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7 Things You Should Know About the All-New Subaru Forester 1.8L Turbo Model

Subaru now offers the 2021 Forester with a new turbocharged engine. Here are seven things you should know about the Forester 1.8-liter turbocharged model.

The all-new Ascent family hauler was the first model to get a new direct-injection turbocharged engine, followed by the redesigned 2020 Outback wagon, and now the Forester SUV. Subaru announced in October; the new Japan-spec Forester Sport comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine.

Should you buy a 2021 Forester or wait for the new turbocharged model? Here are seven things you should know about the new Forester 1.8-liter turbocharged model.

2022 Subaru Forester

Smaller is the name of the game for Subaru

Subaru announced they would offer smaller, fuel-efficient turbocharged engines in its Vision 2020 plan. The Japanese automaker plans to use these engines in their all-wheel-drive models for as long as possible.

Tomomi Nakamura, Subaru Corporation's CEO, told Automotive News the Japanese automaker would stay with gasoline powertrains "until they fade from the market completely." The CEO stated that Subaru's unique Boxer engine offers fuel-saving capabilities, like direct-injection and lean burning technology, and more models will have them soon.

2022 Subaru Forester

Subaru sticks to their plan

Subaru will continue to fine-tune the Boxer engine's turbocharged capabilities, and the new Forester Sport 1.8-liter engine is the next step in its global strategy. It has improved torque for performance and direct-injection and lean combustion technology for fuel-efficiency.

Less power more torque

The Levorg-sourced 1.8-liter turbocharged direct-injection (DIT) four-cylinder, lean combustion Boxer engine produces 175 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. It has less horsepower than the 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine, but Subaru gave the engine more torque.

The 1.8-liter turbocharged engine will give the new Forester compact SUV a significant increase in torque. The current naturally-aspirated Forester 2.5-liter engine has 182 horsepower and only 176 lb-ft of torque. The 45 additional ft of torque will improve Forester's performance in two ways.

Torque is what provides the car with the ability to launch from a standing start. The more torque an engine has, the quicker the acceleration from a complete stop. The extra torque will also allow Subaru to increase Forester's towing capacity from its current 1500 lb. tow rating.

It's also about fuel efficiency

2022 Subaru Forester

Subaru reports the new 2021 Forester Sport 1.8-liter turbocharged engine gets 24/36 city/highway mpg and 34 combined mpg (10.3km / liter) (15.2km / liter) (14.3km / liter). Fuel-efficiency will improve compared with the 2.5-liter engine's 26/33/29 city/highway/combined mpg.

Subaru loves the CVT

All Forester Sport 1.8-liter turbocharged models come mated with a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic. The Lineartronic CVT will come with a seven-speed manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters, and it also helps improve fuel-efficiency.

Dual function X-Mode

The new Sport trim with the new turbocharged engine will come with dual-function X-Mode. The feature will offer customers with active lifestyles additional all-weather and off-pavement capabilities.

Subaru added a specially developed damper and coil spring to the suspension "to achieve a sporty" more dynamic ride and improved driving dynamics "while still being an SUV." Subaru also gives the Forester turbocharged model suspension upgrades over the standard model.

Don't look for exciting new colors

The new Forester comes with a black-painted front grille and dark metallic-painted aluminum 18-inch wheels. It also features unique exterior trim, dual exhaust, and a roof spoiler. The new Forester Sport turbocharged model comes in nine colors, but none are going to be exciting. The Forester Turbo gets no exterior badging to set it apart like the new Crosstrek Sport.

What is the price of the Forester Sport?

Subaru priced the Forester Sport with the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine at 3,289,000 yen ($31,495 USD.) The 2021 Forester Sport in the U.S. costs $30,445, including destination and delivery fees. Subaru of America would likely price the turbocharged model similarly.

Will customers in the U.S. get the new Forester 1.8-liter turbo?

Subaru has not confirmed the Forester turbocharged model will come to North America. If Subaru does bring it to the U.S., look for Subaru of America to get the Forester with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine in year four of the fifth-generation Forester's life cycle.

The 2022 Subaru Forester receives a refresh, and this is when Subaru will likely offer it to U.S. customers. The additional engine torque, fuel-efficiency, and improved driving dynamics will be worth the wait. Stay tuned.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru


Michal (not verified)    November 10, 2020 - 6:25PM

Those turbo charged engines don't ever seem to hit their tested mpg numbers. I wouldn't be surprised if real world this engine gets worse mileage.

Daniel (not verified)    November 11, 2020 - 12:30PM

I think GDIs are a maintenance disaster in the years to come. In addition to the fact that they are yet another item needing replacing, the engines will wear and tear faster than their natural aspirated counterparts due to higher pressures.

Jesse (not verified)    November 11, 2020 - 8:00PM

So glad I have my 2018 XT. what a disappointment this line has become. Guess it's gonna be a rex or an outback XT when I'm ready to upgrade