I read a car mag article saying there will be a refresh for the MY11 model. I'd love to know what changes will occur and whether Subaru will screw up any body work design.
Refresh is pretty much what it means. Maybe some styling changes to the body panels, some interior tweaks and that's about it. If you look at the SF platform it was around for 5 years, pretty much got a few grille changes some paint options, interior trim changes and that's about it. The SG was around for 5 years, pretty much the same treatment as the SF, 06 -08 got some mechanical tweaks, mostly styling changes on the same platform, body panels, lights, grille, etc. The SH has only been around for 2 years so the likelyhood of a large scale revamp are slim, possibly in a year you might see the same treatment applied to the Forester, they may address the issues owners of 09-10 models have had, but it will be subtle, no manufacturer wants to have to make major changes a year after the car is introduced, that is admitting failure to some degree.
The Japanese auto makers are moving towards longer platform runs of models (cost effective) and more use of world market models (cost effective again), so we are probably going to see only minor cosmetic and mechanical changes only in the length of time between changeovers to new designs.
As far as the CVT goes, I can probably guess right that the SH Forester was designed to have the CVT transmission fit, just as they designed the diesel, knowing it would fit their current lineup. It's been said that new car design starts four years before the actual release, pretty much the same for mechanical changes. According to my mechanic, Subaru, two years ago had a few CVT test mules running around in the last generation Outback, one out west in the Rockies and one in metropolitan Toronto, studying the reliability and drivability, to the eye, they looked just like any other Outback. I'm sure other markets had the same testing going on.
It's a gamble for an auto maker to return to technology that hasn't been widely accepted and previously (Subaru had a CVT in the Justy) was not well received or refined as it is today, it's most likely the way manufactures will go as they recently shown, sometimes with negative results (Mini's CVT).
I don't think we can look into any crystal ball to tell us what the outcome will be, but I think the future is looking good for more introductions of the CVT across Subarus models. There's very few sale's people that are dedicated to one specific brand to have any form of knowledge about what comes next from the manufacturer. I liken asking a sales person a question about future model to p***ing in the wind, you don't really know what might happen.