Review: 2019 Subaru Forester Pairs CarPlay With a Great Multi-Display Infotainment System Assessment: 2019 Subaru Forester Pairs CarPlay With a Nice Multi-Show Infotainment System

Subaru is experiencing rising reputation within the U.S., creating a powerful popularity primarily based on emphasizing security, all-wheel drive operation, and expertise. The redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester isn’t any exception, providing normal all-wheel drive, a roomier cabin, and new DriverFocus expertise that makes use of facial recognition and monitoring to not solely save your driver presets however warn you if it detects drowsy or distracted driving.

The 2019 Forester contains Subaru’s STARLINK infotainment system with normal CarPlay help, with lower-level fashions coming with a 6.5-inch display whereas higher-level trims are upgraded to an 8-inch display.

I’ve had an opportunity to spend a while with a top-of-the-line 2019 Forester Touring in Horizon Blue Pearl, so learn on for particulars about how the entire expertise comes collectively for iPhone customers.

STARLINK Infotainment

Subaru’s STARLINK Infotainment methods supply the entire performance you’d count on, beginning with AM/FM radio with HD help, SiriusXM, USB and Bluetooth media machine help, hands-free cellphone connectivity, and a CD participant. All trims additionally embody help for CarPlay, Android Auto, and app integration with Pandora and Aha. In addition they help cloud apps like Yelp, iHeartRadio, Magellan, TomTom, and extra.

Subaru’s STARLINK residence display

The bottom, Premium, and Sport trims all include a 6.5-inch show, though the Sport trim might be upgraded to the bigger 8-inch show. The Restricted trim will get the 8-inch show normal with an optionally available improve to embedded navigation from TomTom, whereas the Touring trim will get the 8-inch display and navigation normal.

Embedded TomTom navigation

Subaru has gone all-in on shows within the Forester, with my Touring mannequin that includes three separate screens. Apart from the spacious 8-inch predominant display on the middle stack, there’s additionally a 4.2-inch digital show as a part of the instrument cluster instantly in entrance of the driving force, which is normal on all trims. This show is customizable and is able to displaying a big selection of knowledge from a digital speedometer to hurry restrict indicators to gas degree to audio info and extra. These instrument cluster shows have gotten more and more frequent, and it is good to see it included normal on the Forester.

Instrument cluster

What units the Forester additional other than many different automobiles is the third show, positioned in a housing protruding from the dashboard on the high of the middle stack. This housing additionally contains an array of sensors for options like DriverFocus that I will speak about a bit later, however the 6.3-inch show included right here on increased trims is a incredible addition.

Twin screens displaying audio and navigation info

Whereas the primary infotainment show is taken over by CarPlay, built-in navigation, or different capabilities, the higher show can supply an always-on view of different methods with a dense array of knowledge. By default it exhibits fundamental info just like the time, outdoors temperature, and present local weather management settings, however the primary portion of the show can present certainly one of a number of completely different screens primarily based on consumer desire.

Automobile security methods standing

This show can present an summary of what automobile security methods are energetic, the present climate forecast, navigation info, audio info, a bigger model of your local weather settings and extra. It’s going to additionally intelligently change what it is displaying primarily based on what else is happening, equivalent to quickly displaying navigation info when a flip is developing.

Gas financial system display

The colour 6.3-inch show is normal on Sport and better trims and an choice on the Premium trim, however not obtainable on the bottom trim. The bottom trim and the usual configuration of the Premium trim embody a smaller show that provides extra fundamental details about the automobile.

Subaru has saved a full set of {hardware} local weather controls, though the one visible suggestions on the controls themselves are standing lights for a number of the buttons. Different visible indicators like temperature settings and fan velocity are proven on the opposite screens increased on the middle stack.


CarPlay, which requires a wired connection as in most autos, is a good expertise on the big 8-inch show. It takes over the entire display, however the additional multifunction show above nonetheless provides you entry to different information from the automobile. The display is vivid and colours are vivid, and contact responsiveness is nice with no lag.

CarPlay residence display

Subaru fortunately contains quite a lot of {hardware} controls under the display, so you can make many changes largely by really feel.

CarPlay “Now Taking part in” display

Massive quantity and tune/scroll knobs allow you to simply make these changes, whereas devoted {hardware} buttons for numerous infotainment capabilities like radio, built-in navigation and audio observe skipping allow you to shortly soar between capabilities. A outstanding residence button will get you again to the primary Subaru display from wherever you might be.

Apple Maps in CarPlay

I actually like the way in which the dual-screen setup provides you command of every thing happening within the automobile at a look, minimizing the period of time you want to take your eyes off the highway. Apple Maps or Google Maps operating in CarPlay can take over the big predominant show, whereas your whole different info together with CarPlay audio observe and album names might be seen concurrently on the higher show.

Voice management button is at backside left of left cluster

As ordinary, there’s a voice management button on the steering wheel that allows you to speak to the automobile or Siri. When CarPlay is energetic, the steering wheel button can solely activate Siri. However once you’re out of CarPlay, you possibly can activate Siri with an extended press of the button or the Subaru system with a brief press.

Ports and Connectivity

My Touring trim got here with quite a few USB-A ports for connectivity, together with a pair up entrance adjoining to the smallish storage tray on the base of the middle stack and two extra on the rear of the middle console for rear passengers. All 4 ports can ship as much as 2.1 amps, in order that they’ll have the ability to cost even power-hungry units like iPads pretty shortly.

Entrance USB ports and cellphone storage tray

All Forester trims embody the entrance USB ports, however the base and second-level Premium trims require a $178 choice so as to add the rear ones. The remaining trims embody the rear ports as normal gear.

USB ports on rear of middle console

All however the base Forester trim supply in-car Wi-Fi hotspot help by way of LTE, which requires a separate plan by way of AT&T. Subaru doesn’t supply a wi-fi cellphone charger as both normal or optionally available gear on the Forester.


For the previous couple of years, Subaru has been pushing its EyeSight package deal of driver help expertise options, which incorporates adaptive cruise management, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warnings, and lane-keeping help. These options have gotten more and more common throughout automotive producers, and it is nice that Subaru is now making its EyeSight package deal normal throughout all Forester trims.

Preliminary registration for DriverFocus

Subaru can also be now taking issues to the following degree with DriverFocus, a function at present obtainable solely on the highest-level Touring trim as an ordinary function. DriverFocus makes use of facial recognition and monitoring to regulate you when you’re driving. If it detects drowsy or distracted driving, it should warn you with a chime and a pop-up message on the driving force’s show.

Whereas some automotive producers have centered on monitoring actions of the automotive to detect drowsy or distracted driving, whether or not it is drifting out of your lane or making repeated sharp steering corrections, Subaru is making an attempt to be much more proactive by really watching to see in case your eyes are open and on the highway. It would sound a bit Large Brother-ish, however your automotive is not going to report you to the authorities or report your conduct, so it might show to be an important security function and you’ll all the time flip it off.

Display with inexperienced icon displaying DriverFocus is energetic

Subaru acknowledges that the system is not excellent and it could actually generate some false positives, which I did discover in my testing. One time the automotive warned me to take a break when it apparently thought my eyes have been beginning to droop, however I believe I used to be simply squinting a bit right into a vivid solar. A few different occasions it warned me to maintain my eyes on the highway, as soon as once I had a hand as much as my face rubbing one eye and as soon as once I was on a sharply curving freeway exit ramp when it apparently thought I used to be wanting away from the highway once I was in actual fact wanting forward alongside the curve. Fast glances down or to the facet will not set off a warning, however in case you have motive to look someplace aside from pretty straight forward for greater than a few seconds, you may get an alert.

Facial recognition lets the Forester greet you by title once you enter and bear in mind your most popular settings

As a bonus, DriverFocus’s facial monitoring expertise also can acknowledge you once you get within the automotive, greeting you by title onscreen and robotically setting your most popular seat and mirror positions and local weather management choices. Some automobiles make comparable changes by associating preferences with a particular key fob getting used, however Subaru is leveraging its DriverFocus expertise to make computerized reminiscence settings much more seamless.


Subaru presents a strong infotainment system of its personal, and the Forester actually takes it to the following degree with the dual-screen setup within the middle stack. Layer the comfort of CarPlay on high of that and you have some nice choices for leisure, navigation, and extra, all extremely customizable.

I appreciated the abundance of high-powered USB ports within the entrance and rear, though the cellphone storage tray up entrance was fairly small for my iPhone XS Max. Wi-fi charging could be a pleasant choice to have so long as it really works nicely and the worth premium is not too excessive, so hopefully that is one thing Subaru will add sooner or later. Different producers have been hit-or-miss on this function, however when carried out nicely it is a good choice to have.

The 2019 Subaru Forester begins at $24,295 plus vacation spot, supply, and different charges, with every successive trim degree including round $2,000 earlier than the larger soar to the top-of-the-line Touring mannequin at $34,295. I do suggest bumping as much as the 8-inch show should you can, because it’s an important dimension for the primary display, however that’ll push you up near the $30,000 degree on a Sport trim with choice package deal.


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