropped headlights are more aggressive looking than those on the 2021 model, and, depending on the trim level, the front fascia could include chrome or black trim. New aluminum wheel designs are also on the menu.

Based on J.D. Power data, one of the biggest complaints that Forester owners voice about their vehicles is the lack of grunt from the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Though no official powertrain changes are confirmed for the U.S. market, Japanese iterations of the 2022 will offer a couple of interesting choices. 

One powertrain equips the Forester with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for an electrified powertrain combination Subaru calls “e-Boxer.” The other is a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Given that the Forester is built in Japan and not in Indiana like most of its other models, it’s not a leap to expect one or both engines to potentially make their way here.

Following the release of the Outback Wilderness model for the 2022 model year, Subaru will likely give the Forester a similar treatment for 2022. The rugged model should leave the factory with larger wheels, all-terrain tires, a bump in ground clearance, and extra under-body protection against rock bashes and damage from rough trails.

On the inside, the Japanese Forester will be available with various seating materials, depending on the trim level. Highlights include fabric or simulated suede with StarTex synthetic leather bolsters, full waterproof StarTex, and premium leather upholstery. Photos depict a new two-tone Saddle Brown over Black premium leather combination.

Subaru makes several improvements to the Forester’s safety systems but appears to leave its existing infotainment system in place. That means the SUV continues with an 8-inch touchscreen display with Starlink software and connected services instead of the larger screens seen in the latest Legacy and Outback models. 

A next-generation Subaru EyeSight collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) features a stereo camera with an expanded field of view that the automaker says can recognize the traffic environment more precisely. The new system’s collision warning and avoidance systems also work with greater range than before, and include turning assistance support for intersections. Finally, Subaru says that improvements to the safe following assistance system will make the adaptive cruise control smoother and more secure.

In 2020, the Subaru Forester was the brand’s best-selling model in the United States. Since Subaru last redesigned the Forester for the 2019 model year, a refresh for the 2022 model is timed right, suggesting that an updated version is coming soon. Full details should begin making their way to the public in summer of 2021 with dealers receiving their first vehicles in the fall.

Subaru Japan is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on June 14, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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