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Subaru dresses up Forester

All dressed up: Subaru's Forester X Columbia comes with a $500 voucher for Columbia apparel.

Apparel deal gives Forester a leg up as Subaru awaits 2010 facelift for top SUV

Subaru logo5 Jan 2010

SUBARU is looking to leverage the recreational appeal of its giant-killing Forester compact SUV by hooking up with outdoor apparel company Columbia via a new special edition, the Forester X Columbia.

At a driveaway price of $33,990 for the manual (auto $2000 extra), the special edition is based on the entry-level 2.5-litre Forester X – normally priced at $30,990, plus on-road costs – but gains 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, roof cross bars, cargo tray and rear step panel.

And in a quid pro quo for the Columbia naming rights, buyers get a $500 voucher to spend on Columbia merchandise so they can look suitably rugged when they hit the trails. The Oregon-based clothing company specialises in all-weather gear for hiking, camping, skiing, boating and the like, as well as casual apparel.

Subaru is building 1050 examples of the special edition, which comes with the Forester’s standard equipment fare, including ABS, ESC, air-conditioning, six airbags and, of course, symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Lst year, the Forester was not only Australia’s top-selling compact SUV, outpacing direct rivals such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, but also the number one SUV outright, beating Toyota’s heavy hitters, including the Prado, Kluger and LandCruiser, plus the Ford Territory and Holden Captiva.

2 center imageLeft: Subaru Impreza R.

Subaru Australia needs to maintain the momentum in its SUV sales until the arrival of an extensively facelifted Forester from mid 2010.

That transformation will include the long-awaited boxer diesel engine, creating the Forester 2.0D and giving Subaru bragging rights over its petrol-only Japanese rivals.

It is the same 2.0-litre engine as the diesel in the Outback, where it develops 110kW of power at 3600rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1800 to 2400rpm.

The 2.5i petrol models are also expected to get a boost with mechanical refinements to trim fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. The current engine develops 126kW of power at 6600rpm and 229Nm of torque at 4400rpm, with a combined fuel economy reading of 9.3 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 220 grams per kilometre.

As well, Subaru’s Lineartronic constantly variable transmission – also in the Liberty and Outback – will also make an appearance in the Forester to replace the old four-speeder, on petrol models at least. The diesel is likely to come hooked up with only a manual gearbox for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Subaru has locked in its previously limited Impreza R special driveaway pricing at $24,990 for the manual models, thanks to the federal government’s import tariff reduction on January 1.

Originally with a driveway pricing ranging between $26,400 and $27,164, depending upon retailer and state or territory, the price of the entry-level Subaru sedan and hatch was cut to $24,990 as a special offer.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said: “We are clearly applying the federal government’s duty reduction in two ways: via increased equipment and specification levels on our newest models, including Liberty and Outback, and through tactical driveaway pricing programs, such as with Impreza R models.

“In the case of new generation Liberty and Outback, we also managed to maintain or reduce recommended prices of most variants.”

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