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Subaru Forester gets Xtra

Wheel deal: Subaru's Forester X sheds the steel wheels shown here and gains alloys and fog lights in a special model to kick off 2012.

Alloys, fog lights and driveaway pricing to rev up 2012 sales of Subaru Forester X

3 Jan 2012

SUBARU has given its top-selling Forester compact SUV a New Year tickle with extra features and driveaway pricing on the entry-level X variant as the current model enters its final year of life under siege from a flock of rivals gunning for its crown.

The 2012 Forester X gains 16-inch alloy wheels in place of the standard steel rims, along with front fog lights and a recommended driveaway price of $32,990 for a limited time.

While that is $2000 more than the usual $30,990 recommended retail price of the Forester X manual, Subaru says the package represents more than $2900 of extra value.

The all-wheel-drive Forester – Australia’s best-selling compact SUV since 2008 – went into the final month of 2011 with a 266-vehicle lead over the second-placed Toyota RAV4 – 11,881 to 11,615.

Official VFACTS sales figures for December to be released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries this week will show if that lead was sufficient to stretch Forester’s winning streak to four consecutive years.

In 2012, the task might be somewhat harder, with Nissan’s X-Trail and Hyundai’s ix35 nipping at the heels of the ageing Subaru and Toyota products, and a bunch of newcomers such as the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Kuga waiting in the wings.

While Forester and RAV4 sales slipped in 2011 to the end of November – partly because of the Japanese earthquake disaster that stalled production for several months – sales of the ix35 and X-Trail grew 61.1 per cent and 26.2 per cent respectively.

The Forester X – Subaru’s most popular SUV variant – was in particularly short supply in the wake of the Japanese disaster, but is now back on track.

Subaru will have an all-new Forester ready for Australian release in about 12 months. That model is expected to finally rid the Forester of its old four-speed automatic transmission that is an alternative to the five-speed manual on most petrol models.

In the meantime, Subaru will be looking to its all-new Impreza-based XV for growth in the compact SUV arena.

Smaller than the Forester, the XV will be launched this month in three variants, all powered by a new 110kW/196Nm 2.0-litre boxer petrol engine with fuel-saving idle-stop, mated with a new six-speed manual gearbox or continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Unlike some of its major rivals that offer front-drive alternatives, the Subaru XV will be available only with all-wheel drive.

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