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Old 10-27-2010, 02:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2011 Subaru Forester Debuts With New Boxer Engine, Improved Fuel Economy


While there's a long list of small upgrades to the 2011 Subaru Forester, no change is as important as what's under the hood. For the first time in decades the Japanese automaker has introduced an all new version of its boxer 4-cylinder engine that will soon make its way into the rest of the Suby lineup.

While completely re-engineered, the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder doesn't deviate much from the current setup in terms of overall output. Power is kept the same at 170-hp but at a slightly lower rpm for better usability. Torque is up just a touch from 170 ft-lbs to 174 ft-lbs and at 300 lower rpm as well. Unfortunately, Subaru hasn't decided to match this engine with a 5-speed automatic (the 4-speed slushbox remains), regardless, fuel economy is improved from 20/27-mpg (city/highway) for the manual and 20/26-mpg for the automatic to 21/27-mpg for either transmission on the new 2011 model.

Forester 2.5XT models retain the turbocharged 2.5-liter for now.

Numerous additions and changes find their way into each trim package with all but the base model now featuring Bluetooth and a one-touch up/down driver's window. The 2.5X Premium and 2.5XT Premium models now also get a new audio system with six-speakers, USB and Aux. inputs, as well as iPod and Satellite radio capability.

Subaru has also changed up its trim level naming with the top level Limited now wearing the Touring badge, which gains HID headlights, dual-zone climate control and a backup camera.

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Old 10-28-2010, 08:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I have an honest question. Was it really worth the time and money for Subaru to re-engineer the boxer engine for a measly 1 MPG?
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Going from a timing belt to a chain dramatically lowers cost of ownership. No more $2k belt service at 105k miles. Plus the peace of mind of not having an interference engine running on a belt.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice car and good upgrades!
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LostInPhilly89 View Post
I have an honest question. Was it really worth the time and money for Subaru to re-engineer the boxer engine for a measly 1 MPG?
You have to look at the bigger picture. Each time they improve the MPG (even by 1 gallon) it improves their corporate MPG standings and helps them meet EPA standards currently as a fleet and manufacturer. There's probably some tax savings as well somewhere in there.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Subaru wanted a more efficient engine. They through all the tech they thought might help, aiming for 10-15% improvement but got only 5%.
They stayed away from DI and they clearly don't know how to make an efficient turbo (compare to Hyundai).

I think this is a real failure on their part, since next year a new crop of RAV4 and CRV will be made available that will potentially leave them in the dust.
Keep in mind that the >500 lb heavier and bigger Chevy Equinox is making 32MPG highway, (29 for AWD), so Honda and Toyota will be under pressure to make theirs better too.

Subaru still thinks that their 4AT can compete, perhaps because the RAV4 4cyl still sells with with one (albeit much better unit IMHO). Most likely Toyota is going to change it next year, maybe to a 6AT, to match the Equinox and the Escape, which is going to be all new next year too.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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they clearly don't know how to make an efficient turbo (compare to Hyundai).

I think this is a real failure on their part,
Keep in mind that the >500 lb heavier and bigger Chevy Equinox is making 32MPG highway, (29 for AWD),
Subaru still thinks that their 4AT can compete, perhaps because the RAV4 4cyl still sells with with one (albeit much better unit IMHO). Most likely Toyota is going to change it next year, maybe to a 6AT, to match the Equinox and the Escape, which is going to be all new next year too.
Well I don't mind bashing Subaru when necessary. But... I can't compare a Chevy to Subaru..sorry. Hyundai? Clearly a good car and a good warranty. But when you see them routinely going 200K miles plus..let me know.

Yea Subaru needs a 5 speed but its difficult for me to name a vehicle that is as well built, technologically advanced AWD, long lasting, safety rating, costing the amount it does, handles the way it does etc.... I can't think of another car that is as good in all these catagories..can you??
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ALafya View Post
Subaru wanted a more efficient engine. They through all the tech they thought might help, aiming for 10-15% improvement but got only 5%.
They stayed away from DI and they clearly don't know how to make an efficient turbo (compare to Hyundai).
I could agree with some of that in that they are trying to improve the engine instead of replacing it with a complete new design. Ford just last year completely redesigned their engines and now offer the "Eco-boost" motors which are all new and use both Direct Injection and a turbo. Since they did not try to retrofit this system to an existing motor, it might have been a lot easier to design a new one from scratch. Perhaps Subaru is working on something similar for 2012 +??

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I think this is a real failure on their part, since next year a new crop of RAV4 and CRV will be made available that will potentially leave them in the dust.
Keep in mind that the >500 lb heavier and bigger Chevy Equinox is making 32MPG highway, (29 for AWD), so Honda and Toyota will be under pressure to make theirs better too.
I don't really keep up with the CRV or RAV4, so I don't know what is around the corner there, but as far as the Chevy, I think their still laggin sales and poor design and build quality will keep the Equinox from doing too much damage. I have three Equinox AWD in my fleet and I can honestly say all three are complete pieces of garbage. (They are all 2006 LS models). Our fleet manager in Philadelphia ignored my advice and bought 6 new 2010 models and so far (within the first year) two have already had repeated transmission failures (same as mine here) and one complete electrical failure (fire...totaled).

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Originally Posted by ALafya View Post
Subaru still thinks that their 4AT can compete, perhaps because the RAV4 4cyl still sells with with one (albeit much better unit IMHO). Most likely Toyota is going to change it next year, maybe to a 6AT, to match the Equinox and the Escape, which is going to be all new next year too.
I agree that the Forester should at the very least offer the 5EAT or perhaps the CVT. They already use the 5EAT in Europe, Japan and Australia...why not here?
FWIW, my current company daily driver is still a 2008 Escape AWD. 3.0 V6. It is nice, but is no comparison to my Foz as far as handling. It is a nice ride, and I do like it-BUT it is a V-6 AWD and averages 20-21 MPG around North Georgia (mix of Atlanta and country highways) while my turbo Foz (2009 XT) averages 23-24 if I drive it to work.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Although a different type of car, my wife's Mazda 3s (5-speed) has DI, electronic power steering, handles awesomely, has had no problems at all, has 165 or 170hp (I forget) and gets 32mpg on the highway. It's a 2004. My sister's BMW 335 turbo DI gets 28mpg and is maybe comparable in price to the most tricked out Legacy GT Spec-B.

The point is, I think Subaru has fundamentally decided that they don't like changing up things and would rather stick with what they know. These engine upgrade are baby steps to make it appear they are moving forward. I look at my 2008 XT and wonder why it didn't have DI, why it doesn't get better mpg, why it's only a 5-speed... but in the end I wanted a Subaru because of it's reliability and AWD over fit and finish. I see that the 2011 hasn't changed much from mine which didn't change much from many years before it.

Will I always buy a Subaru? I don't know. What I do know is if they don't start adapting to a changing marketplace they may find their customer base holding onto little more than their past memories for reliable car company.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Does this mean they stopped making parts for the 2010 models???

Now that the 2011 has a new engine... I just bought a 2010 a few weeks ago.. will it be hard to find engine parts for the 2010 models?

I did not wait it out because I got a good deal on the 2010 model...
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dougr View Post
Going from a timing belt to a chain dramatically lowers cost of ownership. No more $2k belt service at 105k miles. Plus the peace of mind of not having an interference engine running on a belt.
Who pays that? Belt on mine was $197 from Subaru and the full belt change service was $756 including tax. And that's here on Oz where servicing and parts seem to be much more than in the US and that's with our Oz$ too.

And wait till you have to pay for a chain and tensioner replacement if you ever get that far.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My timing belt swap out and associated services at Flemington Subaru in NJ (where the car was delivered) cost me just over $500 when I came close to 105K miles in 2007........I baby my car(s) and the tech told me that he saw no need to replace the tensioners.......

FWIW!

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Old 10-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am just disappointed from Subaru for missing-out.

The new Equinox (from last year, I think) is of no comparison to the old Equinox. I think it is selling pretty good. I mentioned it to show how much better fuel economy Subaru failed to get with a significantly lighter & smaller vehicle. Equinox has 6AT and DI.
Escape is all new for next year in the US. Even current 2010 model has 6AT ...
Market leading CRV and RAV4 will be all new next year. Except maybe for transmission, Subaru will have nothing new next year - so with brand new yet essentially identical engine it's a big miss for them.
Hyundai / Kia are no longer what they used to be in quality and offerings and will likely surpass Nissan. Their 2L Turbo DI is serious business with only 1MPG penalty compared to the 2.4L naturally aspirated. Both of these engines make more power their respective Subaru engines.

For me, a timing chain vs. belt is of very little importance, whereas 4AT for 2011 is a deal breaker.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Who pays that? Belt on mine was $197 from Subaru and the full belt change service was $756 including tax. And that's here on Oz where servicing and parts seem to be much more than in the US and that's with our Oz$ too.

And wait till you have to pay for a chain and tensioner replacement if you ever get that far.
Thank you. New engine having chains is not a good reason for choosing it, it absolutely does NOT lower any cost of ownership. We've been over this, price out the cost of replacing chains.

New engine having a longer stroke and smaller bore will be a big thing for consumers. It will make the car less performance-oriented and easier to lug around in attempt to maximize mileage. Subaru lost me as a future owner, but will gain a dozen new owners in my place. Sucks for me, good for Subaru.

1MPG mileage gain is a joke. Look at the heavier Legacy with the "old" engine, it gets high 20s all day long.

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Old 10-28-2010, 07:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostInPhilly89 View Post
I have an honest question. Was it really worth the time and money for Subaru to re-engineer the boxer engine for a measly 1 MPG?
Absolutely. Subaru are just laying the groundwork for future improvements with the new engine that will pay off as the new higher CAFE averages are fed in over the next few years, 2012 to 2016. They didn't need the full treatment this year so expect things to pick up quickly starting with the 2012 model year. Not only will the mileage improve as they couple it with better transmissions but they will also probably add DI. On top of cutting a significant amount of internal friction for better efficiency the other big benefit to Subaru is that the engine is, according to their press release, around 20% cheaper to build through use of different materials and improved processes. With the dollar falling to record low levels, staying with the old EJ engines was not a sustainable proposition.

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