Ch-Ch-Changes: 2011 Subaru Forester

2.5X PremiumFor 2011, the Subaru Forester gets a slight exterior refresh, updated interior and an all-new four-cylinder powertrain.

All Foresters get a new grille design as well as an updated instrument panel with soft touch materials.

The big news here, of course, is the new 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine (otherwise known as a Boxer engine) that produces 174 pounds-feet of torque. The torque figures are improved from last year’s base engine, and both power figures are achieved at a lower rpm.

The third-generation Boxer engine is a completely new powertrain for Subaru, featuring lightweight materials, a compact design and superior vibration-reduction methods. The new engine features a dual-overhead-cam design compared with the single-overhead design that the previous Subaru had. Driving performance is smoother throughout the whole acceleration range, Subaru says.

In the Forester, the engine achieves 21/27 mpg city/highway with either the automatic or manual transmission. That’s an improvement of 1 mpg city and highway from the 2010 model. The 224-hp turbocharged engine, found on the 2.5XT trims, remains unchanged from last year.

The 2011 Forester is offered in 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X Touring, 2.5X Limited, 2.5XT Premium and 2.5XT Touring trims. The base starting price for the 2011 model with a manual transmission is $200 higher from 2010; an automatic brings the base model to $21,695. The Touring trim is new for 2011, positioned above the Limited trim with the base engine and replacing the Limited on the turbocharged trim. It features high-intensity-discharge headlamps with automatic height adjustments, a touch-screen audio system with backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, Sirius satellite radio, electroluminescent gauges and side mirrors with integrated turn signals and perforated leather-trimmed upholstery.

We break down the prices and feature updates for each trim below.

Bullet points represent additional features from last year.

2011 Subaru Forester Pricing (2010 Pricing)

2.5X: $20,495 ($20,295)

  • No additional features from last year 

2.5X Premium: $23,195 ($22,795)

  • Driver-side power window with auto up/down and anti-pinch protection 
  • Tilt/telescoping steering wheel 
  • New 17-inch alloy wheels 
  • Standard Bluetooth with steering-wheel control switches 
  • Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity 
  • iPod connectivity 
  • USB port 
  • Sirius Satellite Radio capability 
  • New TomTom navigation option: $595 with All Weather Package 

2.5X Limited: $26,495 ($25,995)

  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • HD Radio 
  • iPod connectivity 
  • 4.3-inch LCD display screen 
  • Six upgraded speakers (instead of four) 
  • Backup camera accessory option 

2.5X Touring: $27,995 (N/A)

2.5XT Premium: $26,995 ($26,495)

  • New radio unit with six speakers 
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • iPod connectivity 
  • Sirius Satellite Radio capability 
  • New body-colored roof spoiler 

Forester 2.5XT Touring: $29,995 (N/A)

Automatic transmission: $1,200 (N/A)

Prices do not reflect a destination charge of $725 ($695 last year)

2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium

2.5X Premium

2011 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Touring

2.5XT Touring

By Colin Bird | September 24, 2010 | Comments (27)



so why didnt they add the CVT with this refresh and brand new engine?


Or the six speed manual?


Subaru reminds me of our current President. Looks great on paper but just can't get it done. Subaru should drop the faulty boxer design and instead offer engines that provide both good gas mileage and power without the noise and vibration they currently have. We have a 2010 Legacy and like it but my company car (Camry) is much better engineered when it comes to the engine and transmission departments.


I wonder if they're able to correct their unfortunate head gasket problem with this engine.


We researched that issue prior to buying and determined it's been a non-issue for quite some time.


Subarus are good on snow but not as good cars as many people think they are.


Did the design engineers sit in the seats for more than two minutes? I quit buying Subaru because their seats are some of the most uncomfortable in the industry. Maybe Subaru has a deal with a bunch of chiropractors. Talk about a lower back ache after driving one of their vehicles for a while.


Shorebreak ,

CRV non-leather - same thing


We have a CRV and an Outback. The CRV seats are very comfortable while the Outback's are on the stiff side. You are clueless about the CRV seats.

I am just surprised that....The STi and the addition of quad muffler tips with diffuser which changes the look of the rear end, while the STi model will have more aggressive, bulging fenders.And You now that, The new model gains 33 pounds over the previous 2010 WRX models, which is really great... The wider body gives the 2011 WRX wider track dimensions. The new exterior design is being marketed to attract younger buyers.The Subaru Impreza WRX is a turbocharged version of the Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel drive automobile. And It is available as a sedan or wagon.

I think Subaru should be directed to slow and hybrid technology. I love this brand of car but I am afraid it will not survive unless it adapts. Now is the trend of ecological cars, and this model does not follow it.

I have never been really interested in these vehicles but I have to admit that the new features are great, but they make you pay for them


What I want to know is,if the boxer design engine is so darned good (low emission,high fuel economy,low vibration) how come the largest user of the boxer (VW) went to and stuck with upright inline 4s even after the horrid Wasserboxer attempt(Vanagon)...??? Mechanics look at a Subaru boxer and shy away due to it being so "different".As long as they continue to use that engine,Subaru will always be considered "strange".(they did have some realism,once,with the inline 4 Justy).


I don't know of any technicians who "shy away" from a Subaru engine, or if anyone calls them "strange." It's a Subaru trait and it's unique.

But if you feel it's such a bad engine design, perhaps you should ask Porsche why they continue to use it, don't you think?

Oh, and the Justy had a 3-cylinder engine. That car was awesome.


Porsche still uses the boxer style engine because of the space advantage it offers within the engine bay and in relation to the suspension. I've been a Porsche technician for over twenty years and while the boxer design has some advantages the disadvantages are greater.


Bernie thanks for your candor about Porsche boxer engines. What's really amazing is how Porsche copied the Chevy Corvair's use of a turbocharger on a boxer engine. Once again GM was first with a technical innovation that Porsche uses to this day.


Christian ,

I guess, you have not drove a car with comfortable seat, like Highlander, any Volvo. Even new Corolla has a seat which is "miles ahead" of CRV.

My back starts to hurt after 1 hour in CRV (I drive it for 2.5 hours sometimes). In Highlander I am OK for 6-7 hours straight.

Bob F

We own a Highlander, Ody, and a CRV and the seats all feel equally comfortable on long and short rides. The CRV wouldn't be the top selling vehicle in it's class if it had bad seats.


It is even funny to hear ^^, "The CRV wouldn't be the top selling vehicle in it's class if it had bad seats"

To me, CRV seat is exact reason why I wouldn't buy this car. As a matter of fact, we've got Highlander when all other cars for one or another reason fell off the list.


Does anyone one know when the 2011 foresters will be out?


I called a dealer and was told late October

Subaru Devotee

Who wants a noisy CVT? I and many others certainly do NOT. I personally would not buy the car with a lousy CVT. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with the present transmission although it could use a gear or two more.Don't screw up a good thing by adding a lousy,noisy CVT which is now only becoming a "fad" because of the supposed minuscule fuel economy it adds which, in reality, is a sham.

i can this in our country. awesome car! thanks for the review.

We have two subaru cars... but would never buy a cvt trans type... nothing but trouble and life span very small.


Just traded in my 2011 Forester XT Touring (105,000 miles) due to head gasket problems. I thought I'd be driving that car for years.


That is the one flaw on Subarus, Matt. Has been for years.

It's pretty much their only flaw, IMHO...

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