From £22,200
Subaru introduces a more fuel efficient, freshened Forester featuring a third-generation, 2.0 litre flat-four
Richard Bremner Autocar
17 January 2011

What is it?

Subaru’s third-generation flat-four engine makes its debut in this 2011 Forester, the boxer motor benefitting from a sump-up rework principally focused on reducing emissions, and improving economy.

Increasing its torque output has been the key, a goal that has induced a total redesign to accommodate a longer, torque-promoting piston stoke within the same dimensions as the previous engine.

Preserving the motor’s size has been no small challenge, Subaru aiming to increase the cylinders’ stroke without making it any wider, which would force costly changes to its cars’ body structures. Reducing the size of the heads has forced narrower valve angles, but the smaller combustion area resulting produces a more efficient burn, aided by variable valve timing.

Internal friction has been reduced by 28 per cent, these mods producing the same 148bhp, 10 percent better economy and a fractional increase in peak torque, which still occurs at a high 4200rpm. Good news for longevity is the switch from toothed-belt to chain-driven timing gear.

See pics of the Subaru Forester 2.0 XS in action

What’s it like?

The Forester also get minor tweaks signalled by a fresh grille intended to make it appear more SUV-like, while comfort is improved by modified dampers claimed to reduce roll, enhance stability and smooth the ride. There’s new upholstery and an improved dashboard finish - though it’s still constructed from hard-feel plastics – and high-trim XS models get luminescent dials.

But the new engine is by far the biggest improvement. It’s smoother, sounds far less strained and delivers solid acceleration in the first two gears if not third, whose rangier gearing serves relatively flaccid performance unless the engine is pulling 3800rpm or more.

Acceleration in the upper ratios is often leisurely enough to require some downshifting, although the boxer engine’s lightly eager warble is compensation – if you’re in the mood, it’s fun to get the best from this smoother flat-four. Revs that tend to hang when you’ve released the accelerator have you lifting off a little earlier than you’d expect during gearchanging.


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Should I buy one?

The Forester is an easy drive, and retains the low ratio gears, tough constitution and practical interior that make is as useful on road as it is off.

Subaru Forester 2.0 XS

Price: £25,500 est; Top speed: 116mph; 0-62mph: 10.7sec; Economy: 44.8mpg; CO2: 167g/km; Kerb weight: 1540kg; Engine type: 4 cyls, 1995cc petrol; Power: 148bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 146lb ft at 4200rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate


1 February 2011

One of those cars that is thoroghly likeable and very pleasant but gets over looked.

Unfortunately, this face lifted and improved model doesn't seem to be any different, even though the fuel consumption and CO2 figures are improved.

Shame really.

1 February 2011

When this version first came out I didn't like this Forester, however it does make sense to compete in the more traditional "SUV" market and I do think this is one of the best, and most honest out there. It has ability, it's full-time AWD, it rides and handles well and it's got decent space. Doesn't look terrible either. At least they've improved the interior, the old one was a little nasty - at least a generation behind most other makes.

1 February 2011

Were leasing 2 2009 models at the moment and its a very good car roly poly around corners as expected but bulletproof build and no worries to drive on the beach .

It really is an underrated car .

1 February 2011

Miracle, a sensible CO2 output! Welcome to the 21st century, Subaru!

1 February 2011

[quote blowerbentley]Miracle, a sensible CO2 output! Welcome to the 21st century, Subaru![/quote]

Agreed. A sensible mpg figure for a petrol Subaru too! Good news for the cars in the range when they get this engine too.

1 February 2011

44.8mpg. From a petrol car with barn door aerodynamics. I think not!

I think someone has transposed the Diesel figures onto the petrol page!

2 February 2011

[quote Rickie]

44.8mpg. From a petrol car with barn door aerodynamics. I think not!

I think someone has transposed the Diesel figures onto the petrol page!

[/quote] Not once in 40,000 miles fid I ever get 30 mpg from my Legacy Auto could have a point.

2 February 2011

The end of an era - with this refresh Subaru seem to have discontinued the 2.5 turbo from the rest of Europe. Given that it had almost identical fuel economy and CO2 emissions as a Porsche Cayenne S I guess it's hardly surprising :-(

2 February 2011

Just about get 30mpg out of mine a 2.0l auto this drops once I turn the AC on .

The photos are not of the new model BTW as they mimic my car which is a 2009 model .

2 February 2011

I think Subaru ruined the Forester when they changed it from being a chunky estate car, to a soccer mum SUV. It irks me that they never released the older style with the boxer diesel engine. They would have made a superb used buy by now.


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