It would help the Forester get closer to its quicker rivals.
We like a lot of things about the tough Subaru Forester, but its performance never really stood out. In a segment featuring several nippy turbocharged competitors, the Forester's trusty naturally aspirated 2.5-liter flat-four simply couldn't compete. That hasn't seemed to bother customers, though, as the Forester has remained a strong seller for the brand.
Those sales numbers could get even better as Best Car Web in Japan indicates that the Forester is getting a turbocharged engine to replace the naturally aspirated Boxer unit, which will further boost its appeal. The force-fed engine is a 1.8-liter that is also used in the striking Subaru Levorg wagon.
This turbo motor reportedly produces 174 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, making it marginally less powerful but a lot more torquey than the 2.5L, which generates 182 hp but only 176 lb-ft.
Considering that Subaru of America only recently announced pricing for the 2021 Forester and made no mention of this turbocharged motor, it's not clear if the new turbocharged engine will join the US range or whether it may replace the 2.5L powertrain outright at some point. It would certainly remedy one of the few major flaws of the otherwise capable Forester range.
The Japanese magazine goes on to say that while the engine is new, the CVT transmission will remain unchanged. Trim levels and equipment will be largely unaffected, too, and this updated Forester is expected in Japan on October 22. The Forester's rivals include the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5; the latter is offered with a punchy 250-hp turbocharged engine that sees this SUV leave many of its rivals eating its dust.
While the typical Forester customer is probably more concerned with the go-anywhere ability of the Subaru than hot-hatch-level performance, we're hoping that the US range gets the turbocharged engine it deserves.