Subaru is adding a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder to the Forester. Great news if you were verklempt over the discontinuation of the 250-horsepower turbo-four after 2019.
And if you live in Japan.
Subaru has a dual reputation. Car people know it as the company that gives us WRX and STi (and a good chunk of the BRZ/Toyota FT 86 partnership), while the rest of the world thinks of the brand as one that puts out a lot of wagon-esque crossovers that appeal to granola types, academics, and families that prioritize safety but aren’t in a Volvo tax bracket.
The Forester Touring definitely fits in to that latter stereotype. And that’s not a pejorative – it’s okay to embrace what one does best.
For the Forester, that means serving as a solid if not spectacular commuting wagon that’s road-trip ready.
Late Friday, just before news of a resurrected Hummer broke, we regaled you with the story of the Subaru Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special edition— a flashy Forester with no backstory that appeared at the brand’s Singapore Motor Show booth.
A Subaru bearing a expletive acronym was bound to make waves, and those ripples apparently reached the offices of Subaru of America. Company execs of the wholesome, family-friendly automaker were not amused.
“Famous flicks, Mr. Connery,” the fake Alex Trebek once said to the fake Scottish actor on SNL. The unspoken word in that long-ago sketch isn’t something you’d encourage your young kids to say, but it did help the career of many beloved stand-up comics.
Which brings us, oddly, to Subaru. The (predominantly) all-wheel-drive brand has crafted a very wholesome image of itself over the years, delighting children and seniors alike with its heavy use of canine actors in its ads. But there’s nothing wholesome about a vehicle that appeared this week at the Singapore Motor Show: the Forester Ultimate Customized Kit Special edition.
FUCKS, for short.
Until this model year, the Subaru Forester was a homely-looking beast, eminently practical but always looking like that kid in grade school whose slacks were too short. With its narrow body and tip-toe stance, the old Forester had the appearance of its pants cuffs stopping well above its ankles.
Subaru has fixed this for 2019, creating a crossover that doesn’t appear as if it’s about to get stuffed into a locker. The price has been kept at bay, too.
At this year’s L.A. Auto Show, Subaru will introduce the Ascent, a seven-passenger crossover that the brand is calling the “biggest yet” and “family-sized.” In a market awash with three-row machines, Subaru is one of the few brands not peddling a vehicle that will seat a shift of hockey players plus their driver.
Until then, let’s toss one of Subaru’s current nameplates, the Forester, under our Ace of Base microscope.
According to my nephew and me: If one is good then 100 is a good place to start.
My nephew is 11. I’m 33. Hopefully his gene pool is deeper than mine. But excess is extra good in my life. I appreciate a larger-than-I-need TV most nights and not one, but two, cheeseburgers in my value meals sometimes. If a Forester is good then a turbo Forester must be great according to my juvenile definition of the world.
Already one of the best crossovers on the market, the Forester actually benefits from Subaru’s glacial powertrain pace: flat-four up front, all-wheel drive underneath — and they’ll check back sometime during the next decade. The naturally aspirated, older 2.5-liter flat four does work in pedestrian Foresters; its 170 horsepower is competent like gas station coffee. Force feeding 80 more ponies — to a total of 250 for the turbo XT — should make the Forester better. It could, right?
I’ll put it this way: Does gas station creamer make gas station coffee better?
Subaru in Japan released Tuesday details on its face-lifted Forester, which will likely make its way to the States for 2017.
The slightly revised Forester sports an updated fascia, additional safety tech, improved interior materials, and two trim packages that may make the ride over. The Forester S-Limited and X-Break trims will be available in Japan, including the X-Break’s wild-ass* Quartz Blue Pearl, Tangerine Orange Pearl and Desert Khaki colors, lifted from the Crosstrek/Impreza/WRX.
A spokesman for Subaru in America didn’t comment on whether the cars would make their way to the U.S. (They probably will.)
Over the last month, I’ve spent more time driving Subarus than any other vehicle. This was not intentional.
It all got started in August, when I went to Pebble Beach and I asked Subaru for a press car. I don’t normally take press cars, but I decided that I wanted to continue my tradition of going to Pebble Beach in a station wagon, which now spans four years and four different wagons: a 1997 BMW 528i Touring, a 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, a 2000 Volvo V70 Cross Country, and now the Subaru.
Subaru has a problem, though it’s a problem many other automakers would love to have. The small Japanese automaker is growing at a rapid rate and it’s fully expected to run out of capacity to fulfill demand sooner rather than later. Most automakers would simply expand and flood the market with more units to feed the sales rush, but for Subaru it might mean becoming the opposite of the market position and perception they’ve taken years to cultivate.
As Bloomberg‘s Kyle Stock puts it, “Being small, though, is the reason Subaru has become such a big deal. With manufacturing capacity maxed out, it now has to decide what kind of company it wants to be.”
Between the A+ report card from Consumer Reports and a last-crossover-standing result for the IIHS small overlap test, even Tommy Callahan could sell somebody a Subaru Forester. “Here comes the meat wagon WEEE-OOO WEEE-OOO and the medic gets out and says, ‘Oh my God’. New guy’s around the corner puking his guts out – all because you wanted to buy a RAV4.”
Factor in some much-improved fuel economy from a continuously variable transmission, and the sales figures are like spank-tra-vision to Subie execs: up by a third year-to-date. Holy shnikes! Is this the year the lovable approach hiking shoe crosses-over from niche product to all-round segment leader? Let’s go camping.
TTAC commenter jems86 writes:
I need your help again. I live in Colombia and, as you already know, I am the owner of a 2000 Subaru Forester (the 2.0 EDM model). This particular model has rear self leveling struts and recently they went bust. My dealership is asking 4 million pesos (about 2235 USD) for the replacements. I really think it’s a little bit steep so I’ve been searching online but haven’t been able to find the OEM parts. I read on a forum (http://www.subaruforester.org/) that you can put the non-self leveling struts. Is this a good idea? How much would the driving characteristics of my car change? If I go this way, what other components of the suspension should I replace? Thanks in advance for your help.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- 285exp If the conversion to EVs was really so vital to solve an existential climate change crisis, it wouldn’t matter whether they were built by US union workers or where the batteries and battery materials came from.
- El scotto Another EBPosky, "EVs are Stoopid, prove to me water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius" article.It was never explained if the rural schools own the buses or if the school bus routes are contracted out. If the bus routes are contracted out, will Carpenter or Bluebird offer an electric school bus? Flexmatt never stated the range of brand-unspecified school bus. Will the min-mart be open at the end of the 179-mile drive? No cell coverage? Why doesn't the bus driver have an emergency sat phone?Two more problems Mr. Musk could solve.
- RICK Long time Cadillac admirer with 89 Fleetwood Brougham deElegance and 93 Brougham, always liked Eldorado until downsized after 76. Those were the days. Sad to see what now wears Cadillac name.
- Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
- Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.