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Subaru Forester celebrates turning 18 with best ever sales

The first generation Subaru Forester made its debut 18 years ago in Japan this month. The 2015 Subaru Forester celebrates with record sales. Is Forester still relevant today?

The first generation Subaru Forester rolled off the assembly line in Gunma Japan 18 years ago. The compact crossover has been manufactured by Fuji Heavy Industries and sold under the Subaru brand since 1997. The third generation Forester was crowned Motor Trend's 2009 SUV of the Year, and the fourth generation Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2014 and again Motor Trend's 2014 SUV of the Year. The 2015 Subaru Forester continues to roll with more success.

First generation 1997-2002

Forester made its global debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995 as the Streega Concept and made its way to production in February 1997. The first Subaru Forester made its way to the U.S. in 1998 and was offered with all-wheel-drive, a 5-speed manual transmission and a 2.5-liter boxer engine producing 165 horsepower and 162 lb ft of torque.

Second generation 2003-2008

The compact SUV rode on the Impreza platform but it featured a taller stance, higher H-point seating, and Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system. The second generation was introduced in 2003 at the Chicago Auto Show and came with a number of weight-reducing refinements like an aluminum hood, perforated roof rails and hydro-formed front sub frame. In 2004 the Forester XT turbo model was released.

Third generation 2009-2013

The third generation Forester launched in 2008 and made its North American debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that same year. Forester's wheelbase grew by 3.5 inches, with overall increases of 3.0 inches in length, 1.8 inches in width and 4.3 inches in height. The compact SUV also saw a redesigned exterior and received a sloping roof line and more cargo space.

Fourth generation 2014-present

CHECK OUT: Why 2015 Forester is top researched compact SUV [video]

The fourth generation Forester was introduced in 2014 and received a major redesign from the ground up. Subaru reengineered the small SUV with the latest technology, and it’s the safest mid-size SUV on the planet. With the fourth generation model, Subaru stayed true to their core values of good visibility, cargo carrying ability and versatility.

Demand for the 2015 Subaru Forester is strong and January was the best ever for the SUV. Subaru knows where their market niche is and they stayed true to their core values. They have done a great job of marketing to their key customers and Subaru reports up to 60 percent of buyers are new to the brand. Subaru reports 18th consecutive months of more than 10,000 Foresters sold since the redesign. The complete overhaul for the fourth generation Forester is paying off big for Subaru.


Simone (not verified)    February 23, 2015 - 8:41PM

I noticed the article did not bring up the class action law suits against Subaru because several of their models are using oil and ruining engines and Subaru has been lax and not addressed this issue. What is going on with that? And is it still a problem with the 2015 models?