2019 Subaru Forester, All-new Forester, Forester Sport, Forester 2.0XT, comparison
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All-New 2019 Subaru Forester Sport vs. Forester 2.0XT Comparison

See how the new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport stacks up against the outgoing 2.0XT.

Sorry XT fans, the turbocharged 2.0XT Subaru Forester is gone forever and it’s not coming back. It’s been replaced by the 2019 Forester Sport trim. Here’s a detailed comparison on what Forester XT fans will be getting to replace it.

The 2.0XT Forester and its 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is gone and is replaced by the 2019 Subaru Sport with the standard 2.5-liter boxer engine. Also gone is the Forester XT’s fully synchronized 6-speed manual gearbox.

The new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport is powered by the standard 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine. All fifth-generation Foresters get the newly-upgraded 2.5-liter boxer engine. The new power plant comes with direct injection, higher compression, along with active valve control system (AVCS) on the exhaust side. The new engine produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, versus 170 hp and 174 lb-ft in the previous-generation Forester. It’s quite a downgrade compared with the XT’s 250hp turbo engine.

Subaru also discontinues the 6-speed manual gearbox in all Forester trims including the new Sport trim. The 2.5-liter boxer will come mated to a Lineartronic CVT featuring a seven-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle-shift shifters. The Forester Sport model does come with a version of the Subaru WRX STI Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) with Intelligent and Sport Sharp modes as upgrades.

3 reasons Subaru axed the Forester

There are three reasons Subaru Corporation discontinued the Forester 2.0XT. The brand is focusing on global fuel-economy standards, (fuel economy in the 2.0XT w/ CVT was 27/23 city/highway mpg compared with the Sport’s 33 mpg highway), slow XT sales and engineering costs.

Subaru Australia boss Colin Christie says, “Having only one engine and one drivetrain allows us to be very clear and very focused on what we are doing. The XT turbos are nice to have, but the reality is we were down to selling 70 or 80 a month so it has not been a massive seller for us. The manual transmission was only two percent of our Forester sales anyway, so it’s a lot of cost and engineering to cater for not a lot of people.”

Subaru Corp is streamlining the 2019 Forester lineup with one engine and one transmission. This will affect all global models as the 2.0XT, 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine and 6-speed manual gearbox are also being axed in European and Australian markets.

Forester Sport specs

So the all-new Forester Sport is basically an appearance package and gets “specially enhanced” standard equipment. Here’s a list of standard features. The new Sport comes with the 182-hp Subaru Boxer engine, Dual-function X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, SI-DRIVE with Sport Sharp mode, and of course, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Outside appearance upgrades include 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with black finish, roof rails with integrated tie-downs, front, rear and side under guards with orange accents, and gloss black and orange exterior accents.

Inside it comes standard with dark gray sport fabric with a leather shifter, Orange stitching and trim accents, Sport gauges with color LCD display, Keyless Access with Push-Button Start, STARLINK Multimedia, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto app integration. It also gets 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, panoramic moonroof and EyeSight driver assist technology.

Optional equipment like a power rear gate with height memory functions, Harman Kardon 576-watt-equivalent premium audio system, Blind-Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, 8.0-inch touchscreen, and SiriusXM Travel Link can be added.

We can understand if Forester XT fans are disappointed with the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport trim. It’s an appearance package with the enhanced performance of the 2.0-liter turbo engine removed.

Reader Poll: Tell us what you think about the 2.0XT being axed and replaced with the Forester Sport. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

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Pretty disappointing. I live in the mountains and the 2.5i is really irritating on the way up, reaching 4500 or even 5000 rpms. So Subaru has axed the best engine in the lineup, leaving only the hamster (2.5i) and the dinosaur (3.6R in the Outback). Now sport means orange paint. Cool. Notice that everything in this explanation is why it is better for Subaru, no mention of the customer.
They're getting rid of the 3.6R in the Legacy and the Outback as well.
I'm not happy with the 3.6 being discontinued. I have a 2013 outback 3.6r and I'm going to hang on to it forever if I have to. Rebuild the engine, transmission--whatever it takes. I don't want a plain 4 banger with no guts.
Very disappointing. I understand their business decision however. I'm sure they'll understand XT owners leaving the brand as well. It's not much of a loss to them.
Leaving the brand. That’s one thing for shure.
I love the 2019 Forrester sport. Much nicer than my Crosstrek.
The excuse that not enough people purchased the XT Turbo and manual is just tyhat... an excuse. Where is the engineering excellence? Where is the vision? The excuse about 2 engines doesn't hold water, unless they get rid of the WRX 2.0? WIll they be dropping one of the WRX powerplants? Will they be dropping the WRX manual? What killed the XT Turbo was the wrong people in the decision making positions. No other excuses and especially not that the customers are at fault for not buying enough. The year by year tweeks are also the problem. Those shouldn't be done when more important things could be. The tweeks are a waste of engineering. They should have fixed the NHTSA 4-STAR crash deficiency in 2015 and used the 2016 model year to raise the 2.5i and 2.0 Turbo's mpg up. 2017 should have moved the 2.5 STI Turbo to the XT that would leave them with one engine size and the WRX engining would go into the XT. THey should have used the 2018 models to bring all the trims up to 5 STARS on the NHTSA ratings and Good/TSP on the IIHS ratings. They should be moving to electric motors starting with the rearwheel drive... Tesla is the example. The WRX and XT should have been their first effort. They should have placed a solar panel on the roof in 2015 and increased its size and use with each succeeding year. The bean-counters have neutered the company and have managed to disenfranchised 10-12% of the Forester sales in dropping the manual and Turbo. No excuses for this but poor performance on Subaru's part... afterall they still have the manual and the turbo in the WRX line.
That was an interesting explanation of how Subaru could have done it, too bad they didn't do it. Good write-up, thanks.
Notice that the customer didn't care about these options either, that's why they got rid of them?
Agreed. I'm trying to get a used 2018 2.0XT while I still can. (Now: Nov 2019)
It seems very odd just when other manufactures such as Alfa, Jaguar and Volvo have started producing 2ltr turbos Subaru ditch their brilliant XT. When I heard Subaru had dumped the XT I sold mine and bought a Volvo XC 40, 2ltr Turbo after 15 years a Subaru owner.
Afraid I don't follow... the XT Turbo has been discontinued but you already had one? But then sold it for a Volvo because Subaru was no longer going to be making the model that you already owned?
LMAO, exactly the same thing I thought. You sold your XT for a Vulva ? What a dope.
I don't understand why you would sell yours, for me it's time to buy a used Forester XT!! Forget the new model, I can't stand any of the base 2.5i motors, far too underpowered for all the mountain passes I drive every single day. I'm an enthusiast and I personally would not buy any Subaru without the WRX motor in it, so this means I will never buy another Subaru. But I will be buying a used CPO XT Touring trim with eyesight the second my current car sells. I do love the new Volvo's as well, but I'm not willing to spend the $ they are asking for them. If I did it would be on the new V60 wagon.
Folks, I share your pain. I guess I'll be keeping my 2017 XT for quite some time. There are so many choices out there with the 4 cyl turbo - even Acura woke up and reintroduced it in the coming RDX. Oh well, Subaru is happy with the traditional mom and pop buyers. However, the youth and enthusiasts will have to look for alternatives. Bottom line, the bean counters won...
Bad news. To look for another brand. The CRV has 1.5 T engine and better performance
Singing the praises of the Honda turbo engine? I guess you aren't familiar with the "oil dilution" issues that are destroying the engines...
So I spent the last week or so getting some competition among the many Subaru dealers in Colorado for an 2018 XT Touring. It worked out pretty well and I drove the new vehicle back to Utah. I am sure there will be some improvements with the new Forester model but don’t think they will outweigh the advantages of the turbo. It just flies up those mountain roads!
Yes, the interior improvements are good but you can't replace the power of the turbo. We'll see how this sells in late 2018. Lackluster sales will be the only factor to move Subaru to rethink a turbo option in the Forester again...
I did the same,got 2018 touring XT last week
If you don't mind... What was MSRP and your out-the-door cost? What trim? I'm shopping for one now. (It's Nov 2019)
In July I was lucky to get one of the the last 2018 XT Trourings in the Atlanta area. Very impressed with first Subaru. XT engine, etc. make it special, brawny, no “sport” bling needed. Sport trim without an engine upgrade is boring.
Drove an array of compact SUV autos....they were all underpowered except the 2018 Forester XT Turbo with 1300 miles on it....Love this car...just got lucky...
Might I ask... What trim/specs did you get? What was MSRP, and what was your out-the-door cost?
I owned a 2012 Forester 2.5i and a 2012 WRX. Got rid of them both and consolidated it into a 2018 Forester XT, as i'm getting older, before the announcement of the 2019. I'm disappointed as I love the AWD, but I hate hate hate the power of the 2.5i. I'm no street racer and it's not like the WRX nor my current 250HP machine is a monster, but I would say they're worthy of the word "sport" which keeps a smile on my face. This "extra" power also me through my daily boring life with a bit of control of the road and to avoid dangers. I'm glad the SH-AWD and Turbo is back on the RDX, maybe that'll be my next move in a few years. Plus Subaru can never get their interiors and audio correct. Such a shame.
Subie shouldn't have axed the 2.0XT.The safety features and infotainment on the 2.5iSport are excellent but as always,Subies are useless cars without the turbos.
I understand why Subaru ditched the XT. However, they have ignored the surprise factor which promotes sales. Every car driver that assumes that the Forester is a snail to be easily passed get a surprise when a Forester is much quicker than his car is. The presence of about 5% XTs on the roads sends many potential buyers to Subaru. Well I'll have to decide to keep my wonderful 2015 XT and wait for a new turbo alternative, or switch brand, which is very difficult for me.
When I heard that Subaru was removing the Forester XT turbo in 2019, I went out and bought a new 2018 Forester XT touring replacing my 2015 XT touring. At least I will be able to enjoy the turbo power for a few more years. Like others, when I decide to trade the 2018 I probably will go to another brand. Very disappointed in Subaru. Ernie
Genuinely no matter if someone doesn't be aware of after that its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it takes place.9844
i am just turning in my leased 2015 XT for a 2018 XT. I have to say that I liked this 2.0 more than any other Subaru I have driven. Like many folks above, I am not looking for someone to race with and I'm not an off-roader (I live in Westchester, NY) That being said, I did like the acceleration when I needed it and the extra power to get me out of the snow drifts that plagued our area this past winter. I have been a Subaru driver for the past 30 years and would never switch out to an inferior brand just to prove my point. I know that despite the power loss with the 2.5 your still going to have a superior experience in difficult situations with a Subaru than another brand at a similar price point. They have 4 wheel drive down. That being said, I may just wind up buying this car instead of doing another lease. It has what I sant and the Touring trim gives me the 440 watt 8 speaker HK sound system I crave as well as a host of safety features that will prove to be handy. For 35K it can't be beat. My neighbor has a Lamborghini-he has to garage it all winter.