We now know a tiny little bit more about the 2014 Subaru Forester due for release in Australia in February next year.
It is looking like the twin-scroll 2.0 litre turbo model, the model I am interested in, will come with two gearbox options. Both options are Subaru’s award winning smart-V chain linked CVT gearboxes.
It seems there will be no fully manual gearbox option available with the turbo model (shown above).
The CVTs are both column paddle operated sequential shift. There will be the ‘standard’ six speed CVT and an upgrade option will be an eight speed ‘performance’ CVT. From what I can put together from the bits and pieces I can find the so called performance CVT will provide two overdrive ratios—as do many up-market turbo-boosted European cars such as Audi. If this is the case then the Forester with the performance CVT is likely to have much improved petrol consumption numbers when touring on the open road.
The other adjustment in the performance CVT gearbox is assumed to be a different spread in the 2nd and 3rd lock ratios to allow an additional lock ratio to be inserted.
The other bit of data we have is that the turbo model will have 18” wheels.
The final bit of new information I have found is that the centre of gravity is a full 3.5 cm lower than the previous model. This may not sound like much but dropping the centre of gravity by 3.5 cm in an SUV can make a lot of difference to ride and corner handling; dependant on other suspension characteristics.
The Forester already had the lowest centre of gravity of all of the genuine SUVs (e.g., X-Trail or RAV-4). This is mainly due to the boxer motor which sits very low in the engine bay due to its flat boxer-engine configuration. Lowering the centre of gravity by a further 3.5 cm is going to make it even harder for the competition to achieve the almost sedan-like driving experience of the Forester SUV.
This lowering of the centre of gravity will be partially due to the overall lowering of the body from 8.9 inches to 8.7 inches (two tenths of an inch lower than the current model). Another contributing factor will be the 2.0 litre motor compared to a 2.5 litre motor in the current XT Forester. Also the front-mount turbo intercooler likely lowers the centre of gravity compared to the existing intercooler which basically sits on top of the engine.
The number one thing I hope Subaru have worked on is the road noise in the cabin but at this stage I cannot find out anything about this. While cabin noise was improved a bit in the current model the Forester still has one of the noisiest cabins of all the popular SUVs at 110kph on the open road.
Man, February 2013 seems like it is so far away . . . not that I can actually afford to upgrade. Looks like I will be adding to the house mortgage.