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Subaru Forester turbo unlikely, but boosted Outback on the cards!

Subaru is switching tact - the Forester won't be turbocharged, but Outback will!

You might have been waiting for Subaru to bring back the Forester XT or turbocharged GT, but that’s looking more and more unlikely in the current generation.

While the company has a suitable engine that is compatible with the Subaru Global Platform that underpins the Forester, the company has indicated that there is no plan for a faster version of the Forester.

“We have a bit of a track record in Forester with turbocharged engines,” said Subaru Australia public relations manager, David Rowley.

It’s been years since a turbo Forester has been sold here, but the company fits the Forester Sport sold in Japan with a 1.8-litre turbo unit which, while hardly a horsepower hero, might well appeal to those who prefer the turbo rush.

You may have read about the more powerful turbo engine in Subaru’s portfolio right now – a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 194kW of power and 375Nm of torque – which is seemingly a no-go for the Forester in a global sense. But that engine – which is offered in the Outback in other markets, such as North America – will come here in the Outback, CarsGuide has learned.

Subaru Australia general manager, Blair Read, explained that 2.4-litre turbo is a better ideological fit for the Outback compared to the Forester.

“In terms of a preference perspective, the Outback and its use lends itself better to other engine options than the Forester,” he said.

“A turbocharged engine has never been in the Outback – that’s something we’re looking at and discussing with the factory,” said Mr Read. “We’ve seen what’s been written and the customer feedback, and we know there is some demand out there, and we are looking at future options.”

So, what about a hybrid version of the Outback? According to Mr Read, the high-riding wagon segment isn’t yet looking to embrace such an option.

Competitors like the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Skoda Superb Scout are both still conventionally powered, but the mid-size SUVs that the Outback will be shopped against – such as the Toyota RAV4 (which is selling exceptionally well as a hybrid) – are available with petrol-electric power.

“Anybody would love to have more options,” said Mr Read. “Hybrid is not as common in that segment at this point in time. And right now, the hybrid versions of Forester and XV are our current focus. We have more to learn out of those.”

That’s not a “no we won’t have a hybrid Outback”, but it could be a while away.