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Subaru Announces New Forester XT - The Turbo Model You Want But Can’t Have

Subaru Corporation has announced a new turbocharged 2023 Subaru Forester XT. It's a Forester XT turbo model U.S. customers want but it won't be coming to North America.

Subaru customers in Japan get an early Christmas present, but not in North America. Subaru Corporation announced the 2023 Forester in Japan would get a new XT Edition with a turbocharged engine. The new Forester XT comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged Boxer engine, but it's not coming to North America. It's another Japan-specification model that will not be offered to U.S. customers.

The 2023 Forester XT-Edition is sold in Japan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the birth of Subaru's all-wheel-drive vehicles. The Forester XT features a 1.8-liter turbocharged direct-injection (DIT) four-cylinder, lean combustion Boxer engine. It produces 175 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque.

2023 Subaru Forester XT

The new Forester XT offers several upgrades over the standard model.

18-inch aluminum wheels (dark metallic paint)
Front grille wing: unpainted black (geometric texture) + frame: black paint
Front 6-star emblem (dark plating)
Front fog lamp cover with black paint decoration
Unpainted black door mirrors (geometric texture)
Rear bumper guard with black paint decoration
Rear garnish, Roof spoiler, and Roof rail (black paint)
EyeSight Safety Plus (visual field expansion) front view monitor/smart rearview mirror
Blaze gun metallic paint instrument panel decorative panel
Aluminum-like and leather-wrapped center tray decoration (silver stitch)
Ventilation grill decoration (blaze gun metallic paint) (front and rear seats)
Plated inner door handle (blaze gun metallic ring)
Water-repellent fabric/synthetic leather seat (black with silver stitch)
Water-repellent cargo floorboard (with luggage smoother function)
LED cargo room lamp/LED rear gate lamp

2023 Subaru Forester XT

Why did Subaru drop the U.S.-spec Forester XT?

Subaru enthusiasts in the U.S. have asked for a Forester turbocharged model since the Japanese automaker dropped the Forester 2.0XT in 2019. Subaru says it was because of slow sales, but it was also because Subaru wanted to improve fuel mileage across the lineup.

Will Subaru offer a Forester with a turbocharged engine in the U.S.?

This is a question Forester fans have asked for nearly five years. Subaru Australia will likely get the new Forester XT with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine sometime next year.

Would customers in the U.S. buy the Forester XT with the smaller FA18 turbo? It's possible because the 2023 Subaru Forester 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The 1.8-liter turbocharged Boxer produces less horsepower but considerably more torque (176 lb-ft vs. 221 lb-ft of torque).

Another option for North America would be for Subaru of America to ask Subaru Corporation for the Forester XT with the FA24 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine upgrade. It would be a logical option for the next-generation 2024 Forester Wilderness trim level.

In an interview at the Chicago Auto Show in 2018, Subaru of America President and CEO Tom Doll said the Japanese automaker would not offer a Forester turbo anytime soon in the U.S. market. Doll said it was because the demand for the newly-redesigned Forester SUV was too high right out of the gate for them to offer a turbo version.

Now is the time because sales of the Forester have dropped in the U.S., and the compact SUV is now third in sales behind the Crosstrek subcompact SUV and the Outback midsize SUV.

The next-generation 2024 Subaru Forester Sport and the 2024 Forester Wilderness would be two trim levels that would be a perfect fit for the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. For now, Japan, Australia, and likely Europe will be the only markets to get the newly-announced Forester XT-Edition.

Would you buy a 2024 Subaru Forester if a turbocharged engine were available? Would you want the 1.8-liter or 2.4-liter turbo option? Let Subaru of America know in the comment section below.

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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 Corporation


Jim (not verified)    July 20, 2023 - 5:53PM

In reply to by Wynn (not verified)

Nah. I have the 2015 XT. Look at the specs. My 2015 is generating more horsepower and more torque than that 1.8 XT. Now, it IS an 8 yr old car and probably isn't generating those numbers, but I bet it's close, and definitely more than than the 1.8 XT. She's got a lot of get up and go and I haven't even added anything.

Malcolm Gonzales (not verified)    December 23, 2022 - 12:33PM

I have a 2014 Subaru Forester XT and I love the power. I’ve driven the current Forester and don’t like the lack of power. I’m hanging on to my SUV (237,000 miles & counting) and would definitely wait for a turbo Forester, but I’d want the 2.4 L.

Paul (not verified)    December 23, 2022 - 1:22PM

2.4 turbo blackout Forester rocks.
Might switch brands if not offered our 2015 XT is great but time for new ride.

Chad Laporte (not verified)    December 23, 2022 - 2:47PM

I’d go 200% with the 2.4L XT. That’s the most logical and easiest option. Outback still has a XT model. I don’t understand why it would be impossible to put the same engine in the Forester ?

Kendrik Ebach (not verified)    December 23, 2022 - 6:50PM

I would definitely buy a forester XT with the 2.4 liter option. Currently own a 2018 forester XT 50th anniversary edition.

Luke Mcbride (not verified)    December 24, 2022 - 1:40PM

please give the us market a proper forester xt with the 2.4. I'm not even gonna as for the manual cause I know it's never gonna happen.

Larry Carolan (not verified)    December 25, 2022 - 6:49AM

formerly owned Forester Touring XXT. now have regular gas Forester Touring. Would purchase an XT 2.4 Turbo -- if premium (93 octane) fuel was not required.

Augustine p va… (not verified)    December 25, 2022 - 10:35AM

It would be nice to have a 260hp turbo forester, I would buy one. A hybrid with a mileage rating of about 38 mph overall would be even better. I have purchased 6 outbacks and 3 foresters since 2015, currently 2023 outback
Please do not put the infotainment screen from the outback into the 2024 forester, it is too distracting when driving, continue to use as many manual buttons and switches as possible. Please keep the cd player in the 2024 forester. I always buy touring models, the forester touring should have all the features of the outback touring, it is the top of the line for that model.
The 2022 forester that I traded on the 2023 outback was too loud, had too much wind noise, and the start stop feature was horrible- it rattled your teeth every time it stopped and started, put a permanent kill switch for this terrible feature so that we can just flip a switch and it will be off, those who want it can switch it back on, it saves literally nothing. It simply angers owners.
The transmission in the 2022 forester was also horrible and the reason I purchased the 2023 outback. The shifts at speeds from about 0-40 would jerk your head off, when increasing speed and also when slowing down, the shifting would simply jerk you around, very unsatisfactory. Please improve the transmission to make it smoother. Please put a front camera, a rear view digital monitor, if possible a surround view camera system on the forester touring. Please put the kill switch for the start stop system on the home screen, do not increase the size of the home screen. Keep all the manual buttons you have in 2022, most owners of foresters are over 50 and want simple controls and not the distracting touch screens as found in the 2023 outback, this screen is actually dangerous as it makes you take your eyes off the road to adjust.
The voice activated features are horrible on all subaru's. It never gets it right always goes to something different or just doesn't recognize anything, my 2019 ford escape was great, it always worked, maybe you can see what they did right.
Please do not make the 2024 forester lower. The high seating position compared to the outback is one reason we buy foresters. Please work on quietness and reducing road and wind noise. The lane centering always keeps me too close to the center line and frequently goes into the oncoming lane on sharper turns, very dangerous.
I would like to see straighter lines on the sides and front fenders in 2024 as in the 2018 foresters, makes it easier to judge distances and park.
I would like to see front and rear parking sensors on the touring trim.
Making the 2024 slightly larger would also be an improvement, about 186Lx72W same height or 1 or2 in higher to improve visability, keep the window at least the same size. A hands free tailgate foot activated would be nice, the hands free tailgate on my outback never works unless I take the key out of my pocket and hold it up to the rear emblem, sort of defeats the entire purpose. Keep the rear tailgate as wide as it is currently at least.

Dave (not verified)    December 26, 2022 - 5:21AM

Why don't they just offer a small truck and bring back the Baja? Mine's approaching 300,000 miles It's going to not make it someday.

Joseph Duran (not verified)    December 27, 2022 - 1:16AM

2.4 XT Turbo in wilderness model. Love my 2024 Forester XT. 136,000 miles and ready to purchase via customer loyalty offer.

Lynnell (not verified)    July 16, 2023 - 6:51PM

In reply to by goingaround (not verified)

I just bought a 2018 2.0XT Forester (I had owned a 2016 2.0 xt Forester) but I noticed it has a ts sticker on the back instead of the 2.0XT and nobody at the subaru dealership was familar with it. When I got home and opened the hood it had Sti all over things. I'm having a terrible time finding information on this. Anyone familiar with this?

Darrin (not verified)    December 27, 2022 - 10:41AM

One of the main reasons that the XT didn't sell as well as it could have is because there wasn't an inexpensive version. That didn't bother my late wife & I when we bought our 2015 XT Touring, we sought out one that had every available option. That's what she wanted, that's what we got. But for the budget-oriented or performance-minded, a more affordable stripped-down XT hotrod version would've been cool. With a manual transmission, it'd be even more fun.

Joe (not verified)    January 12, 2023 - 6:56PM

I have a 2011 XT. I absolutely love it, but unfortunately between the catalytic converter and exhaust replacement and rear suspension work needed, it's time to put that quoted $12k in parts and labor into a new Forester. What the heck, Subaru! Your NA headquarters are 8 miles from my house. Maybe I need to go visit and talk to someone there. Have it as an option. Bring back the XT to NA. Better yet, take the base vehicle and adapt it for electric, not some new cross that has no appeal.

Steve Crocker (not verified)    January 23, 2023 - 3:52AM

the unfortunate truth is that the turbo Forester would be around today if people had bought it in numbers.
It means little to ask a random group who'd buy one. If Subaru proposed making a decision based on the number of potential buyers willing to throw down a $10K deposit what would we see?

Dave Morland (not verified)    January 26, 2023 - 12:28PM

I have a 2015 Forester XT and would love to buy a 2023 but not without an XT , the normally aspirated one hasn’t enough torque or hp. even a1.8 would be better than the 2.5. but keep the 2.0 or throw in the 2.4 . I’ll be buying a new suv next year and it won’t be a Forester if it isn’t a XT.

Ann Anthony (not verified)    January 30, 2023 - 4:26PM

I have been waiting for a turbo Forester for several years. I want the BSW and back up camera. I have a 2011. I want a suv just like mine with these on it.

Pips (not verified)    February 10, 2023 - 10:22AM

I have a 2016 XT and it's awesome. I have had it in for recalls and had loaners of the newer models. They're really quiet, but they have absolutely no Oomph when you want to merge, pass, or get tf out of someones way because they're on crack and swerving all over the road. I would never buy a Subaru without a ballsy turbo. If I gotta go somewhere else, I will. I am the least aggressive driver that I know of, as well. That power has saved my butt more times than I can count. People on the road are nuts these days.

Karl_in_Phoenix (not verified)    February 20, 2023 - 11:06AM

I have a nice 2017 XT Touring with just 71k miles on it. Love it. Will not part with it until Subaru has another XT with the 2.4 turbo. Will get a Wilderness trim level for the ground clearance. I have been on some very hairy trails in N Arizona and the HDC and XMode work very well, as does the monster torque at walking speeds.

David Michael Sowell (not verified)    March 12, 2023 - 11:34AM

I’m planning on ordering a 2024 Forester Touring. I’m hoping floor a complete re-design and that includes a turbo engine. Come on Subaru, at least offer the turbo engine as an option.