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Did Subaru Hit A Home Run Or Strike Out With New Forester, 9-Month Scorecard

How is the new 2019 Subaru Forester doing after 9 months?

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The newly-redesigned fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester is 9 months old and the Japanese automaker needed to deliver a compact SUV that customers would like. Forester is the brand’s number one selling nameplate around the globe and number two in the U.S. behind Outback. How is the new 2019 Subaru Forester doing after 9 months?

The newly-redesigned Forester (71,466 YTD sales) is still number two in the stable behind the number one outgoing Outback (76,206 YTD) by a small 4,740 unit margin. But the new Forester has posted a 9.4 percentage increase YTD leading all nameplates. In Japan, where sales have been hurt by recent scandals, passenger vehicle sales increased year-on-year, led by the fully-redesigned Forester.

2019 Subaru ForesterForester 2.0XT

Dropping the Forester 2.0XT turbo model does not seem to have hurt sales of the new compact SUV. Subaru introduced the new 2019 Forester Sport to the lineup with the standard 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated Boxer and added sporty trim to the model.

The Subaru Global Platform (SGP) that the new Forester now rides on gave the SUV sportier driving dynamics and improved driveability. Subaru Corp says they axed the Forester 2.0XT because sportiness does not rely on power alone to achieve it. Tomohiro Ishitobi, Subaru Corporation’s senior general manager for sales and marketing division said at the Forester launch, “Our interpretation of sportiness does not rely on engine power.”

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Subaru is attracting new customers to the Forester at about a 60 percent clip, so they don’t know to miss the turbo engine. Subaru was not selling massive amounts of the 2.0XT models, so that was also a part of their decision to drop the sporty model.

2019 Subaru Forester

Subaru Australia boss Colin Christie said, “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.”

It doesn’t look like Subaru hit a grand slam with the new fifth-generation 2019 Forester, but they didn’t strike out either. They probably hit a double scoring a run. The compass SUV gets a good report card at the nine-month mark.

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Ed B (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 12:18PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Denis - as an enthusiast, yes I miss the Forester XT and glad I got mine when I did. I'm sure Subaru corporate had their reasons but they should have offered the new Turbo. I'm all about power and fun - the new Forester just doesn't have either. I suspect my wife will really enjoy the 2020 Legacy XT - 260 HP/227 torque without all the weight of an Ascent!

Joe Cadon (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 1:22PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Definitely miss it. If it wasn't a big seller I'd say that had as much to do with the fact the car had as much updated technology inside it as a Flintstones car! You'd think by 2018 you'd have a radio with Android Auto or Carplay??? Put the turbo in this new gen Forester (Sport Model) & you have a much better selling car.

Dean Antilla (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 6:01PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I have the '17 XT, and other than quirky steering, I love it. I do love the power of the XT, but my understanding is that we have suspension superiority as well as the extra power. I do like to toss my XT into a curve with competence. I don't relish going back to an ordinary automobile!

Barb (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 10:09PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

ABSOLUTELY I DO! Subaru is SELFISH!!! I have to turn in my XT TURBO and get another car in 2020. I MAY have to get the Outback instead. Shame on you Subaru! The 5% who wanted Turbo get screwed! Thanks Subaru! Maybe I will look around at other SUVS NOW!!!

David (not verified)    July 10, 2019 - 10:38PM

In reply to by Barb (not verified)

Been searching and researching the Subaru Forester and the Outback (do not need a 7 or 8 passenger Ascent). My XT goes back soon and I'm seriously considering the new 2020 Outback Onyx. You might want to test drive the new BOXER engine before you get to upset- it might surprise you- I am hopeful it surprises me. Consumer Reports gives the BOXER engine a good rating. However only you know exactly what you want and like- that's why there are menus. Good luck!

Courtney Ball (not verified)    July 1, 2019 - 8:40AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

I love my XT. . Have owned multiple Porsche’s, BMW’s and still have a Miata. For me, the XT is the perfect everyday vehicle. Affordable, practical, economical, dependable, with decent performance. Not sure what my next vehicle will be but it won’t be a non turbo Forester.

Ed B (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 7:37AM

Interesting, this will put more pressure on the re-designed Outback. However, once the initial excitement wears off (generally year two) - Subaru may have to re-think the turbo option for the Forester. I'm considering trading my XT Turbo (2107) in the fall for the new Legacy XT - the Mrs. prefers a sedan :-)

Digitaldoc (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 12:56PM

Dropping the XT cost Subaru at least one sale, and sent a sale over the Mazda. If this is the best performance they can muster, there is no reason for this crossover performance enthusiast to look at Subie.

Subaru continues to demonstrate that good marketing can overcome lackluster engineering.

Eric (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 1:26PM

As a current Forester owner, i would definitely need to wait a few years on a new model redesign. Seems like early adoptors of a new redesign are really just beta testers. My 2014 eats wheel bearings and oil. Tranny and engine longevity are in question. I am currently using my radio to drown out the hum of my third bad bearing until i get it in the shop. The Ascent seems to be eating trannys as well. Too bad, Subaru has promise, but too many hidden time bombs in each car.

Subie-in-Orlando (not verified)    June 28, 2019 - 8:34AM

In reply to by Eric (not verified)

We have had the same oil and bearing problems with our 2014 Forester. On top of the known issues with the bearings, dealers want to charge upwards of $460 to replace just one. We had both of our rears replaced at 48k miles at non Subaru dealer mechanic.

CK Yip (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 3:59PM

I own a 2014 Forester 2.0XT and love it. I definitely am not going for a new Forester without the Turbo option. I test drove a 2019 model and it lacks the quiet acceleration for changing lanes and going uphill that the Turbo excels in. I'll probably upgrade to something other than a Subaru since they don't value our business.

Jo (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 4:43PM

The reason consumers didn't buy more turbo charged engines is because dealers didn't push them. When I went Forester shopping in 2014 after several weeks of car research on the internet, I went to 5 Subaru dealerships in a tri-county area. No salesman mentioned the turbo charge option until I mentioned it. And then only found 1 Forester. It was an ugly dull gray color. When I asked if the dealership could locate a car for me, I was told it would cost me an extra $300-400 . After several weeks I finally found a white 2.0XT at another dealership. Believe me, with the traveling I had to do daily on the Florida Turnpike, the turbo made a difference .
Customers didn't consider the turbo option because dealerships did not promote it. I love my XT., and will not buy another Forester until I have the turbo option, or I will look for another vehicle.

Biggiepat (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 6:38PM

Let's just say I did't just buy a 2012 Forester XT for no reason. New Foresters are bland, big and uninspiring. No amount of red trim will fix that.

Gary (not verified)    June 27, 2019 - 7:51PM

I considered the 2018 Forester XT. I didn't buy one for 3 reasons. Uncomfortable seats, plasticky economy car interior and it required premium fuel. Now if Subaru were to put the new 250 hp turbo motor from the Ascent in the 2019 Forester, that would be a different animal now with comfortable seats, upscale interior and using regular 87 octane fuel. I would jump on that. I think Subaru has miscalculated thinking that no one will buy a 2019 Forester XT. There are probably a lot of people in the same boat as me that would buy an XT on the new platform that wouldn't buy the old model. As it is, if Subaru doesn't add the turbo option, I will be looking at a Mazda CX-5 or move up in size class to something like a 6 cylinder Telluride or Sorento. Those at last can go 0-60 in around 7 sec. I would still prefer a smaller speedy compact SUV like a Forester XT though if they decide to make it. The Mazda might not have enough cargo room for my needs.

Peter (not verified)    June 28, 2019 - 12:57AM

Sorry, I have been driving Subarus since 2002, but I have been driving manual since 1979. I understand automatics have gotten better and I am a member of a very small minority; nevertheless, unless it's an EV or a hybrid, I want to drive a stick.

Denverite (not verified)    June 28, 2019 - 1:42PM

I drive a 2011 Forester XT. I wanted the power as a safety feature when accelerating onto or driving on Denver's crowded expressways. I also wanted it to ensure adequate power on the grades I encounter in the mountains.

LJ (not verified)    June 28, 2019 - 2:01PM

I wasn’t impressed with the Forrester. I bought a new car back in April and went with a 2019 Mazda CX-5. It had all the features I wanted included that the Forrester either didn’t have or was extra.

CO_yeti (not verified)    June 28, 2019 - 4:15PM

Test drove a 2018 XT and bought a 2019. The 2019 was significantly better in every way except dyno numbers. In the real world my 2019 is more than enough for my driving style. The improved handing allows carrying more speed through the corners in twisty mountain canyon roads. I'm happy but to each their own.

If I was a betting (and I am), I'd put money on a 2021 2.0T Forester. I think the 2.4T stays for the Outback.