The Subaru Forester Is Getting a New 1.8-Liter Turbo Engine
The Subaru Forester has had to make do in America with a single engine since the company ditched the 250bhp turbocharged flat-four XT model for 2019. aspirated flat-four making 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft. It is sufficient, but no more. But in Japan, Subaru is giving the Forester Sport a new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that was first used in the Levorg, an Impreza-based station wagon. Could this engine come to America, and if so, would we?
Let’s dive into the details for a second. First of all, this engine is part of a whole new engine family, called the CB18. It uses lean burn technology to reduce fuel consumption while improving torque output, with a total output of 175 horsepower and 221 lb-ft. Obviously, that’s less horsepower than our 2.5L Forester, but the 1.8L offers a lot more twist. In Japan, the CB18 powered Forester uses a CVT, as do all current global foresters. The Forester Sport also gets a specially tuned suspension, a black painted grille and wheels painted in a dark metallic color. Inside, the seats are trimmed with microsuede and leather and have additional reinforcement. Non-sporting Foresters in Japan are powered by a mild hybrid powertrain the company calls e-Boxer.
While this engine is intriguing, it is clearly not a direct replacement for the old XT, which was a real powerhouse using a 2.0-liter 250bhp turbo engine. But the CB18 will likely provide the Forester with a real-world ride improvement, with the extra torque providing more thrust at low revs, especially where turbo engines excel.
So far, we haven’t heard any rumors about this engine being released in the US in any product. The Levorg is not sold here, and the Forester Sport refreshed with the CB18 is so far limited to Japan. While we see a few potential uses for an engine like this – a new BRZ, maybe? – we can’t say for sure until Subaru tells us that it’s embarked on the costly process of federalizing the CB18 for the US market. Contacted for the story, a spokesperson said the US branch of the company had “no comments on the future product” and that its “next big news will be on November 17”. So watch this space.
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