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Why You Won't Find A New Subaru Forester XT Sitting In Showrooms Anytime Soon

When Subaru dropped the Forester 2.0XT fans weren’t happy. But don’t look for a Forester XT turbocharged model anytime soon.


When Subaru dropped the Forester 2.0XT turbocharged model in 2019, fans of the sporty model around the globe were understandably upset with the Japanese automaker. Subaru has been offering a Forester with a turbocharged engine since 2003 and the all-new fifth-generation 2019 Forester marked a drastic departure from the sporty model.

Subaru says they discontinued the 2.0XT because sportiness does not depend on power. The new-generation model rides on the Subaru Global Platform and the automaker says it has all the sportiness it needs. But it doesn’t make sense when Subaru offers the all-new Ascent, new-generation 2020 Outback, and Legacy with the 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine.

2020 Subaru ForesterSubaru Forester has a long history of turbocharged models

Subaru believes expressing sportiness in the Forester is more about synergy and how the engine responds to driver inputs and its overall driving dynamics. At the launch of the new Forester, Tomohiro Ishitobi, Subaru Corporation’s senior general manager for sales and marketing division gave an explanation.

“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. We focused on engine response, it’s the key thing we focused on,” says Ishitobi.

2020 Subaru ForesterForester is selling too well

Forester sales in the U.S. are doing well as the compact SUV is the top-selling model in the stable overtaking the popular Outback. The U.S. is Subaru Corporation's largest market with 60 percent of its global vehicle sales. Subaru Corporation doesn’t need to bring back a Forester turbocharged model with customers buying more of the models than any other all-wheel-drive vehicle in its stable.

Will Subaru ever bring back the Forester XT? The answer is likely yes. But sales will have to decline which will happen as the fifth-generation Forester’s life cycle nears its end. The new-generation Forester is only two years old and it’s selling well.

A good example of a vehicle's life cycle is what’s happening to the Crosstrek subcompact SUV. Crosstrek is in its third year since the redesign and sales are slipping. Fans have been asking for more power and Subaru is bringing a new Crosstrek Sport trim with a 2.5-liter engine next year. When sales begin to dip for Forester, look For Subaru Corporation to bring a “new” Forester XT with a turbocharged engine.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru, Planet Subaru


XTman (not verified)    May 5, 2020 - 2:00PM

My almost 6 years old FXT runs smoothly without a hitch. An all electric Subaru SUV is about 2-3 years down the road. It is expected to have about 280+
hp and a tremendous acceleration, with zero pollution. So lets skip the "maybe" future gas burning Forester XT, and keep my old FXT, until the all-electric version is on sale.

AM (not verified)    May 5, 2020 - 8:03PM

Focuses on "engine response". Then mates it to a cvt. The joke makes itself!

Good cvt (comparably) or not. It's like saying "oh man, this trash can doesn't smell as bad as the other one!"

Peter Musoke (not verified)    May 6, 2020 - 3:02AM

The current Forester is my first Subaru and first non sporty car. The power sucks, the CVT is a disgrace. Please turbo charge this engine!

Nick Odhiambo (not verified)    May 6, 2020 - 5:11AM

I am a subaru enthusiast who has owned 8 subaru cars for 15 years and would not mind getting regular updates.

Cho (not verified)    June 6, 2020 - 11:17PM

Torque News understands Forester customers better than Subaru. New Forester (adding Eyesight) is barely ok on flat roads. I live up a hill, I test-drove the non-turbo Forester e-Boxer, it crawls on any incline. That's not sporty. Any turbo, even Turbo 1.8L (260hp would be better, but 197hp 30kgm from Levorg) is good enough.

R3kkr (not verified)    June 8, 2020 - 8:10PM

Subaru had the Forester with turbo from 1998, I personally owned a 99 S-turbo it was called. But in 2003 it got renamed to XT.

Paulette (not verified)    November 15, 2020 - 8:06AM

I am buying a used Forester and have two to choose from, a 2017 turbo and 2018 non-turbo. What are the pros and cons of each? And does the turbo take only premium gas?

Kule Mulibathi… (not verified)    March 2, 2021 - 11:24AM

Our roads in africa are not all good for cars with less power. I need a Subaru with much power and please explain if turbocharge engine are for speed or power.