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Subaru Forester diesel date set

On the way: Subaru's diesel-powered Forester will arrive about mid-2010, perhaps along with a mid-life facelift.

Subaru will finally release a diesel-powered Forester in the middle of 2010

10 Nov 2009

SUBARU’S worst kept secret is no more as the Fuji Heavy Industries-owned car-maker has publicly confirmed the release schedule for its long-awaited diesel-powered Forester.

Due out in Australia in June 2010, the Forester 2.0D will use a variation of the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder turbo-diesel unit released earlier this month in the Outback 2.0D.

In the larger and heavier Outback, it delivers 110kW of power at 3600rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1800 to 2400rpm, averages 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres and returns a carbon dioxide emissions rating of 160 grams per kilometre.

The Forester 2.0D is expected to spearhead a raft of changes to Australia’s bestselling compact SUV in 2010 as the Subaru approaches its mid-cycle makeover.

Believed to be part of the MY11 model year, the Forester facelift may include a new-look front end, revised taillights, and upgraded cabin materials to counter criticism that the Subaru does not look or feel as expensive inside as some other similarly priced rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan.

More importantly, buyers of the volume-selling Forester 2.5i petrol models are set to enjoy significant improvements in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission levels thanks to a host of mechanical efficiency gains.

2 center image Left: Subaru Outback Diesel. Below: Subaru's boxer diesel engine.

Underlining these should be the addition of Subaru’s Lineartronic constantly variable transmission to replace the ancient four-speed automatic gearbox that has seen duty in the Forester since its 1997 Australian debut.

A six-speed manual application is also on the cards, although this may be limited to the flagship Forester XT turbo.

The Lineartronic transmission made its Australian debut in the fifth-generation Liberty and Outback launched in September this year.

Whether it is also earmarked for the Forester diesel on its June release is unlikely, as Subaru insists that a manual transmission is the only gearbox on offer with the 2.0D at this time.

“There’s still no timetable for automatic diesel,” Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior reiterated at the Outback 2.0D launch in Canberra.

However, in September, Subaru chief engineer Takeshi Tachimori told GoAuto Media that Lineartronic was slated for every future model – including all future diesels – as the company gets serious about combating fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in the CO2 emissions-sensitive European market.

But engineering the CVT to cope with high torque loads has meant the Lineartronic rollout has been delayed not only in the 2.0D but also in models such as the latest Liberty and Outback 3.6R horizontally opposed six-cylinder petrol engine as well as 2.5i turbocharged petrol versions of the Liberty GT. All stick with Subaru’s five-speed automatic gearbox.

For now, the only Subarus to use Lineartronic in Australia are the Liberty, Exiga and Outback employing the 123kW/229Nm 2.5i four-cylinder boxer petrol engine.

With sales running at only slightly behind last year’s numbers (11,818 versus 11,979 for the October year-to-date figures), Subaru is confident that the Forester diesel and facelift will help keep the second-placed Toyota RAV4 rival at bay during 2010 and beyond.

Mr Senior said Forester was still punching above its volume targets, achieving 1200 sales last month.

“If we had another 1000 (per month) we could sell those tomorrow,” he said.

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