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Next-gen Subaru Forester gets direct-injection turbo

Hidey hole: Subaru has ditched the trademark bonnet scoop from turbocharged versions of its new Forester, instead creating an air channel inside the bonnet to feed the top-mounted intercooler.

Smaller, punchier flagship turbo engine for 2013 Forester as Subaru confirms tech

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Subaru logo13 Nov 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

A NEW 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol engine is set to power the flagship XT variant of Subaru’s fourth-generation Forester compact SUV when it hits Australian showrooms early next year.

Documents viewed by GoAuto show two Forester variants powered by the new 177kW unit have been approved for the Australian market, which will make the Forester the second Subaru to receive direct injection after the BRZ coupe co-developed with Toyota.

Interestingly, a manual-only 110kW 2.0-litre non-turbo unit – likely to be borrowed from the Impreza small car and XV compact crossover – has also been approved, creating a new entry variant that could serve as a new price leader and help Subaru better compete with Honda’s sharply priced new CR-V.

Subaru of America has announced a more powerful 186kW/349Nm version of the 2.0-litre turbo for the US market, but the Australian version still represents a healthy 8kW boost over the outgoing XT, despite the smaller engine capacity.

The US version is also confirmed to come with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a choice six or eight stepped ratios when the manual override is used.

On the subject of transmissions, the documents reveal that the Australian entry-level Forester’s manual transmission will be upgraded to six speeds, while a CVT replaces the dated four-speed torque-converter auto on other variants and promises to yield better fuel consumption.

Also improving efficiency will be idle-stop technology, which will be standard-fit on naturally aspirated petrol variants in Australia.

To aid aerodynamics, Subaru has ditched its trademark bonnet scoop for turbocharged Forester variants but maintained the top-mounted intercooler by creating a channel inside the bonnet, fed by the upper part of the radiator grille.

Subaru has also officially revealed some of the technologies that will be available on Australian-market Foresters.

All automatic models will come with X-Mode, a kind of off-road cruise control system that leaves the driver to concentrate on steering, much like the CRAWL feature on Toyota’s 200-series LandCruiser.

The ‘Subaru Intelligent Drive’ selector found on some Liberty, Outback and WRX variants will make it to the Forester, enabling the driver to choose from Intelligent (economy), Sport and Sport Sharp modes depending on mood and road conditions.

GoAuto expects this feature to control whether the XT model’s CVT will have six or eight stepped ratios in manual override mode.

Subaru’s first powered tailgate will be available, and we understand it will be fitted standard on the flagship XT Premium.

Also confirmed is Subaru’s EyeSight adaptive cruise control and collision-avoidance system, which, like the automatic tailgate, is understood to be available on the XT premium and upper 2.5-litre variants – but not on diesels.

A multi-function display similar to those introduced on the Impreza small car and XV crossover early this year will also feature.

In the US, an optional Harman/Kardon premium audio system has been announced and would become a Subaru first in Australia if introduced here.

The Forester has just gone on sale in Japan and is set to be previewed by Australian media later this month, almost simultaneously with its global public unveiling at the Los Angeles motor show.

Australian Forester sales are down 11.3 per cent year-to-date, with 9698 units placing the once-dominant SUV behind the Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4 in the VFACTS medium SUV segment.

However, Subaru sales are up 15.2 per cent overall, with the XV overtaking the Impreza to become the brand’s second-best seller.

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