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In Depth – 2011 Subaru Forester

2011 Subaru Forester

Subaru sure took their time in updating their powertrain lineup in the last two decades, a period where most of the manufacturers focused their attention in implementing the newest technologies for squeezing every last bit of energy from every drop of gasoline. Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries recently revealed the 3rd generation of the boxer engine, a power unit aimed to keep the pace with the emissions and fuel economy standards that get tighter day by day.

Giving the new engine a quick look, you will say that nothing has really changed as the 3rd generation offers basically the same horsepower, fuel economy figures as the old one. Unlike other rivals that invested plenty of money in direct-injection systems, Subaru decided to skip this technology entirely. The question is: what are the new improvements of this engine? What most of you don’t know is that Subaru invested plenty of money in opening a new factory, especially for the 3rd generation of this engine. To see what the new power unit is capable of we need to have a closer look at the 2011 Forester model.

The 3rd generation of the Forester was launched back in 2008 and it still looks quite fresh, at least in our humble opinion. Nothing has really changed if we put the 2010 and 2011 models head-to-head but the car still looks quite good for a CUV. In the front, the swept headlights along with the grille come together in order to create a rather cohesive look that will most likely draw you eye down the side of the car. The SUV flavor is more accentuated thanks to the boxy side-view mirrors along with the flared fenders and large insets for the fog lights.

2011 Subaru Forester

Moving inside the car, the feeling of old-new is there, with the same well-grained plastics that do a pretty decent job, but the entire cabin could have been a little bit colored and cheerful. The driver will enjoy the well-sorted steering wheel of the Forester, a wheel that has controls for stereo, hands-free calling and cruise within the reach of the driver. Although the gauges are quite plain, they can be easily read both during day and night. By having a quick look at the cabin you will find that everything is in order, except the position of the switches for the heated seats which are installed under the car’s arm rest on the driver’s side of the cupholder. It goes without saying that passengers have literally no chance of finding them without browsing the instruction manual. It would have been wise to place them somewhere near the center where they could have been accessed more easily.

Although the new engine has just about the same figures as the old one, it is indeed an upgrade because the old one had a belt-driven, single-overhead design whereas the new one comes with a more modern chain-driven dual-overhead cam configuration, making it more efficient. Thanks to this upgrade, the car is now one mpg in the city more efficient according to the EPA ratings. In comparison to the old engine, the new one has a larger bore and a longer stroke as the tweaking displacement has grown from 2,457cc to 2,498cc which means that the 2011 Forester is capable of offering an additional four pound-feet of torque at 300 rpm sooner than the old powertrain.

Although the engine has received some minor yet well-deserved updates and improvements, it still is linked to the same old 4-speed automatic gearbox, making this configuration quite similar to what we were used to in the previous generations of the Forester.  The new engine is however more smooth and considerably more quiet than the last generation.

2011 Subaru Forester

The 2011 Subaru Forester still is a great car to drive despite its cons in the engine and gearbox department. The new model is very well capable of offering terrific driving dynamics, mostly because it borrowed a couple of things from the very popular WRX.

The starting price of the 2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium is $23,495. For an optional package that will set you back $1,095, you get windshield wiper de-icer, heated front seats (with the annoying controls) and a useful TomTom navigation system. If you want the very outdated automatic gearbox you will have to pay another $1,000. Don’t forget about the destination charge which is $725. Add all these and draw the line, you will notice the price tag is not very affordable, standing at $26,315.

In the opinion of many, getting the car with that archaic 4-speed gearbox would be a terrible thing to do. It is best to get the 5-speed manual transmission or wait until Subaru launches a proper modern automatic gearbox. If you are looking for a CUV that offers plenty of cargo room and a lot of space for the passengers, the 2011 Forester is a viable solution to your requirements despite its flaws.


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