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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 Subaru Forester range has undergone a significant upgrade, with new engines, refreshed styling, enhanced equipment and an all-new range-topping performance variant headlining the changes.

The Forester S-Edition joins the Forester X, XS, XT and 2.0D variants in the new expanded range.

Prices for the entry-level Forester X models have remained unchanged, as have the 2.0D and XT Premium variants.

The XS, XS Premium and XT models, and the 2.0D Premium have all increased by $500.

The S-Edition sits at the top of the range at $50,990.

The naturally aspirated Forester X and XS models have benefitted from an all-new horizontally opposed 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine. Power output remains the same at 126kW, while torque is up 6Nm to 235Nm at 4100rpm.

Incredibly, the new ‘FB’ engine is Subaru’s first completely new engine design for 21 years. A number of technical advancements have led to a number of improvements, including reduced friction and resistance, lighter moving parts and increased pump efficiency.

Accompanying the new engine in the X and XS is a revised four-speed automatic transmission, while all five-speed manual transmissions across the range have been upgraded and offer improved NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels.

Both manual and automatic versions of the X and XS have a combined cycle fuel consumption of 9.3 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 220g/km.

The turbocharged engines in the Forester 2.0D and XT variants are unchanged, with the diesel producing 108kW/350Nm and the petrol 169kW/320Nm.

The 2.0D models use 6.4 litres/100km and emit 168g/km CO2, while the XT burns through 10.5 litres/100km and 248g/km CO2.

Sitting proudly atop the Forester family is the S-Edition, which is powered by a retuned version of the Impreza WRX’s 2.5-litre turbocharged boxer engine.

It produces 193kW of power and 347Nm of torque – 2kW less than the WRX, but 4Nm more, thanks to a specially tuned Engine Control Unit (ECU).

The S-Edition uses a version of the five-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission from the WRX STI, with higher gear ratios to suit the Forester’s characteristics. Suspension and braking settings have also been enhanced to provide a sportier drive.

The good news for performance fans is that fuel consumption and emissions for the S-Edition are identical to the XT.

The entry-level Forester X is fitted with 16-inch steel wheels, the 2.0D gets 16-inch alloys and the rest of the range enjoys 17-inch alloys.

From the outside the front grilles have been revised. All models but the X score wing mirror indicators and the S-Edition gets STI wheels, silver-finished roof rails and unique badging.

All dashboards now have a darker finish with dark tone metallic highlights and Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity is standard across the range. Sky Blue and Marine Blue have been added to the exterior colour palette, and World Rally Blue is available on the S-Edition only for a limited time.

The Forester X gets front, side and curtain airbags, stability control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist on manual models. Inside is an audio system with iPod control, four speakers and steering wheel controls. Other features include cruise control, cargo blind, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, and a range of cargo hooks, compartments, pockets and lights.

The XS adds climate control air-conditioning, body colour door mirrors, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, rear seat retractable trays, reversing camera, self-leveling rear suspension and woodgrain trim.

On top of that the XS Premium adds eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, leather trim, seatback pockets and a sunroof.

The 2.0D is equipped like the standard XS, but misses out on a reversing camera.

The 2.0D Premium gets the reversing camera, along with six-stack CD player with seven speakers, 17-inch alloy wheels and Xenon headlights.

The XT gets a rear roof spoiler, dual-zone climate control, while the XT Premium adds satellite navigation and a DVD player.

The range-topping S-Edition scores a sports interior with blue tone highlights, alcantara and leather seat trim, seat embroidery and blue stitching, sports instrument display, blue-tone foot lights and a unique gear shifter.

The 2011 Subaru Forester range is available now for the following manufacturer’s list prices:

Forester X

  • Manual – $30,990
  • Automatic – $32,990

Forester XS

  • Manual – $34,990
  • Automatic – $36,990

Forester XS Premium

  • Manual – $38,490
  • Automatic – $40,490

Forester 2.0D

  • Manual – $35,990

Forester 2.0D Premium

  • Manual – $40,490

Forester XT

  • Manual – $39,990
  • Automatic – $41,990

Forester XT Premium

  • Manual – $45,490
  • Automatic – $47,490

Forester S-Edition

  • Automatic – $50,990

Note: CarAdvice’s Alborz Fallah attended the launch of the 2011 Subaru Forester S-Edition, and will publish a full drive review shortly.




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