If you still weren’t convinced that the Subaru Forester XT is well and truly dead, here’s the final nail in the coffin. Subaru has unveiled a new turbocharged Forester in Japan – the first forced-induction fifth-generation Forester – and instead of calling it the XT, it’s now called the Subaru Forester Sport.
Why? Well, from what we can see, that’s because it’s been softened by quite a fair bit. Instead of the FA20F 2.0-litre turbocharged four-banger boxers borrowed from the WRX, the new Forester Sport is powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged flat-four engine taken from the new Levorg, making 177 hp and 300 Nm of torque.
For comparison, the previous-generation Subaru Forester 2.0XT makes 240 hp and 350 Nm of torque from its powerplant, 63 hp and 50 Nm more than the new Forester Sport. The horsepower output is also lower than the 2.5-litre NA four-banger that’s available on the fifth-generation Forester in other markets, which makes 184 hp and 239 Nm.
The new turbocharged powerplant is paired to a Lineartronic CVT gearbox just like most Subaru models on sale these days, with power sent to all four wheels via the marque’s highly-regarded Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.
No performance figures were provided, but we expect it to outrun the 2.0-litre NA (156 hp, 196 Nm) – which we get here in Malaysia – and the hybrid e-Boxer (158 hp, 253 Nm combined) variants, while being close to, if not a touch faster than the 2.5-litre NA model to 100 km/h.
In terms of appearance, the new Subaru Forester Sport gets dressed up slightly with a blacked-out grille, along with grey foglamp housings, side mirror housings, and side skirts. The Forester Sport also rides on blacked-out 18-inch wheels, while the rear fascia gains an additional grey-coloured trim right underneath the tailgate window – which we think makes it look quite a lot more handsome than the other variants.
Lower down, the new Subaru Forester Sport also gains a sportier rear bumper that fits around the twin exhaust tailpipes – other variants only get a single tailpipe exit.
Changes inside are less obvious, with the main difference being the new suede and leather combination upholstery, along with aluminium sports pedals.