While there’s a long list of small upgrades to the 2011 Subaru Forester, no change is as important as what’s under the hood. For the first time in decades the Japanese automaker has introduced an all new version of its boxer 4-cylinder engine that will soon make its way into the rest of the Suby lineup.
While completely re-engineered, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder doesn’t deviate much from the current setup in terms of overall output. Power is kept the same at 170-hp but at a slightly lower rpm for better usability. Torque is up just a touch from 170 ft-lbs to 174 ft-lbs and at 300 lower rpm as well. Unfortunately, Subaru hasn’t decided to match this engine with a 5-speed automatic (the 4-speed slushbox remains), regardless, fuel economy is improved from 20/27-mpg (city/highway) for the manual and 20/26-mpg for the automatic to 21/27-mpg for either transmission on the new 2011 model.
Forester 2.5XT models retain the turbocharged 2.5-liter – for now.
Numerous additions and changes find their way into each trim package with all but the base model now featuring Bluetooth and a one-touch up/down driver’s window. The 2.5X Premium and 2.5XT Premium models now also get a new audio system with six-speakers, USB and Aux. inputs, as well as iPod and Satellite radio capability.
Subaru has also changed up its trim level naming with the top level Limited now wearing the Touring badge, which gains HID headlights, dual-zone climate control and a backup camera.
GALLERY: 2011 Subaru Forester
Subaru What’s New for 2011
* All-new engine for Forester 2.5X models (turbocharged 2.5XT retains current engine); new bore/stroke dimensions with slightly longer stroke; displacement slightly larger (2,498 cc vs. 2,457 cc); chain driven double overhead cam vs. belt driven single overhead cam before; 170 horsepower is same as before, at slightly lower rpm; torque is up to 174 lb.-ft. at 4,100 rpm (vs. 170 @ 4,400 rpm); fuel economy is improved: 2011 manual and automatic transmissions — 21 mpg city / 27 mpg highway vs. 2010 20/27 for manual and 20/26 for automatic.
* New 2.5X Touring positioned above Limited: features HID headlights (low beam) with automatic height adjustment; display audio system with backup camera; dual zone automatic climate control; silver finish roof rails; electroluminescent gauges, and side mirrors with integrated turn signals.
* 2.5XT models now include 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring, the latter replacing 2.5XT Limited as top Forester model.
* 2.5XT Premium gets new 10-way power driver’s seat.
* Bluetooth® standard on all but base model.
* Backup camera standard on 2.5X Touring and 2.5XT Touring as part of new audio system.
* New standard audio system for 2.5X Premium and 2.5XT Premium: AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD player and six speakers; 3.5mm auxiliary input jack; Bluetooth® hands free calling and audio streaming; iPod control capability; USB port and Sirius Satellite Radio capability.
* New optional TomTom Navigation System for 2.5X Premium includes removable 4.3-inch touch-screen portable navigation device; AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD/DVD player and six speakers; 3.5mm auxiliary input jack; Bluetooth hands free calling; iPod control capability and USB port. Also, a backup camera is available as an accessory with this system.
* New audio system with rear camera for 2.5X Limited and Touring and 2.5XT Touring models: AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD/DVD player and six speakers; 4.3-inch display screen, Radio Broadcast Data System; 3.5mm auxiliary input jack; Bluetooth hands free calling and audio streaming; iPod control capability; USB port and Sirius Satellite Radio capability. (The backup camera is standard on 2.5X Touring and 2.5XT Touring and available as an accessory for 2.5X Limited.)
* Driver’s auto up/down window with pinch protection (except base model).
* New 17-inch alloy wheel design for 2.5X Premium.
* New body-color roof spoiler on 2.5XT models