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 It’s been replaced by the 2019 Forester Sport trim.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.
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Watch 2019 Subaru Forester Sport New Model Review video
Photo credit: Subaru