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.
Subaru 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.
Forester 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