Facelifted Subaru Forester launches in Japan

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A refreshed Subaru Forester has launched in Japan. It's almost certain that this facelift previews what we can expect when the popular compact crossover gets its mid-generational update in North America, as the Forester Wilderness teasers have shown similar cues.

The new face looks quite a bit stronger than the frankly rather amorphous mug of the current Forester. Redesigned, squared-off headlights gain some definition, with DRL brows that point towards a new, more angular grille. Beneath them, some "cheekbones" not only give the front more character, but may protect the headlights slightly better in minor parking lot scrapes.

New fog lamp housings are better integrated with the contours of the bumper cover. Some chrome (or black, depending on the trim level) ridges add some style to the visage as well. Overall, it makes the car seem better designed, as opposed to having a bunch of random shapes working against each other.

The rear appears to have fewer updates. The taillights and tailgate both seem to retain the same shape. However, the black "diffuser" area and silver trim below the body-colored area of the bumper cover appear to have been reshaped with more thought-out contours.

Likewise, the interior does not seem to have changed dramatically. Even so, we can't be sure that the Japan-market interior will translate entirely over to the U.S., steering wheel location notwithstanding.

Notably, however, the upcoming Forester Wilderness will likely use this facelifted model as its base. Note the shape of the grille from the Wilderness teaser released last week. The hood's cut lines are located above the outermost corners of the grille, just like the new JDM Forester's. The current model, on the other hand, has cut lines located directly on said corners.

This would make sense, as we know the Wilderness model will have a redesigned front bumper for improved approach angle (likely to match a similarly changed rear bumper, but we cannot verify yet) and updated grille as well. It wouldn't make sense for Subaru to design these new bits for only a short period on the market before a facelift.

The new look gives the Forester a bit more character. The outgoing face was shapeless enough that it was quickly getting lost among the rapid proliferation of similarly designed crossovers (not to mention the previous-generation model). With the Forester Wilderness getting a debut September 2, we expect the updated Forester to debut around the same time.

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