Subaru has announced a number of powertrain, trim line, and equipment changes to the popular Forester SUV for the 2011 model year that should add incremental appeal to this popular, high-scoring vehicle.
The most significant change for the new model year is an update of the naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The horsepower remains at 170, though a slightly larger displacement and switch from belt-driven single cam to chain-driven double overhead cam design that helps deliver more power at lower rpm and raise the EPA-rated fuel economy by 1 mpg. The EPA numbers are now 21 mpg city/27 mpg highway for both the automatic and manual versions. Our Consumer Reports tested 2.5 X model returned a fuel economy of 16 mpg city/28 mpg highway.
Other changes include a new 2.5 X Touring model that will be above the Limited trim. The Touring line will feature HID headlights, backup camera, dual-zone climate control, roof rails, and integrated turn signals in the side mirrors.
The 2.5 XT models will now include Premium and Touring versions, with the Touring replacing the XT Limited as the top Forester in the lineup. A 10-way power driver’s seat has been added to the 2.5 XT Premium trim. There is a new audio system for the Premium models, which include Bluetooth and iPod control, and a removable 4.3-inch TomTom navigation system is available on some versions.
Pricing has not yet been announced. The 2011 model is expected to hit dealerships in late September, early October.
The Forester is one of our most popular SUVs researched on our site and was this year’s Consumer Reports Top Pick for small SUVs. See our full Ratings on the Forester.