Subaru used the Chicago motor show to debut its redesigned 2003 Forester model.

Changes include a stronger body structure, new suspension tuning, larger front brake rotors and standard 16-inch wheels.

US buyers will be offered the 2.5 X and the uplevel 2.5 XS plus an optional premium pack that adds a power moonroof and monotone body colour to the XS. Leather upholstery is also an option for some versions.

All US 2003 Forester models have a 165-horsepower 2.5-liter “boxer” four-cylinder engine and full-time all-wheel drive but standard and two-litre turbocharhed versions can be expected in other markets.

New safety equipment includes dual-stage passenger front airbag, standard front seat head / chest side impact airbags, active front head restraints and front seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters. Four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brakes are also standard and electronic brake distribution is included on the 2.5 XS.

Revised styling includes a larger, more pronounced grille, contoured multi-reflector halogen headlights, contoured bumper cover with integral multi-reflector foglights, flared front fenders, “blister” type rear quarter panels and a hexagonal tailgate framed by large, triangular tail lights.