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Subaru Redesigns and Refines Forester for 2006


NEW YORK, March 24 -- Subaru of America, Inc., America's All- Wheel Drive market leader, today introduced the redesigned Forester for 2006 at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in Subaru dealerships in June, the Forester gains new, more refined, yet rugged exterior styling, more powerful engines and a host of enhancements to driving performance, comfort and utility.

The 2006 Forester, like all Subaru vehicles, features Symmetrical All- Wheel Drive as standard equipment. "Forester has been a strong performer since its introduction in 1997," said Fred Adcock, executive vice president, Subaru of America, Inc. "Its popularity has steadily increased with each new accolade it achieves from its excellent crashworthiness to its numerous recognitions for reliability and outright performance. Forester continues to surprise and delight customers."

Sophisticated Exterior

New for 2006 Forester debuts an entirely new and more sophisticated front fascia design, including a new grille, four-lamp headlight clusters, bumper, hood and fenders. At the rear, the 2006 Forester is distinguished by new tail lamp clusters and a body-color trim panel that prominently displays the Subaru 6-star brand emblem. On base models, body color replaces textured-gray for the bumpers and protective cladding to impart a more refined appearance. All but entry-level models also get new larger body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signals. The L.L.Bean Edition remains the top-of-the-line non-turbo Forester model.

More Power Across the Board for 2006

For 2006, all naturally-aspirated Forester models are badged 2.5 X. The 2.5-liter boxer engine in Forester 2.5 X models gains an Active Valve Lift System (AVLS) variable valve lift technology, which helps to boost horsepower to 173 (up from 165 in the 2005 models). More importantly, it improves real- world drivability and performance.

The already powerful turbocharged/intercooled 2.5-liter engine in the Forester 2.5 XT Limited gets a serious boost for 2006, pumping out an extra 20 horsepower (now at 230) as a result of a higher compression ratio and a redesigned intake manifold. The engine now meets the stricter Low Emissions Vehicle II (LEV II) regulation while propelling the Forester to 60 mph in under six seconds.

Revisions to the manual and automatic transmissions help improve performance and responsiveness in all Forester models. Subaru has modified the electronically controlled version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive on the automatic transmissions to provide both better handling and enhanced traction performance on slippery road surfaces. In addition, the 4-speed direct control electronic automatic transmission features an advanced adaptive shift control system. The new system controls transmission shift points based on driver input and vehicle load to optimize engine performance. New gear ratios in both the 2.5 XT manual and automatic transmissions help to optimize performance and fuel consumption.

Revised Lineup Delivers Great Value

The 2006 Forester 2.5 X entry-level model starts as one of the best- equipped small SUVs, featuring as standard equipment front seat head/chest side-impact airbags, four-wheel ABS, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, air filtration, AM/FM/Weatherband stereo with single-disc CD player and four speakers, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a remote keyless entry system. New for 2006, the 60/40 split rear seatback incorporates a fold-down arm rest, and the security system is now standard.

The available Premium Package enhances driving performance with rear disc brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), 8-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels and a viscous limited-slip rear differential. The Premium Package also bundles the power tilt/sliding glass moonroof and All-Weather Package that includes dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. Also included are an automatic climate control system, 8-way power driver's seat, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, upgraded speakers and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter handle and parking brake handle.

The Forester 2.5 XT Limited model combines all of the equipment in the Premium Package and in addition features leather-trimmed upholstery and exclusive exterior and interior trim items.

Revised L.L.Bean Package

The Forester L.L.Bean Edition is identified by a two-tone appearance for 2006. It features either steel gray metallic or platinum silver metallic bumpers and body side cladding. A standard self-leveling rear suspension helps maintain ride level even when driving with a full load.

The interior features standard beige leather-trimmed upholstery with L.L.Bean logo-embossed front seats complemented by new Alcantara(R) side bolsters. A new MOMO(R) wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and matching- design shifter handle add to the luxurious character.

Sharper Handling and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

Forester has long set a standard for responsive and comfortable driving performance among small SUVs. For 2006, Subaru has refined the drivetrain, suspension, and braking systems to give Forester models a more engaging driving experience and a more comfortable ride. In addition, ground clearance has been increased from 7.5 inches to 8.07 (7.87 on 2.5 XT) inches to enhance all-road, all-weather driving capability.

A strengthened rear crossmember increases lateral rigidly to help improve handling response. In front, the lower L-arm mounting point has been modified for a smoother ride. The coil spring rates and shock absorber valving have been revised in the front and rear. In all Forester models, changes to the brake booster help improve overall brake feel.

Proven Safety Leadership

The current-generation Subaru Forester earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) highest rating ("good") in both the side impact crashworthiness evaluation and 40-mph frontal offset crash tests. The IIHS called Forester the "best small SUV" it had tested.

The Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS) include dual-stage deployment "smart" front air bags and front seat head/chest side-impact air bags. The driver's side air bag deploys according to the driver's proximity to the steering wheel, measured by a sensor on the seat track. In the passenger side front seat, a sensor module detects weight on the passenger seat - first determining if it's occupied, and if so by a child or adult - to control air bag deployment. The front-seat active head restraints have been redesigned for 2006 and help to minimize whiplash injury.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes All-Wheel Drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru is the only car company that offers Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line.