Subaru Boss Says Hotter Forester STI is Not In the Plans
When Subaru Corp discontinued the hotter Forester 2.0XT turbo model with 250 horsepower, if we said performance fans were disappointed, it would be an understatement. Forester XT was the next best thing to having a Forester STI version of the small SUV and it was a fun performance SUV in the Subaru lineup.
But the all-new fifth-generation 2019 Forester only comes with the standard 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine producing 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. It just doesn’t excite Forester enthusiasts. And the new 2019 Forester Sport trim isn’t much more than an appearance package.
Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie told The Motor Report at the launch event of the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester SUV, that a hotter version of the small SUV is not likely going to happen. Christie said, “We’re very specific about how STI gets branded so it has to have performance improvements and a whole list of things before we’d even consider putting the STI moniker on it.”
Why did Subaru Corp dump the Forester 2.0XT?
According to Subaru, only 5 percent of buyers were opting for the turbo model, so it was not a profitable model to keep building. Subaru Corp decided to also ax the 6-speed manual gearbox for the same reason; slow sales.
Christie went on to say, “So no, unless there was a turbo version of the Forester in the future there wouldn’t be an STI version of that car. The tS (Tuned by STI) is a slightly different version of that still with special tuning.”
Subaru first introduced a sporty turbocharged Forester trim to the already fun lineup in 2004, the same year the WRX STI was offered in the U.S. market. It’s been a long run for the Forester turbo model, but it’s likely gone forever.
Subaru thinks they can attract a bigger audience with the new base fifth-generation 2019 Forester that rides on a new Global Platform and they don’t need a hotter version. “The XT was a great car but sometimes for growing our audience base having a simpler lineup has its benefits, and it isn’t such a complex message," Christie added.
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Photo credit: Subaru Corp