When it comes to special editions, we usually expect at least one stand-out feature making the car more desirable than the standard trims. In the new Subaru Forester 2.5X AWD that is available in Australia, this feature is the replacement of the original infotainment with an aftermarket unit from Alpine, showing us that Subaru maybe is not that proud of its own tech.
The Alpine Audio Unit has a 7-inch touchscreen which is slightly smaller than Subaru’s own 8-inch infotainment it replaces. However, it adds wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity which is an important update compared to the wired-only stock system.
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Surprisingly, the Alpine system comes short of some features found in the original infotainment. Some of them like the CD Player are quite outdated and probably won’t be missed, but the over-the-air update capability and the voice command recognition are important misses, although the latter can be replaced to some extent through your smartphone’s Google Android / Apple iOS. The same applies to the “Integrated Bluetooth Phone Display” function which is not needed when you already have Apple CarPlay / Android Auto. Finally, the Alpine unit has one USB port instead of the two USB ports in Subaru’s system, but it retains the AUX port and the six speakers.
The new infotainment is actually the only difference between the Subaru Forester 2.5X AWD special edition and the regular Forester 2.5i AWD. Both come fitted with the non-hybrid 2.5-liter engine four-cylinder engine that produces 182 hp (136 kW / 185 PS) and 239 Nm (176 lb-ft) of torque, sending power to all four wheels through a CVT.
Both the Forester 2.5X AWD special edition and the Forester 2.5i AWD are priced at $37,890 AUD ($24,268 USD) excluding on-road costs, positioned as the entry points in the SUV’s lineup Down Under. Which one would you go for?