On a ‘very’ fresh winter’s morning on the outer suburbs of Melbourne, the team at Subaru Australia put the all-new 2019 Forester through its paces with a demonstration of both the technology and the dynamic performance of the vehicle. The National Collision Repairer was there as a guest of Subaru Business Development Manager, Andrew Minns.
On the eve of the Forester’s 21st birthday, Simon Eissens, Regional Fleet and Corporate Sales Manager, hosted over 50 invited guests ranging from the Subaru Certified Repairer Network, insurance assessors, I-CAR and various government and fleet buyers. Eissens, with an eye to the purchasing decision-makers and influencers in the room, highlighted the importance of the chain of responsibility when putting employees into fleet vehicles whilst he emphasised the plethora of safety systems in the vehicle.
Supported by Technical Training Manager Gary Pearce, Eissens explained the latest driver assistance systems, which included: adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist (LKA), emergency lane keep assist, re-positioned blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automated emergency braking (AEB) and reverse automated braking (RAB). Pearce then explained the Subaru camera-based EyeSight system and the Driver Monitoring System (DMS), which is based on infra-red technology that, amongst other activities, watches for inattentive driver behaviour.
Attention then turned to the Subaru Global Platform (SGP), the foundation for the next generation of Subaru models out to 2025, with a focus on dynamic performance and in-built safety systems such as efficient energy dissipation and higher body strength. There was also reference to the horizontally-opposed flat boxer engine and its position in the vehicle, enhancing stability due to the lower centre of gravity.
Subaru invited the guests to see and feel the technology for themselves through a variety of driving experiences on the road, on the AWD track, the handling circuit and, of course, the AEB and RAB tests. These dynamic tests were conducted under the supervision of Anthony Robson, Senior Trainer Driving Solutions.
The road test was designed to demonstrate the latest safety features, with the EyeSight system working seamlessly with the adaptive cruise control and LKA. The IR camera of the DMS at times seamed ‘confused’ by reflective sunglasses, but this only served to err on the side of caution. Off road the vehicle was put to the test on the AWD track by some ‘creative driving’ by one or two guests and it was clear the Forester was up to the task. However, it was on the handling circuit that we really pushed the vehicle to its limits – or so we thought! It was only when Driving Solutions’ Director, James Stewart took us on a ‘hot lap’ that we really appreciated the full range of the dynamics and the off-road capabilities of the vehicle.
Throughout the day it was clear that the Subaru team was proud of their brand – and rightly so. For us at the National Collision Repairer this was a day to find out about the technology that is built into the car, how it works and what it means to the collision repairer.
Look out for the full report on the active and passive safety systems of the 2019 Forester in the October issue.