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All Subaru Models Are Getting New Turbo Engines But The Hot Forester Is Left Out

The 2020 Subaru Forester only comes with one engine. When all other models are getting turbocharged engine upgrades, why not Forester?


Subaru is upgrading every model in the lineup with new smaller direct-injection turbocharged engines that bring more power and improved fuel efficiency. But not the Forester compact SUV. It’s only offered with a 2.5-liter normally-aspirated Boxer engine. All other Subaru models have been upgraded with a new turbocharged engine, or will be soon. Why is the hottest model in the stable left out?

The newly-remodeled Outback and Legacy get the new Ascent-sourced 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, and Crosstrek and Impreza are reported to get a new 1.5-liter DIT turbocharged powerplant soon. The next-generation WRX, STI and BRZ are likely getting the new FA24 2.4-liter direct-injection Boxer engine.

2020 Subaru Forester

Subaru dropped the Forester 2.0XT turbocharged model in 2019 with the new model change and we understand why. Only 5 percent of Forester buyers were opting for the sporty model, so it was not a profitable vehicle to keep building.

Subaru has been slow to make changes to the fifth-generation Forester compact SUV because it’s selling better than all other models. The Forester is the hottest model in the stable, outselling all other all-wheel-drive SUVs so the automaker doesn’t need to make changes.

2020 Subaru Forester

In a recent interview with Motor Trend, Subaru of America President and CEO Tom Doll told them Subaru won’t be bringing a Forester with a turbocharged engine anytime soon. Doll says it's because demand for the newly-redesigned Forester SUV is too high right out of the gate. “The new Forester is a sensational car, and it's a home run, particularly the Sport model that you see over here, “ says Doll.

So far this year, the 2020 Subaru Forester has been nothing but sensational for the Camden, N.J. automaker. Subaru of America delivered a record 19,490 Forester SUVs last month, its best June ever. Subaru’s next best selling model, the Outback has taken a step back.

Subaru has sold 85,860 Forester SUVs through June 2020 compared with Outback wagon's 62,305. Subaru Corporation has no incentive to upgrade the Forester compact SUV with a turbocharged engine when it’s the hottest model in its all-wheel-drive stable.

Subaru will leave the 2020 Forester alone for now because it’s been a hit with customers. The compact SUV will likely get a new direct-injection turbocharged Boxer engine when it receives a refresh in 2022. Stay tuned.

You Might Also Like: Are The Subaru Outback And Ascent's New 2.4L Turbo Engine Reliable? Why It's The Best Yet

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 and the founder of 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


Leo (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 8:19AM

1. Foresters are selling like cupcakes, so it wont matter.
2. Majority of it find the power is ample enough, and personally I dont have any complaints in passing/merging/take off in most situations.
3. Turbo means another part to maintain.

Topher (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 9:58AM

I own a '18 Forester XT, and get ask by the dealer all the time about buying my car when it's in for service, but until they make another Turbo Forester I'm keeping my unicorn. I've had the newer 2.5 as a loaner in the past, I couldn't daily drive that car, the power isn't close to the same as what comes in the XT.
You're missing out on returning XT owners Subaru, because we're wise to what we want.

Daniel Bittinat (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 10:14AM

A turbo charger should be an optional upgrade on all of the vehicles and not standard. Natural Aspirated engines are generally more reliable than their turbocharged equivalent. Let us choose.

Bob White (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 10:44AM

I respectably disagree. We live at 6000 ft above sea level and spend as much time as possible at 9000 ft. We have done this since 1979.

With the dramatic increases in population and the reluctance of the legislature to spend money on fixing the highway problems, I 70, I 25 and 285 are getting more and more dangerous. Every week I see newer Foresters trying to pass, and barely making it. Realistically, we aren't going to change driving habits, so a little more power would be a good thing.

Pamela Henry (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 10:55AM

I bought a 2010 forister turbocharged a year and ahalf ago not knowing about the engine design problem. The headgasgit seals are leaking oil it wants to run hot to hot.have heard subaru won't do anything about it. Now they have a new turbocharged engine. It would be great if they would've be willing to replace my engine with one of the new ones

Bill (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 12:45PM

The 2020 Forester does not need a Turbo. It actually feels quicker than the Toyota Rav4 which has more HP on paper. Sport mode is there when a little extra kick is desired. I was expecting to find it underpowered but was surprised, it is not.
Turbos, with their turbo lag, may be fun at times but offer little in everyday driving and always are less fuel efficient. And yes turbos another long turn reliability concern.

Jaron (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 12:54PM

Refresh in 2022? Wasn't the Gen 5 announced in 2018, MY 2019, and has a 5 year cycle so next announcement will be 2023 for MY 2024?

Larry Lopalopolous (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 1:04PM

Same reason Honda isn't offering manual transmissions in the Accord anymore.
People weren't buying them, in sufficient numbers.

I think the Forester in a manual would be great to bring back, but again - not enough sales.

Ken rosen (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 1:19PM

they already confirmed the BRZ will not get a turbo due to the extra weight knocking the 51/49 balance off. They did say if they were to add a turbo to the BRZ they would have to rework the platform from the ground up to rebalance the added weight.

-the guy who's been wanting more power more power for a while

Philip Zwick (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 1:27PM

My 2020 Forester has ample power 4 my driving on the New York Thruway and on the hilly Catskill Mountain roads where I live. I have had no problem passing anybody for a 55 mile an hour road when necessary. The engine is very responsive along with the transmission. Okay, I can't go 0 to 60 in 6seconds but with this car who needs to? So unless you live in high altitude Colorado, the Forester with the regular engine is perfect for the car.

Jason (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 2:08PM

Why do you make stuff up? There are zero reports of Subaru bringing the 1.5T to the US. The crosstrek just got the regular 2.5 option. That is all that has changed.

Michael Ace (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 2:12PM

I have a 2018 Turbo Forester. I Uber and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Customers notice the pickup even when not in S#. They really notice it when in S#. Contrary to popular belief, Uber riders like a non boring ride. The Forester is the perfect size for Ubering. 5 passenger and room for luggage. The Turbo has a beefed up suspension for taking roundabouts like a breeze, and believe me, I go through many roundabouts.

Aaron (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 3:55PM

Having driven a turbo 1997 SF5 and a 2007 SG5, I will always side with turbo. I love the speed and thrill it gives.

Jim Murtaugh (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 4:00PM

I am interested in the new Subaru Outbacks but have read they are having issues with their batteries going dead. There is even a class action suit Re the battery issue. My good friend has a 2019 and has had to replace his battery twice and is completely fed up with Subaru. He said he is reluctant to ever purchase another one. The question is: Are they really having battery problems? I would never buy one if so. We have a 2011 Outback and we bought it at Center Subaru in CT.

Georgios Dimit… (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 5:28PM

Does anyone have Infos about this happening in the European market? Unfortunately am living in Austria and I wanna buy a new turbo family subaru(outback or forester) but is not available for Europe. I need to know if this will happen here also.

brian dale (not verified)    July 28, 2020 - 10:29PM

I got a 17 XT since they stopped the making 5 door WRX, I hated the non turbo test drive Forrester. Subaru is really dropping the ball here, perhaps only 5% went for the XT as paying so much extra for a vehicle with an absolutely pathetic tow rating is unreasonable. I'd like to see a Forester with a factory tow package ready to tow at least a couple of thousand pounds and has lots of get up and go.

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