Subaru calls its DriverFocus a “state of the art, segment-first” safety system that uses facial recognition technology in the 2019 Subaru Forester to watch for signs of driver fatigue or distraction and works with the company’s EyeSight active safety suite to reduce the chance of a crash.

DriveFocus can recognize up to five different drivers and will also save pre-sets for seat and side mirror positioning and climate control settings.

Meanwhile, evolutionary styling disguises the new Forester’s longer wheelbase, which stretches nearly 30 mm to 2,667 mm, allowing Subaru to create this model’s largest interior ever. The manufacturer says the use of its new Subaru Global Platform also permitted a wider cargo opening of 1,300 mm.

There’s also a new engine under the hood. As before, it’s a 2.5-litre “boxer” four-cylinder but gains 12 hp and 2 lb-ft of torque for totals of 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the only transmission, surely disappointing to the handful of people that might still be buying manual transmission crossovers these days, that is, if there are any left at all. Another notable powertrain absence is the turbo-powered XT model, so Subaru is aiming for a simpler lineup over enthusiast options.

Other drivetrain news includes the availability of a dual-mode version of Subaru’s X-Mode terrain selector that adds snow/dirt and deep snow/mud modes. A single-setting X-Mode system is once again standard to optimize traction on slippery surfaces and steep hills.

Other tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms, accessed through a touchscreen measuring 6.5 or 8.0 inches, depending on trim.

The 2019 Subaru Forester goes on sale across Canada later this year, with pricing and trim information to be announced closer to that time.