2019 Subaru Forester, new Forester, Forester 2.0XT, 6-speed manual
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Subaru Gives 3 Reasons Why They Axed Popular Forester 2.0XT

Subaru says there are three reasons why they axed the popular Forester 2.0XT. Will loyal Forester XT enthusiasts buy the explanation?
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The Subaru Forester XT is well-loved by automotive enthusiasts around the globe because it offers the utility of a small SUV, all-wheel-drive off-road capabilities, matched with Subaru’s 2.0-liter turbo-boxer engine for sporty performance. It’s a great combination for driving enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it’s gone forever after the 2018 Model Year.

Loyal owners and fans were not at all pleased when Subaru Corp decided the all-new fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester will no longer be available with a turbo option. It’s a niche product, but slower sales are not really the reason why Subaru is axing the popular Forester 2.0XT.

A report by Top Gear Philippines says at the 2019 Forester’s regional launch in Taiwan, Subaru Corp executives explain why the Japanese automaker chose the non-turbo route. They say sportiness does not necessarily mean having more power. Tomohiro Ishitobi, Subaru Corporation’s senior general manager for sales and marketing division says, “Our interpretation of sportiness does not rely on engine power.”

Sportiness is not about more power

Ishitobi says expressing sportiness in the Forester is more about synergy and how the engine responds to driver inputs and its overall driving dynamics. “There is a way to express the sportiness of the SUV, and that’s what we think we have accomplished with the new Forester. We have prepared a different type of engine, not just the 2.0-liter that we’re launching this time. But regardless of engine displacement, we focused on engine response, it’s the key thing we focused on.”

By the numbers

All new fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester trims 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 2.0-liter turbocharged FA20 Boxer producing 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

READ: All-New 2019 Subaru Forester Sport vs. Forester 2.0XT Comparison

New SGP

We know the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) will change the new Forester’s driving dynamics because the newly-redesigned Impreza and Crosstrek prove that. It’s the next reason why the 2.0XT is gone. Glenn Tan, managing director of Motor Image parent company Tan Chong International, said “It’s really something that makes the new Forester handle completely different from other SUVs,” Tan says his favorite feature of the car is its drivability.

All Foresters have new eyes

A big reason why the Forester 2.0XT is gone is so Subaru can move forward with having all models in their lineup come standard with their EyeSight driver assist safety system. The Forester 2.0XT with a 6-speed manual gearbox won’t work with EyeSight. One of Subaru’s core values is safety, and they won’t compromise it for anything. It’s also about reaching a new consumer who has never purchased a Subaru product before. Tann goes on to say, “I believe that EyeSight created a whole new bunch of customers for us.” when talking about strong sales of the new-generation Crosstrek.

Subaru Corp says they axed the Forester 2.0XT because sportiness does not rely on power alone to achieve it, the new SGP offers improved driving performance, and standard Eyesight across their entire lineup is more important than having a 2.0XT with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Reaching a customer who has never purchased a Subaru Forester before could be another reason. We will see just how sporty the all-new 2019 Subaru Forester 2.5i is when it arrives this fall. Stay tuned.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


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Comments

I have owned 3 Subaru Foresters. One XT. My current ride is a 2017 XT Touring with every option. I can afford to drive much more expensive rides. I chose my XT for greater driving joy after owning 2 Forester 2.5 Limiteds with just adequate power from an ancient engine. The 2.0 turbo is Superior by every measure. The biggest reason XTs are not big sellers is because they are not available at dealers to test drive and compare and wooo prospective customers. Each is a custom order and the wait from order to receive can be up to 4 months... I will enjoy my XT for as long as it serves my needs with reliable go anywhere transport.... Hopefully, a new XT will be before us then... when my need arises. Otherwise, Other Manufacturers’ alternatives surely will be there. I really hope Subaru realizes every Engine will be turbo and Electrical Assisted or combination and that the 2.5 will be completely inadequate against the competition. Keep the Forester Relevant.
Totally agree! I had to order mine as well - but it was worth the wait. Subaru did not really market the XT very well. They just showed it as an option in their marketing efforts as Peter notes. Acura finally woke up and totally revamped the RDX, bringing back the turbo and super-handling all wheel drive. Subaru is digressing with the new Forester and just trying to appeal to the masses - not having a premium performance model is just folly on their part.
I really hope Subie understands that enthusiasts-performance drivers-are major buying customers who by word of mouth, go off/on road, adventure and also rally drag race, mud, mountain, snow, ice and do it better than others driving other manufacturers’s vehicles...are free advertisers! They purchase upgrades from Subaru and they purchase aftermarket parts that greatly expand the performance capabilities and further the Legend Ethos of the Brand. WRX and STi drivers are huge enthusiasts and spend countless dollars and countless hours caring for and showing off their vehicles. Those same customers also drive and move up to Forester XTs that offer more room for families, friends and gear and the same power experience and shared engines and performance parts and upgrades... The Ascent is for larger families and created to keep customers in the Brand that would otherwise shop elsewhere. The Forester XT is the STI performance SUV that keeps enthusiasts from shopping elsewhere. Please Subaru, develope a competitive power plant engine or learn from the aftermarket and rally cars to greatly increase horsepower and add this engine to the WRX, STi and Forester! Please see how other manufacturers generate competitive horsepower because Subaru is losing this race badly. Mercedes, Audi, Ford, VW, BMW and Porche all have 4 cylinder engines that generate 350 plus horsepower. That is the measure. Don’t forget your free paying customers who enthusiastically provide you free priceless passionate advertising.
New flag flying at subaru hq: dwflags.com/store/images/NO%20BULLSHIT%20WEB.jpg
Sorry, I don't buy their rationale. Sportiness versus Power? Give me a break!Apparently, they're dismissing enthusiasts and looking to just expand the Forester foot print with drivers that don't care about performance. A slower vehicle doesn't make for a more engaging one. You can recalibrate the faux CVT gears all you want to mimic active shifts, but power is power.That's all well and good, but their reasoning for pulling the turbo XT is just "marketing smoke and mirrors"...
Totally agree they put a spin on it false news bla bla
Absolutely agree. The XT wasn't available with a manual in the US and Eyesight was an option and STANDARD in the rest available: Premium and Tiring respectively. Toyota pulled the same crap with their Corolla years and eventually pulled it as a model, turning it into a sorry appearance package because it didn't sell as a model. With every other manufacturer offering sport model with a bump in performance, at least in this size segment, they're gonna lose sales. Maybe not in the short term, but they will in the long term
This article needs some fact checking. In America you can't buy a 2018 Subaru Forester XT with a stick shift. You can buy the 2.5 motor with a stick.
"Eyesight across their entire lineup is more important than having a 2.0XT with a 6-speed manual gearbox." So Subaru is saying they are incapable of mating an automatic transmission to a tc'd 2.0l? Really?!? I think Subaru has been brainwashed by Toyota's 86 crew.
They did exactly that with the WRX premium. I know because that's my daily driver
I've owned MY 2009 and 2014 Forester XTs and loved them both. I've moved on from the Subaru brand since they axed the Forester turbo. Would've loved more power in a 2019 MY turbo, but no go says Subaru. Oh well... I'm now the proud owner of a 2018 Audi Q5! Yeah, baby!!!
So the Ascent built on the SGP that has a FA24 turboed engine. It has a beefy CVT and eye sight standard. Your telling me the FA20 from the WRX can't fit in the same spot the FA24 dose?
The real reason they are cancelling the turbo is the gas mileage of the turbo (24 mpg) brings down their mpg standard, making it harder to comply with US regulations. The replacement is supposed to be rated at least 32 mpg.
I don't care about power (drive a 2018 Crosstrek) but the turbo is necessary for adequate performance in the Colorado mountains. Suppose I could get an Ascent for the turbo to scavenge O2 but a lot of those old donkey trails are narrow and bigger vehicles have a bit of a disadvantage.
I barely see "the 3 reasons" why they axed it. I'm glad I have my '15 XT here in Utah. When loaded down with all of my outdoor crap.. getting up and over the mountains and/or onto the highways is a breeze.
Okay, if the 6mt doesbt work with eyesight then dont sell the 6mt version of the XT. In fact, why not give the forester xt the same drivetrain as the ascent and same towing capacity without the extra size? People would be all over a smaller more sporty SUV with 5k lb towing capacity that runs in regular. Give me a break subaru.
My guess is that for 2020 they'll put the ascent 2.4l turbo in the forester and possibly wrx. More power but runs on regular and they are just making excuses so people still buy the inferior current model vs waiting.
Subaru lost me as a buyer. I bought a Forester XT for the power. They lost the sportiness when they chose not to have a hood scoop. They took it further by making the new Forester even bigger. If the time comes that I need a new vehicle and Subaru doesn't offer the turbo, I will sadly be moving on.
Another poor excuse from "the top" at Subaru. 6 speed? I thought the eyesight would work with the CVT automatic? Wife had a '04 XT loved it, but thought we needed something a bit bigger so bought a '16 FTX and she loves that as well with the CVT. Reason we went with Forester vs Outback or Crosstrek is BECAUSE of power available on acceleration. It's pretty common for corporate executives, owners etc to become "detached" from the consumer. Focus groups never tell the whole story either. Curious about the comments about having to wait for a XT to come in by special order. Always seemed available around my parts. I think Subaru could have easily sold more of them if the ADVERTISED they were available. With all of Subaru's ads I never once saw one for the FXT.
I have a 2010 XT Premium and I bought it for that now missing Turbo I wish mine had the six speed stick wasn't an option or I'd have it too. I could care less about the eyesight system. I can see well enough for myself. Aka I don't look at my phone while I drive! Anyway Subaru won't listen they have a safety rating to uphold in a generation of the phone obsessed who can't be bothered with looking out the window and screen themselves
They Should get rid of a car that when you need a new headlight bulb it will cost you $77.00 to replace . They will rip you off on other bulbs and spark plugs too .They will give you a one year warranty on the headlight bulb.
Sorry, sportiness is power. All the flashy chrome and fancy wheels are nothing without the zip to get down the road. And not having a manual transmission option was a major busy as it is, but no turbo is a joke. All of the whiz, none of the bang. I had to drive almost five hours each way to buy a six year old used xt and I would do it again for the turbo model. The level of performance is worth it at every stop sign, traffic light, and time I have to pass someone. All of this in one of the safer cars with all wheel drive is a no brainier. I hope they change their minds. I don't want to have to change my car.
"The Forester 2.0XT with a 6-speed manual gearbox won’t work with EyeSight." Other than the fact they haven't offered a manual Forester XT since, oh, 2008, and my 2015 Forester XT had eyesight, but whatever.
The Mazda CX-5 adds a turbo for 2019 and Subaru takes it away. The Mazda handled like a dream, but definitely lacked pep, and now Subaru will trade places. Almost every vehicle in this class offers a turbo option. I'll test drive it to give it a chance like the Mazda, but I'm not holding my breath.
Is Subaru still having problems with oil burning and having to add 1 quart of oil every 2000 miles.
The article mentions a manual 6 speed XT. They haven't made a manual XT in years, at least not in the US.
I bought my 2014 Forester BECAUSE of the turbo charged engine option. I travel the Florida Turnpike daily and need that power. I visited 5 South Florida Subaru dealerships before I found a Forester with the turbo engine. Most of the dealerships were not interested in discussing the turbocharge option with me and kind of put me off. One dealership told me it could cost up to $500 to have a Forester with the turbo engine shipped in for me! I had hoped to purchase the 2019 Forester, but now I am going to.hold on to my 2014 and consider other options.
Very disappointed in Suburu discontinuing the XT. I have both a 16 and 17 XT having previously driven BMW. The XT is nowhere near the performance of the 335 But reliability and the all wheel drive makes up for the loss of fun factor. Though when you use the sport sharp mode on the Forester there is quite a wallop in performance even though it is a software trick. Hopefully the new Ascent engine will make it into a 2020 XT version. The sport version being offered in the 2019 models is just plain dumb in my opinion as who cares about orange stripes inside and outside? The fun of the current XT is that it is a “wolf in sheeps clothing”.
Subaru spent years getting reasonable power plants in their vehicles and once again they shoot themselves in the foot...... Hello! your competitors are adding turbos, not taking them away!!! I have a V6 in my Outback that I'd love to have turbo charged!! Yes, V8 power for less.. The new Ascent is a joke and beat ugly..
Subaru spent years getting reasonable power plants in their vehicles and once again they shoot themselves in the foot...... Hello! your competitors are adding turbos, not taking them away!!! I have a V6 in my Outback that I'd love to have turbo charged!! Yes, V8 power for less.. The new Ascent is a joke and beat ugly..

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