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The 2019 Subaru Forester is introduced during New York International Auto Show, at the Javits Convention Center, Wednesday, March 28, 2018.Richard Drew

First it was Impreza, then Crosstrek, now it's the turn of Subaru's Forester compact CUV to be re-erected on the foundation of the Subaru Global Platform (SGP).

Despite moving to the all-new architecture, the 2019 Forester is more evolutionary than revolutionary, retaining a Subaru family look and signature engineering elements such as a horizontally opposed (Boxer) four-cylinder engine, continuously variable automatic transmission and standard symmetrical, full-time all-wheel drive.

Guiding principles behind the redesign were "comfort for loved ones" – all passengers, not just the driver – and a modern cubic theme for the styling.

A more rugged-looking and slightly larger body with standard LED headlamps sits on a 28-mm-longer wheelbase, which adds space to one of the segment's roomiest cabins. The tailgate opening is wider – up to 1,300 mm, more than enough to swallow four-foot-wide building materials. Wider side-door sills allow easier access to roof-mounted items.

Segment-exclusive safety aids include available DriverFocus, which adds facial-recognition software to detect driver fatigue or distraction, and works with the existing EyeSight suite of active-safety technologies – lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise etc. – to keep things safe. DriverFocus can also store the faces of up to five drivers and remember their settings for seats, mirror, climate and more.

The 2.5-litre Boxer engine gets auto stop/start, and direct fuel injection helps boost outputs to 182 horsepower (from 170) and 176 lb.-ft. of torque (from 174). For engaged drivers, the CVT transmission has an available seven-speed manual-shift mode, and standard SI-Drive features Intelligent, Sport and Sport# modes. But a manual gearbox is no longer offered, nor a high-output turbo engine option.

Ground clearance of 220 mm remains among the class leaders, while a newly available dual-mode X-Mode, with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings, enables even greater capability in challenging conditions. Active torque vectoring, inherited from the WRX/STI sport sedans, enhances handling on paved roads.

Or, while you're just bumbling around the ' burbs, you can interface the world with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto through a 6.5– or 8.0-inch touchscreen.

The Forester is expected in showrooms in the early fall. Pricing isn't set yet but expect the base model – with AWD standard – to match the FWD entry models of key rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.

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