If you miss the quick Foresters of old, here's some news sure to garner a mixed response: a 'sporty' variant of the 2020 Subaru Forester is coming to Australia, and is slated to arrive by the end of the year.
This Forester will be differentiated by styling changes, rather than powertrain updates – explained Colin Christie, managing director of Subaru Australia, at the recent Australian launch of the updated MY20 and hybrid line-up.
"I’ll make it clear that there is not a change in engine, it’s the same engine. But it’s basically design changes, interior design changes, suspension changes".
This means the sporty Subaru won't be a direct replacement for the discontinued Forester XT.
Rather, it will be similar to the Forester Sport that is currently offered for sale in America. That means orange highlights, black wheels and a tweaked interior.
Above: the US-market Subaru Forester Sport
A bit of a cult favourite, the last Forester XT brought turbocharged performance to the medium SUV segment with a 177kW/350Nm force-fed 2.0 litre boxer engine.
That was one of four previous engine options on the discontinued 'S4' Forester, with 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre naturally aspirated boxer engines, and a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel boxer.
In contrast, the new Forester is only available with one engine option, the naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre 'FB25' engine that makes 136kW @ 5800rpm and 239Nm @ 4400rpm. This runs exclusively through Subaru's 'Lineartronic' CVT automatic gearbox.
A lack of engine options hasn't slowed Forester's success in Australia, however. While it's not a segment leader, the Forester's sales in Australia have grown from an average of around 900 per month to 1400 per month.