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Subaru Will Axe 2 Key Models When New-Generation 2019 Forester Arrives

The 2018 Subaru Forester XT could be the last of its kind. If you want one, better get one now. One other model will also be axed.


The sporty 2018 Subaru Forester XT and the manual 6-speed Forester are going away after the 2018MY. A Subaru source close to the brand told Torque News, Subaru will axe the Forester XT turbocharged model, along with the Forester 6-speed manual gearbox option when the 2019 Forester arrives next year. Forester is getting a complete remodel in 2019 and the two models will be dropped from the lineup according to the source.

This has not been confirmed by Subaru Corporation, but we trust this source. So if you want a 6-speed manual rower in a Forester, you better get one now. You can still get a fully synchronized 6-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist 2018 Forester in 2.5i and 2.5i Premium trim.

If you want a turbocharged Forester XT Premium or Touring model, you better get to your nearest dealer now. The sportier trims are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo boxer engine producing 250hp and 258 lb. ft of torque. It only comes equipped with the Lineartronic CVT automatic (Continually Variable Transmission). The standard 2.5-liter Forester produces 170hp and 174 lb. ft of torque.

Why is Subaru dropping these models?

Subaru is likely axing both Forester XT and the 6-speed manual gearbox models because of fuel mileage. Fuel economy in the 2.5i w/ manual transmission trim gets an EPA/DOT estimated 22/28 city/highway mpg. Forester XT w/ CVT gets an estimated 23/27 city/highway mpg. But the Forester 2.5i w/ CVT likely the only model for 2019, gets an estimated 26/32 city/highway mpg right now, before it gets the new direct-injection engine upgrades.

Another reason why the 6-speed manual option is likely going away, is because Subaru wants to have their most popular models come standard with EyeSight driver assist like the all-new Ascent 3-Row family hauler making its dealer launch next summer. EyeSight isn’t compatible with the 6-speed manual models, and can only be used with the Lineartronic CVT automatic. The Subaru brand will continue to pursue safety first, and EyeSight-equipped models earn the highest TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards from IIHS.

READ: Here’s Why You Should Wait For The New-Generation 2019 Subaru Forester

So if you want an XT turbo model, or a 6-speed manual gearbox Forester, you better get one of the 2018 Subaru Forester models because they are going away after this model year. True to Subaru’s 5 year life-cycle, the Forester is next in line in the brand’s stable to get the new Subaru Global Platform. The fifth-generation 2019 Subaru Forester will get significant improvements but arrives next year without the sporty turbocharged XT trim or a 6-speed manual gearbox model.

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Marcin (not verified)    December 9, 2017 - 2:47PM

Well. The Subaru Crosstrek is offered with a manual and it doesn't seem to stand in the way of a Crosstrek getting the top safety pick. They could do the same with the Forrester. There are still people out there that prefer the manual. Subaru don't make that mistake, I know its only a small percentage of manuals getting bought, but still. Also, Honda is capable of offering their safety systems with a manual trans, why not Subaru.

Robert Lee (not verified)    December 9, 2017 - 9:20PM

In reply to by Marcin (not verified)

Toyota offers their safety systems with a manual transmission too. I hope Subaru does not make the mistake of dropping the manual transmission from the Forester. However, just before the new Impreza and Crosstrek were initially released I read that they wouldn't offer manual transmission. However, both models continue to offer a manual transmission. I hope the same happens with the Forester. I really don't like CVT transmissions either. I just got a car and was planning to get a SUV in the next few years. Forester was my number 1 choice but if they don't offer a manual transmission guess I'll have to go for something else.

Erin (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 1:26AM

In reply to by Marcin (not verified)

EyeSight does not work with a manual transmission because it is packaged with fully adaptive cruise control, it can take you from 80 to 0 and 0 back to 80, based on the speed of traffic ahead of you, you just steer. It also has forward automatic braking, which would eff your tranny and clutch on a manual. As a car person and Subie owner I do appreciate them being one of the few car companies who still offers manuals. My car dealership offers one manual, and I've never seen it on our lot, and I've seen one manual on our used lot. However, blind spot monitoring and parking sensors and back up cams are compatible with manuals, but EyeSight is the forward cameras for adaptive/ braking and inherently do not work on a manual. They're packaged with blindspot and rear cross traffic on lower models, but back up cams are standard.

As for the Crosstrek, MPGs are not as heavily sacrificed on the stick and it is by far their best seller.

Robert Lee (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 3:48PM

In reply to by Erin (not verified)

My Audi A4 is manual transmission and also has forward emergency braking. I didn't get the full driver assistance package but Audi makes it available to manual transmission cars too. Only difference is the full stop and go feature is available only with the automatic. Subaru can do something like this. Honestly I wouldn't even consider the Forester if it didn't offer a manual. I'd get something else at that point. But since the new Crosstrek offers manual maybe there is hope. There were reports of the Crosstrek not offering a manual initially and then Subaru surpised us by offering one after all. Let's see. Meanwhile I'm gonna be contacting Subaru and making sure they know no manual = no sale. I've bought Subaru WRX and driven the Crosstrek and Forester with manual transmission. Subaru makes really good manual transmission cars. Hopefully they continue to do so.

Cody (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 1:21AM

My 2017 6 speed Forester gets low to mid 30s highway. Not since the initial break in have i gotten as low as 28 mpg without a substantial head wind. I'm not sure where the EPA gets there numbers, but they should not be relied on.

Brandon (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 5:11AM

Subaru that would be a very bold move especially since you know it would hurt sales people like me are waiting for the 6 speed manual cut to go down so my wife and I can buy one so yes you do have buyers that want them whether this is a scam to get people to frenzy for cars or not it’s not cool nobody wants a new shitty forester with third row seating you guys just created the ascent there is no point

ManualLover (not verified)    December 13, 2017 - 10:48AM

In reply to by Brandon (not verified)

I fell for it and leased a 2017 manual. BIG REGRET. No fun at all whatsoever. Too short gearing, horrible ECU mapping with unpredictable acceleration. I read somewhere that ECU mapping was the same as the CVT model but does not work good for the manual. I've been driving manual cars for 20+ years and I find this clutch unforgiving and spotty. Acceleration is more acceptable during winter months in Texas but when hot, it is a nightmare. I feel Subaru made this car just to say they have one and satisfy that little percentage of buyers, but there is no love or real dedication behind its design. My mistake was not test drive it like I should considering it being a new car. I learned my lesson, foot lead test drives from now on. If you're up north and don't care for a lively/fun experience, this may work for you.

Thaddeus Austin (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 7:31AM

My 2017 XT regularly gets 32 mpg on over-the-road highway trips and a solid 27/28 in mixed driving. And it is a ton o' fun. If it had a manual transmission too, it would be the perfect car. The CVT is the only thing I didlike but even that is pretty good in Sport mode.

James Tillers (not verified)    December 10, 2017 - 9:39PM

How accurate is this source that Subaru will be dropping the XT? And has this source said anything about the 2.4Turbo popping into the 2019 Foresters?

Y.E. (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 2:44AM

A week ago, I attended the Los Angeles Auto Show and test drove two different Subaru models. I presently own a 10-year-old, manual Forester that I bought brand new in 2017. I plan to buy a new Subaru in 2018, but refuse to buy an automatic. I have never owned an automatic over the 45 years that I have been driving. I learned to drive on a manual as a very young teen. I had planned to wait for the 2019 Forester to come out, but now that I accidentally have come across this article, stating that they won't be produced in manuals, I will cross it off my list, as I have crossed off the Outback since it was last made in a manual in 2015. I will now need to either focus on a Crosstrek or not buy a Subaru. Do car companies not realize the importance of one knowing how to drive a manual as there are many countries, around the world, where manuals still rule? I would not want to be one who is limited to only knowing how to drive an automatic as if I need to rent a car, in various overseas countries, or borrow a friend's car in an overseas country, the chance of it being a manual is very high. I have a friend who went to rent a car, in a major overseas city, and all that was on the lot were manuals when the person arrived. The few available automatics had been checked out and the automatic that the person had reserved had been given out to someone else by the time the person, who had reserved it, arrived to the rental place. That person could not drive a manual.

Grayhawk (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 5:45PM

No Turbo! Bye bye Subaru and Hello Mazda. That is if they put a Turbo in their CX5. There are many of us that want to be able to pass safely and the lower horse power engines In the forester and outback just do not get it done.

Robert (not verified)    July 31, 2018 - 10:47AM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

We are first time Subaru buyers having purchased a 2015 Subaru Forester XT Premium. If the turbo goes, then we will probably end our relationship with Subaru. We drove the non-turbo model and just couldn't tolerate the sluggishness. We were looking for the 2.5 WRX STI turbo to be offered on the Forester and the passenger side 4 star rating and IIHS passenger side crash weaknesses to be fixed.

It looks like we will look to other brands. It is too bad they listened to the sit that suggested they drop the one SUV trim that really placed them ahead of the competition.

Big Engines (not verified)    December 12, 2017 - 5:01AM

I wish your source is wrong Denis. Subaru Forester must have turbo model, the XT it's the most car i want to buy and i wait for the next generation cause the news news before said will have 4 cylinder with direct fuel injection and the another one is 2.0 direct fuel injection turbocharged (probably the same engine 250hp), Subaru have problem with power cause most their car are under power, for that i wish Impreza and Crosstrek have 1.6L direct fuel injection turbocharged which give 168hp as same Honda Civic 1.5L turbo 174hp, for real i wish Subaru put this engine with the 2.0L naturally aspirated engine

Ed B (not verified)    December 12, 2017 - 10:30AM

I knew it! As much as I'd prefer the global platform and Apple Car play, I'm out of the line if they ditch the turbo. I'll keep the one I have and look for other options when I look for a new vehicle. How do you take the turbo out of the equation on the high end Forester? I know it only accounted for maybe 10-15% of overall Forester sales but it's what brought me into the car line. I seriously hope this rumor isn't true. If anything, put the Ascent turbo in the top of the line Forester and call it the Limited - whatever, just don't take away the turbo option. Better yet, just make an STI version.

Stan Powers (not verified)    June 11, 2018 - 9:34PM

So, what's the chance that dropping the XT Forester (my 2004 is still running strong!) means Subaru drops the WRX turbo into the Crosstrek? Would make perfect sense - especially as no WRX hatch. I'd buy one in a second!