Will the Subaru Forester Ever Be Turbocharged Again?

Aside from off-road capability and a renowned all-wheel-drive system, turbocharging has long been synonymous with Subaru models. Cars like the WRX have always been turbocharged and the brand’s SUVs like the Outback and Forester benefited from forced induction as well. However, the current iteration of the Forester is not turbocharged and has even been called “slow” by some. So will the Subaru Forester ever be turbocharged again?

The 2021 Forester will be turbocharged, but there’s one stipulation

Currently, the 2020 Subaru Forester that’s offered here in the U.S. is powered by a 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. That’s not too bad, and as we have stated in other reviews of the Forester Sport, the current engine is more-than-adequate for the type of driver most Subaru owners do. But of course, more power is always nice.

As such, Subaru recently announced that the 2021 Forester will be available with a new turbocharged 1.8-liter Boxer engine that produces 174 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, which is a welcomed surprise for any Subaru fan. However, there’s one stipulation: it will only be available to the Japanese market.

2020 Subaru Forester
2020 Subaru Forester | Subaru

Less power, but lots of promise

It’s no secret that other countries always seem to get all of the good stuff, but the light at the end of the tunnel with the story is that the new engine shows some promise for the U.S. market in the future. The fact that Subaru even came up with a new turbo engine to put in the Forester is a step forward, even if the power numbers are lower than we would like.

And no, we’re not expecting a 300-hp monster by any means, but 174 hp is a little lower than what the current naturally aspirated engine is putting out. Although, we do like the 221 lb-ft of torque rating as that is still 45 lb-ft more than what we’re getting now. According to Carbuzz, the new turbocharged engine will be available on the Forester Sport models in Japan and it will be paired to a CVT transmission that will transfer power to all four wheels. Essentially, it sounds exactly like what the U.S. Forester fans have been waiting for.

Otherwise, the specs on the newer Japanese Forester Sport look the same as they are in our current U.S. iteration. There’s a blacked-out grille and roof spoiler and 18-inch dark aluminum wheels on the outside, while the inside is adorned with black suede and leather seats, suede door trim, and aluminum pedals.

The engine of a Subaru Forester
Under the hood of a Subaru Forester | Subaru

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Coming soon to America?

There’s no official word on whether or not the new turbocharged engine will be coming to the U.S. market, although it’s fun to speculate. If anything, we imagine that Subaru would more than likely release a bigger 2.0-liter version like the turbo engine that was once stuffed under the hood of the Forester XT years back, or perhaps it would be the same engine as the one found in the current Outback. We sure wouldn’t mind having a 260-hp, 2.4-liter engine in the Forester. Hopefully, Subaru is listening.