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OPTICAL AND HEARING
2006 Subaru Forester XT
11th July, 2005
Contemporary new lines, increased power and interior refinements add to the performance, practicality and comfort of the 2006 Subaru Forester All-Wheel Drive.
One of the most awarded cars in Australia gets the latest efficient version of Subaru’s 2.5 litre horizontally opposed boxer engine, including Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) across the range.
Forester recently passed the 70,000 sales mark in Australia and a wide variety of refinements for 2006 will broaden its appeal even further.
Subaru’s DataDot security initiative applies to every MY06 Forester, while the focus on engineering ensures all variants retain a five-star independent crashworthiness rating from the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).
Specification is improved in every model yet price rises are minimal, with entry-level Forester X starting at $31,990 for the manual, including on-road costs.
A significant nine per cent boost in Forester XT’s turbocharged power takes it from 155 kW to 169 kW @ 5,600 rpm. This underlines its strong recreational role, with Forester XT manual having an 1800kg braked towing capacity – ideal for medium sized boat, caravan and trailer haulage.
Naturally aspirated Forester X and XS are also up an impressive eight per cent, from 112 Kilowatts to 121 kW @ 5,600 rpm.
For added All-Wheel Drive grip, torque increases too on Forester X and XS from 223 Newtonmetres to 226 Nm at 4,400 rpm.
Forester Engine Management Systems are upgraded, achieving extra efficiency. Naturally aspirated engines meet European STEP3 emission regulations and turbocharged engines are STEP4 compliant.
Automatic transmission weight is down by 2.5 kilograms on Forester X and XS, and Forester XT introduces centre-console controlled SPORTSHIFT on automatic variants.
Suspension on all Foresters is upgraded, refining cornering performance and reducing pitching.
Active torque split on automatic Forester All-Wheel Drive systems is further refined to ensure optimum engine power to front and back wheels.
Forester’s neat new look includes revised grille, twin headlights and taillights, plus indicators incorporated into the larger wing mirrors, for enhanced visibility.
The re-profiled front bumper includes new compact fog lights for Forester XS and XT.
Forester XT replaces its previous 16-inch wheels with sporty 17-inch alloys and high intensity discharge headlights (HID) for even better light spread. They feature pop-out power jet washers.
Nick Senior, Managing Director, Subaru Australia, said: “Forester remains one of the most awarded vehicles in the Australian automotive industry. We are confident that the innovations featured in these new variants will take it to new success levels despite a highly competitive sales sector.”
Mr Senior said Subaru has long dominated the official VFACTS Compact SUV sales segment, with combined Forester and Outback sales regularly capturing around a quarter of the monthly market.
“Forester was the catalyst that sparked the compact SUV boom. Always at the forefront of the category, its ongoing sales and many industry awards are testament to its success. The latest incarnation will uphold this legacy."
“With those consistent sales, month in, month out, Forester has a demonstrable track record as a market leader and the attention to detail on the latest versions will only add to its customer appeal and Subaru’s growing perception as a premium Japanese brand."
“Every key area of the vehicle has received attention, from exterior design through to engines, suspension and interior specification. It means we now offer the most comprehensive Forester range ever, including a choice of interior colour (beige and black)."
“We’re pleased to be what we believe is the first in the compact SUV class and perhaps in the sub $50,000 price range, to offer a choice of two interiors across the entire range of Foresters.”
Mr Senior said key areas of customer feedback were power and driveability and both have been addressed in the new models.
“Collectively the refinements to Forester are proof of Fuji Heavy Industries interest in our Australian customers, and the amount of choice within the range recognises differing customer tastes.”
He added: “We are particularly excited about Forester XT, with more power, better handling and suspension, and HID headlights. It’s a multi-functional SUV, but with no compromises around town Monday-Friday.
“There’s plenty of power to tow trailers with jet skis and bikes, or boats, caravans and camper trailers.”
Mr Senior said sales of turbocharged variants represented more than 14 per cent of Forester sales this year.
Forester has a new design horizontal grille, headlights and taillights.
The twin globe headlights include gas discharge High Intensity Discharge (HID) low beam on turbocharged Forester XT, for even clearer light spread at night. They feature pop-out power jet washers.
Rear lights feature contemporary design round lenses, while LED indicators are incorporated into the larger wing mirrors for high visibility.
Forester XT introduces 17-inch alloy wheels with a design pattern unique to the model.
X, XS and XT:
XS and XT only:
The cleverly designed new multi-function centre console is shared by all Forester variants. This intelligent design includes a front centre sliding armrest that opens to reveal two extra cup holders and a sliding mini tray table for rear seat passengers.
Typical of Forester’s practical design, rear cargo area hanger rails have been added, beside the two luggage hooks and six tie-down points.
Rear seat bases are extended by 50 millimetres, for greater thigh support.
Front seat movement is made easier with introduction of a single rail adjuster.
There is now the choice of beige or black interior trim on all models.
The Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) now used on all Forester variants, optimises torque delivery in response to the level of acceleration.
Known as “drive by wire” technology, the throttle control system provides a more linear acceleration/deceleration feeling that corresponds naturally to the driver’s expectation.
It is achieved by providing a programmed “relationship” between throttle pedal and throttle valve.
This means the driver’s intentions are conveyed from the throttle pedal to the engine electronically rather than via the cable used previously. This provides optimum throttle opening for any given operating condition.
This is a similar concept to the system used in the Subaru World Rally Car.
Drivers feel no difference between the ETC and a traditional throttle control.
Improvements to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) are achieved through reinforcement of casting around the engine’s main bearing journal, plus other casting changes and cylinder liner shape alterations.
The addition of Tumble Generator Valves (TGV) to Forester X and XS creates straight tumble flow, reducing start-up emission. At higher loads, the valve opening allows for an increase in airflow.
The combustion chamber shape on Forester XT’s turbocharged engine has been changed to enhance compression ratio from 8.2:1 to 8.4:1, producing emission and fuel efficiency benefits.
All automatic Foresters now have Direct AT (automatic transmission). This eliminates many of the valves and accumulators located in the hydraulic circuits in the transmission.
High frequency linear solenoid control directly regulates main transmission hydraulic pressure. Variable electronic control directly regulates the pressure applied to each of the clutches and brakes in the transmission. The benefits of this include improved shift quality and speed.
For example, if engine load is changed during gearshift, Direct AT can sense this and adjusts hydraulic pressures accordingly.
By removing the valves and accumulators, automatic transmission weight is reduced by 2.5 kilograms.
Automatic variants of Forester XT now have a smooth SPORTSHIFT transmission.
The four-speed automatic provides excellent shifting quality, fuel economy and weight reduction.
The intelligent SPORTSHIFT system takes into account cornering, braking and acceleration rate in making optimum gear selection and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive torque split.
The electronic computer-controlled AWD system uses Subaru’s settings, which are regarded as the most precise in the automotive industry.
The computer electronically controls hydraulic fluid pressure in the Multi-Plate Transfer clutch, at the rear of the transmission, which directs drive to the rear axle.
The computer works together with the automatic transmission to measure information including speed, gear range, acceleration range and rotational differences between front and rear wheels.
This information is used to calculate the ideal torque, or drive, to supply to the wheels.
For example, if the front wheels are on a wet or slippery surface and the rear on dry, more power is transferred to the back wheels.
To prevent slippage, the system can continuously vary the drive power to front and rear. At the same time, it controls the automatic transmission and AWD delivery to maximise the effectiveness of the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS).
This coordination of systems ensures greater safety on slippery roads, during sudden acceleration and sudden braking.
Suspension upgrades on all Foresters have produced significant improvements in handling, ride and steering.
Front suspension arm rearmost bushings are relocated for improved controlling of roll pitch.
The rear suspension cross member is reinforced to maintain steering geometry during cornering.
Spring rates and front and rear damping rates are also changed to optimise steering stability.
Forester MY06 pricing
* Includes on-road costs