Subaru axed the WRX STI five-door hatch after the 2014 model year and the last Forester 2.0XT was made this year. Both the STI hatch and Forester turbo were popular models and fans want them back. Will Subaru listen or are they trying to pare down their lineup to the fastest selling models?
WRX STI Hatchback
Subaru WRX STI fans have been asking for a 5-Door hatch since Subaru dropped the body style on the new-generation 2015 model. Performance enthusiasts want the hatch body style for its greater utility and cargo-carrying ability. The new-generation 2020-2021 STI could use a hatch body style to compete with the new Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R hot hatches.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Mamoru Ishii, the head of Subaru’s design department, told Digital Trends at the Geneva Motor Show, “We don’t have plans to bring back a WRX hatch to the market.”
Subaru brought the VIZIV Tourer Concept to Geneva and most thought it would be a forerunner of the next WRX hatch body style. But unless this is just a smoke screen by Subaru design chief Mamoru Ishii, the Subaru WRX/STI hatch could be dead. We aren’t sure what Subaru has in mind for the VIZIV (“Vision for Innovation”) concept hatch, but this model hasn’t been approved for production.
Subaru is always tight-lipped about their next-generation models, and the fourth-generation WRX/STI is no different. Subaru execs like Mamoru Ishii aren’t going to reveal any future model plans, but he says there are no plans to produce a WRX hatch anytime soon. It does have its place in the WRX STI lineup and if Subaru doesn’t bring it back, they aren’t listening.
The Forester 2.0XT with a FB20 2.0-liter turbo engine is another model Subaru fans want back. Subaru axed the sporty 2.0XT trim when they redesigned the all-new fifth-generation 2019 Forester. Subaru Corp announced at the New York International Auto Show in 2015, they would bring more Subaru Technica International (STI) enhanced models to the US. So where is the Forester STI? Subaru already offered a Forester tS (tuned by STI) in Australia, and it was a huge success when was offered down under. Subaru only built 300 examples for the Australian market and they were snatched up quickly.
Subaru Corp likely made the decision to kill the sporty 2.0-liter turbocharged model because of slow sales, and more importantly fuel mileage. The new 2019 Forester will get up to 33 mpg on the highway. The Forester 2.0XT could only muster 23/27 city/highway mpg and 25 combined mpg and required premium unleaded fuel. The outgoing 2018 Forester naturally aspirated 2.5-liter boxer engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox was even worse and had an EPA fuel mileage rating of 22/28 city/highway and 24 combined mpg.
Even though Subaru execs say it’s not in their plans, the Subaru WRX STI five-door hatchback has a better chance of being brought back than the sporty Forester 2.0XT. Stay tuned.
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Photo credit: Subaru Canada