Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
FOLLOWING its unveiling at the Singapore Motor Show early this year, the fifth-generation Subaru Forester’s sportier-looking iteration now makes its way to the Philippines to take the top rung in the SUV model’s roster.
Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc., exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country, has just launched the Subaru Forester GT Edition — a specially designed version developed in collaboration with engineering company Giken Co. Ltd. and Masahiko “Jack” Kobayashi.
A former chief designer heading the Global Advanced Design Studio at Subaru Corporation, Kobayashi was “responsible for the exterior design of more than 12 Subaru production models, including… the WRX STI,” according to Subaru in a release. Meanwhile, Giken is an “award-winning engineering company founded in 1964 (which holds) numerous patents in Japan, South Korea, and the United States.”
The Forester GT Edition, predicated on the top-spec 2.0i-S with EyeSight, gets a host of design changes and modifications such as a front bumper lip extension, side skirts, roof spoiler, and rear bumper lip extension. It also receives new 18-inch bespoke alloy wheels, and a unique seat-leather design.
The variant sports a head unit with an eight-inch display for its audio system boasting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a Superview Around Recognition 360-degree monitor system. This Forester also banners four “hallmark” Subaru Core Technologies: Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Boxer Engine, Subaru Global Platform, and EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. All told, it has more than 100 safety features.
In a speech during the launch held at Subaru Pasig last Wednesday, Glenn Tan, deputy chairman and managing director of Tan Chong International Ltd. (which owns the Motor Image Group of Companies) averred, “The car is now more stylish and sleek. It’s specially made for customers here who want to stand out in a crowd and defy convention. This is an example of how we’re constantly offering more choices for Filipino customers.”
He added during a subsequent press conference that, with the GT Edition, the company is hoping to bump up Forester sales by 40%. The GT Edition package will not be available as a retrofit to existing vehicles. Replying to a question from Velocity, Mr. Tan explained that the GT Edition, only distributed in this part of the world, addresses the Asian market’s preference for “more sporty-looking” automobiles — which shows up even in the design of MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles).
The Subaru Forester 2.0i-S EyeSight GT Edition is powered by a 2.0-liter direct fuel injection, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine developing 156ps and 196Nm. It is available to order at all Subaru showrooms nationwide, and comes in Crystal Black Pearl, Crystal White Pearl, Dark Gray Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, and Sepia Bronze Metallic. The vehicle is priced at P2.12 million.