Subaru Australia will shift its focus away from performance and look towards efficiency with the 2019 Forester, having announced there will be no turbocharged XT model this time around.
Instead, the brand is set to offer petrol-electric hybrid versions of both the Forester and the XV - with both expected within the next 18 months.
Both the XV and Forester hybrid models are expected to use a mild-hybrid system that teams a 2.0-litre four-cylinder boxer engine with a lithium-ion battery setup, with a combined power output of about 110kW. Fuel use could be less than 5.0 litres per 100km.
What that also means the venerable Forester XT - with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo boxer engine based on the same powertrain used in the WRX - is dead, and there will be no XT model in the 2019 Forester range.
“The XT was a halo product and a fantastic car - but the reality is that, if we look at where the target market is, our new global platform is moving towards hybrid and electric,” said Colin Christie, Subaru Australia managing director. “Our focus is to deliver the best possible car.”
According to Christie, the XT didn’t account for a large number of sales. In fact, the 2.5-litre non-turbo model - which will be the only drivetrain offered at launch for the new Forester - makes up almost 90 per cent of sales of the current-generation Forester in Australia.
The other casualty of the new-generation range is the diesel drivetrain, which has been dumped as Subaru looks to rationalise its powertrains to focus on petrol and petrol-electric hybrids, before eventually taking the plunge into the world of full-scale electric models.
“With emissions in the spotlight and the lack of diesel appetite in Australia and other markets like Europe, we see the future for passenger cars and SUVs to be hybrid and EV,” Christie said.
During its best days, the diesel accounted for about 17 per cent of sales in the Forester range, but that number has dropped off significantly in the past 12 months, according to the company.
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