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Top 2 Mistakes Subaru Made With New Forester And How They Could Fix It

Subaru Corporation made two mistakes with the new-generation 2020 Forester. See two models customers want but can’t get.

The 2020 Subaru Forester is arriving at dealer showrooms now, but the small SUV is missing two models customers want but can’t get. Subaru Corporation discontinued the Forester 2.0XT turbocharged model, and they can’t get the Forester e-Boxer Hybrid and have alienated a group of customers that now have to go to other brands to get what they want.

It would be easy for the Japanese automaker to drop in the new Ascent-sourced FA24 2.4-liter turbo that the 2020 Outback XT and Legacy XT have now and it would make a lot of customers happy. The sportier, speedy, Forester 2.4XT would be a hot model if Subaru would build it. They already have the Forester e-Boxer Hybrid, so why doesn’t Subaru offer these two models to U.S. customers now?

2020 Subaru Forester

Subaru of America COO Tom Doll told Motor Trend in an interview at the Chicago Auto Show, the Japanese automaker won’t be bringing a Forester turbo anytime soon. Doll says it's because the demand for the newly-redesigned Forester SUV is too high right out of the gate for them to offer a turbo version. He’s right because the newly-redesigned Forester is doing well around the globe, but it could do better.

Subaru is one of the smallest Japanese automakers and they can only build so many models for customers. They have limited resources and only one production plant in Gunma, Japan where they build the new 2020 Forester. The plant in Indiana only produces, Outback, Impreza, Ascent, and Legacy models. So don’t look for a Forester 2.4XT until sales slow for the small SUV.

2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer Hybrid

The second mistake Subaru Corporation made with the new-generation Forester is when they decided to ship the 2020 Forester e-Boxer hybrid to Europe and Australia, but U.S. customers can’t get one. Toyota has the RAV4 Hybrid, Honda has the new 2020 CR-V Hybrid and they are hot models in the U.S. now.

The new Subaru Forester e-Boxer is available now and brings fuel-efficiency with its gas engine and an electric motor allowing for all-electric propulsion for short distances. The battery is self-charging while you drive and there is no need to plug it in. Many Americans like the hybrid system over the limited range of an all-electric car, and it’s why Toyota continues to move in this direction.

What’s next for Subaru

Customers will likely see a Forester 2.4XT turbocharged model, but not until the end of this life cycle sometime in 2022-2023. Toyota increased its stake in Subaru 3.17 percent bringing its investment now to 20 percent.

The deal's core objectives are to extend the Toyota hybrid system to additional Subaru models following the launch of Subaru’s first-ever Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid and to collaborate on autonomous driving and connected car technology. Subaru needs Toyota to get their lineup from ICE-to-hybrid-to-EV by 2025.

Customers in the U.S. will see a new Forester Hybrid, but it will be coming with improved advanced technology they get from Toyota and it will be better than the current 2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer they offer now. Stay tuned.

You Might Also Like: What Makes New Subaru Forester The Brand's Most Popular Model Around The Globe

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Photo credit: Subaru Corporation


Don Levin (not verified)    October 12, 2019 - 5:17PM

Auto Start Stop where engine shuts off to save gas at red lights is only reason I didn’t buy newer Subaru. ASS turns itself back on when brake is depressed firmly, ie it cannot be permanently turned off. Heavy duty starter and battery increase maintenance cost and decrease reliability. Gas savings is less than trivial.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    October 12, 2019 - 10:25PM

Subaru is increasingly out of touch with its customers. They are losing them at both the hybrid end, and also the performance side of things. Not sure we are going to see a return of the turbo anytime soon, and I don't buy that the Forester is selling so well that they don't need to do anything else. At this rate, they are just going for the participation trophy, and the dog themed ads can only do so much.

Amy McGrath (not verified)    October 12, 2019 - 11:08PM

Just sold our 17 Forester and couldn't be happier. After 2 windshield replacements, the passenger airbag sensor issues and the car not starting sporadically, I'm glad to be rid of it.

Nate Silberman (not verified)    October 12, 2019 - 11:48PM

I love my 2014 Forester 2.0 XT. Subaru management made a critical mistake. If they don't come up with an XT next year it will be Bye Bye Subaru after 5 Subarus. Will be looking at a Turbo RAV4 or a Mazda CX5 Turbo.
Standard Forester doesn't have enough umpf going up to the mountains and in snow. Though it makes a nice shopping cart around town.

GL (not verified)    October 13, 2019 - 12:30PM

Considering how abysmal the last generation’s XT sales were and that the turbo is available in the cross-shopped Outback, don’t get your hopes up for this Forester to ever get the T letter. It will likely be available with the hybrid system soon. The mild-hybrid previously available in other markets was terrible. The new system borrows lots from Toyota, while keeping the H engine and a mechanical link AWD and providing better performance than the 2.5. That will be the model that people will get if they want a faster ride, just like with the Rav4.

In reality, the worst two things they’ve done to the Forester is the Direct Injection system and auto start/stop, both of which add to long-term reliability issues that Subarus suffer from, namely the 2.5 head gasket leaks and CVT failures.

Subaru works hard at their reputation. With the weakened AWD systems, shoddy CVTs and odd styling, all they’re riding on is their reputation. If they lose that, they’re toast.

jg (not verified)    October 15, 2019 - 11:27PM

At this point there’s likely not a market in the US for a new hybrid. With the EV technology outpacing the abilities of hybrids, there’s no reason for Subaru to open themselves up to the endless criticism from people that love to complain but aren’t close to actual or potential customers.

Pilot (not verified)    October 18, 2019 - 9:17AM

I recently leased a 2019 Forester. It's an excellent car. My biggest criticism of it is the city fuel economy as you'd expect... so a hybrid or EV variant would be ideal for me. I would absolutely buy out the 2019 Forester lease if there's no hybrid or EV available, but I'd really like to see a fully EV Forester. Charging stations in this part of the country and at my workplace are available, and if it's anything like the Hyundai Kona EV we're looking at around 250 mile range. I don't ever really see needing more than this on a regular basis, and the one or two trips a year we take that it "could" be an issue, we'd just take my wife's car. In order for the EV not to be effective you'd need to be a niche customer that is in remote locations without access to the power grid - heck, we just took an overnight camping trip last weekend which was about 100 miles away and they had power stations available (mostly for inverters etc.) but to my point: you can even charge in the "wilderness"... I'm sure this will get better with time as well.

Subaru's claim to fame has always, always, always been about the legendary performance in adverse weather conditions. It's my main reason for driving a Subie. The jury is still out on how the new RAV4 Hybrid performs in the snow since it just launched early spring/late winter this past year, but I personally am willing to sacrifice a few mpg/eMPG to have all-time AWD. I'd rather the car pro-actively avoid a loss of traction compared to "recovering" after the fact.

I'd also support them SKIPPING a hybrid variant of the Forester altogether and just going right for an EV. I don't really know I'd be interested in the Hyundai EV, but might consider a RAV4 Fully EV if they ever launch in the future, but hopefully Subaru will start marketing the collab effort with Toyota soon.

GL (not verified)    October 19, 2019 - 7:15AM

In reply to by Pilot (not verified)

Well... Right now Subaru isn’r even offering the Forester hybrid in North America and an EV would not be possible on that platform. They have to design one from scratch. Since Toyota doesn’t have an EV on the market either, and since it’s clearly “all-in” on hybrids for now, I wouldn’t hold my breath on those options. Right now, Tesla is the only option for an EV with AWD.

The Bozz (not verified)    April 8, 2020 - 7:47PM

Subaru alienated their own customer. Me a proud owner of the XT Turbo Forester. I refused to buy the new Gen 2019 Forester for lack of adequate power. I will buy the excellent Mazda CX-5 Turbo!

Brandon (not verified)    July 12, 2020 - 3:33PM

I currently have a 2005 Forester XT as my camping and trail riding vehicle. I absolutely love the thing and don't think I will ever get rid of it. I was looking at trading in one of my other cars for the new Forester because it is the first body style I have fallen for since my other model. A few things really bothered me about these new ones though. 1st lack of a turbo model. 2nd the crappy CVTs are a nightmare on all vehicles. 3rd the OSS systems create horrible nightmares down the road on all vehicles. I am holding out to see if with the next model they introduce a turbo again but If not I will be spending my money elsewhere.

Marc (not verified)    October 11, 2020 - 8:36PM

Not including memory with all power seats is why they lost me as a customer. You have to spend about $5000 in upgrades to get a memory seat. That is just plain stupid! It is a safety issue as well. It is next to impossible to adjust a six way power seat to the same position each time drivers change. Price gouging at it's finest! The switch assembly probably costs them $25 on a $30,000 vehicle.