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.

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

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
23
Add a comment…
sub-terror 29 May 2019

Subaru Forester DBA-SHJ

I am taking posession of my first ever Subaru in the form of this 2011 Forester in a few days and I really don't know what to expect. This one kinda fell on my lap, used-of course, otherwise; I've never paid much attention to Subaru's. They're a famous and popular brand here in Kenya, although its owners have a bad reputation for behaving badly on the roads. They are known to show-off the vehicles speeding capabilities even when the conditions are not conducive.

I have always been a Mitsubishi faithful myself, a lover of the Outlander- admirer of the Evo, with the Pajero as my aspiration. I had a Lancer Mirage that had nothing fancy to it, but was reliable as well as capable as far as my needs went.

Now, here I am in Subaru country with zilch idea what to expect. 

I've already read a bit, but would like to hear more on the down side if any one has it.

Rickie 9 February 2011

Re: Subaru Forester 2.0 XS

Yo the unrealistic test is carried out in a fashion were Aerodynamics are not important but it is "supposed" to give a figure which is achievable in the real world. I think not unless you are as feather footed asStuart Blaydon who I have competed against in the 5Cs
73henny 5 February 2011

Re: Subaru Forester 2.0 XS

jer wrote:

You're right. Are these convinient excuses because no one wants a cheap looking interior? Of course this is why Audi's sell even if they are not perfect. An interior counts.

Interiors count - correct. So does reliability though, an area where Audi falls short.

Subarus are very popular in Australia. Probably beacuse they don't brake down miles out into the bush. Not sure a nice interior would help much in that situation. Perhaps Brits put image before function.

Find an Autocar car review