Review: 2019 Subaru Forester Pairs CarPlay With a Fantastic Multi-Display Infotainment System



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Subaru is experiencing growing popularity in the U.S., establishing a strong credibility based upon highlighting security, four-wheel drive operation, and technology. The upgraded 2019 Subaru Forester is no exception, providing basic four-wheel drive, a roomier cabin, and brand-new DriverFocus innovation that uses facial acknowledgment and keeping track of to not only conserve your driver presets however alert you if it detects sleepy or distracted driving.

The 2019 Forester includes Subaru’s STARLINK infotainment system with standard CarPlay support, with lower-level designs coming with a 6.5-inch screen while higher-level trims are updated to an 8-inch screen.

I have actually had a chance to spend a long time with a state-of-the-art 2019 Forester Touring in Horizon Blue Pearl, so read on for details about how all of the innovation comes together for iPhone users.

STARLINK Infotainment

Subaru’s STARLINK Infotainment systems use all of the performance you ‘d anticipate, beginning with AM/FM radio with HD assistance, SiriusXM, USB and Bluetooth media gadget assistance, hands-free phone connection, and a CD gamer. All trims also include assistance for


, Android Vehicle, and app combination with Pandora and Aha. They likewise support cloud apps like Yelp, iHeartRadio, Magellan, TomTom, and more.

Subaru’s STARLINK home screen

The base, Premium, and Sport trims all include a 6.5-inch display screen, although the Sport trim can be upgraded to the bigger 8-inch display. The Minimal trim gets the 8-inch screen standard with an optional upgrade to embedded navigation from TomTom, while the Touring trim gets the 8-inch screen and navigation requirement.

Embedded TomTom navigation

Subaru has actually gone all-in on displays in the Forester, with my Touring model featuring 3 separate screens. Aside from the roomy 8-inch primary screen on the center stack, there’s likewise a 4.2-inch digital screen as part of the instrument cluster straight in front of the chauffeur, which is standard on all trims. This display screen is adjustable and is capable of showing a wide range of information from a digital speedometer to speed limitation indications to sustain level to audio info and more. These instrument cluster display screens are becoming significantly typical, and it’s good to see it included requirement on the Forester.

Instrument cluster

What sets the Forester further apart from many other vehicles is the third screen, situated in a real estate extending from the control panel at the top of the center stack. This housing likewise consists of a variety of sensing units for features like DriverFocus that I’ll speak about a bit later on, however the 6.3-inch screen included here on greater trims is a fantastic addition.

Double screens showing audio and navigation info

While the main infotainment display screen is taken over by


, integrated navigation, or other functions, the upper display screen can offer an always-on view of other systems with a dense selection of details. By default it shows fundamental info like the time, outside temperature level, and current environment control settings, but the primary portion of the display can show one of numerous different screens based on user choice.

Car security systems status

This display screen can show a summary of what vehicle security systems are active, the present weather condition projection, navigation info, audio information, a larger variation of your climate settings and more. It will also intelligently change what it’s showing based on what else is going on, such as momentarily showing navigation information when a turn is turning up.

Fuel economy screen

The color 6.3-inch display screen is standard on Sport and higher trims and a choice on the Premium trim, however not offered on the base trim. The base trim and the standard setup of the Premium trim include a smaller screen that offers more fundamental details about the lorry.

Subaru has actually kept a full set of hardware environment controls, although the only visual feedback on the controls themselves are status lights for some of the buttons. Other visual signs like temperature level settings and fan speed are shown on the other screens higher on the center stack.



, which requires a wired connection as in the majority of automobiles, is a great experience on the large 8-inch display. It takes over the entire screen, but the extra multifunction display screen above still provides you access to other information from the car. The screen is bright and colors are vibrant, and touch responsiveness is great with no lag.

CarPlay home screen

Subaru the good news is consists of a variety of hardware controls listed below the screen, so you’ll have the ability to make numerous adjustments mostly by feel.

CarPlay “Now Playing” screen

Large volume and tune/scroll knobs let you quickly make those adjustments, while devoted hardware buttons for different infotainment functions like radio, built-in navigation and audio track skipping let you quickly leap between functions. A prominent house button gets you back to the main Subaru screen from any place you are.

Apple Maps in CarPlay

I actually like the way the dual-screen setup gives you command of whatever going on in the car at a glimpse, minimizing the amount of time you require to take your eyes off the road.

Apple Maps

or Google Maps running in


can take control of the big primary display, while all of your other info including


audio track and album names can be seen at the same time on the upper display.

Voice control button is at bottom left of left cluster

As usual, there is a voice control button on the steering wheel that lets you talk with the car or Siri When


is active, the guiding wheel button can only trigger


However when you run out


, you can activate


with a long press of the button or the Subaru system with a brief press.

Ports and Connection

My Touring trim came with a variety of USB-A ports for connectivity, including a pair front nearby to the small storage tray at the base of the center stack and 2 more on the back of the center console for rear travelers. All 4 ports can provide up to 2.1 amps, so they’ll have the ability to charge even power-hungry gadgets like iPads fairly quickly.

Front USB ports and phone storage tray

All Forester trims consist of the front USB ports, but the base and second-level Premium trims need a $178 choice to include the rear ones. The staying trims consist of the rear ports as standard devices.

USB ports on rear of center console

All but the base Forester trim deal in-car Wi-Fi hotspot assistance by means of LTE, which requires a separate strategy through AT&T. Subaru does not use a cordless phone charger as either basic or optional equipment on the Forester.


For the past couple of years, Subaru has actually been pressing its EyeSight plan of motorist help technology includes, which includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway cautions, and lane-keeping help. Those functions are ending up being significantly popular throughout automobile producers, and it’s great that Subaru is now making its EyeSight plan standard across all Forester trims.

Preliminary registration for DriverFocus

Subaru is also now taking things to the next level with DriverFocus, a feature presently available just on the highest-level Touring trim as a basic feature. DriverFocus utilizes facial recognition and keeping track of to watch on you while you’re driving. If it identifies drowsy or sidetracked driving, it will caution you with a chime and a pop-up message on the chauffeur’s screen.

While some cars and truck producers have actually concentrated on monitoring motions of the automobile to find drowsy or distracted driving, whether it’s wandering from your lane or making repeated sharp steering corrections, Subaru is attempting to be a lot more proactive by in fact watching to see if your eyes are open and on the roadway. It might sound a little Huge Brother-ish, however your vehicle isn’t going to report you to the authorities or record your habits, so it could show to be a great security feature and you can always turn it off.

Screen with green icon revealing DriverFocus is active

Subaru acknowledges that the system isn’t ideal and it can generate some incorrect positives, which I did discover in my testing. One time the automobile alerted me to take a break when it obviously thought my eyes were beginning to sag, however I think I was simply squinting a bit into a brilliant sun. A number of other times it warned me to keep my eyes on the road, once when I had a hand up to my face rubbing one eye and as soon as when I was on a dramatically curving highway turnoff when it obviously thought I was averting from the road when I remained in reality looking ahead along the curve. Quick glances down or to the side won’t trigger a warning, but if you have reason to look someplace besides fairly straight ahead for more than a couple of seconds, you may get an alert.

Facial acknowledgment lets the Forester greet you by name when you get in and remember your favored settings

As a reward, DriverFocus’s facial tracking technology can also recognize you when you get in the vehicle, welcoming you by name onscreen and automatically setting your preferred seat and mirror positions and climate control alternatives. Some cars and trucks make similar changes by associating choices with a specific essential fob being used, but Subaru is leveraging its DriverFocus technology to make automated memory settings much more seamless.


Subaru provides a solid infotainment system of its own, and the Forester actually takes it to the next level with the dual-screen setup in the center stack. Layer the convenience of


on top of that and you have actually got some great alternatives for entertainment, navigation, and more, all extremely adjustable.

I valued the abundance of high-powered USB ports in the front and rear, although the phone storage tray in advance was rather small for my iPhone XS Max. Wireless charging would be a nice option to have as long as it works well and the rate premium isn’t too high, so ideally that’s something Subaru will add in the future. Other manufacturers have actually been hit-or-miss on this function, but when done well it’s a great alternative to have.

The 2019 Subaru Forester starts at $24,295 plus destination, delivery, and other charges, with each successive trim level adding around $2,000 before the larger jump to the state-of-the-art Touring model at $34,295 I do recommend bumping up to the 8-inch display if you can, as it’s a great size for the main screen, however that’ll press you up close to the $30,000 level on a Sport trim with option plan.

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About Ronnie

Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan OBE (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He has won five World Championships, a record seven Masters titles, and a record seven UK Championships, setting a record total of 19 titles in Triple Crown tournaments. He shares the record for the most ranking titles (36) with Stephen Hendry. His career earnings of over £10 million put him in first place on snooker's all-time prize-money list. Winning the Tour Championship on 24 March 2019 made him the sport's current world number one, the fourth time in his career that he has held the top position and the first time he has been number one since May 2010. This is the longest gap between number one spells by any player in history.