Performance SUVs are a niche.When you want practicality and speed, you once had the option between the Mitsubishi’s “Evo” Airtrek Turbo and Subaru’s “WRX” Forester. Both of them are just like their rally car counterparts. Insane power, with space for the entire family load…
Fast forward to today and it’s a little sombre. The Airtek is no more, being replaced by a much more “family-friendly” Outlander 7-seater, and the Forester, well, has to contend by being the performance SUV among the likes of AMG and M division.
But there will always be die-hards. Ivan for example, picked Forester XT for its WRX-isque performance and affordable price. Sharing the same engine as the latest WRX, a Sport Lineartronic CVT transmission that has virtual gears and the symmetrical all-wheel drive system, the Forester is now somewhat the quirk of the automotive world.
With a waning attention after the first two generations of Foresters, the fourth generation Forester saw a major revamp to the entire platform. It’s much nicer to look at now, despite losing some of it’s tough-looks from the third generation.
With his love for long speedy drives and access to the same WRX parts bin, Ivan quickly decided that more power is in order. A chirpier blow-off valve and reinforced air intake system were on order to boost the engine’s response to his pedal inputs. Without going wild on extensive modifications to the engine, an exhaust system restores some of the magical boxer rumble. Completing the upgrades were an oil cooler, as well as a transmission cooler.
We certainly agree with Ivan that the new Forester has a certain trump card when it comes to acceleration – just step hard, and watch the speed go up really quickly while the engine continues to pull to the heavens. Of course, this begets the next upgrade for a heavy SUV: A front and rear larger brake kit, and lighter wheels to replace the bland-looking OEM hoops.
For a SUV that can comfortably zip in and out of town without compromising on practicality, Ivan turned to giving the interior some sporty touches to boost this SUV’s potential. An authentic STI Gear knob, full interior carbon wrap, 3D mats and custom sun shades add to the sporty personality of this “unsporty” SUV.
While one may argue about the practical use of aero parts on a SUV, aesthetics will get you noticed plenty, no matter how small and subtle! With small lips for the front and rear, plus a rear diffuser, this ensures that no one will ever mistake this Forester for its less powerful NA cousin!
It’s great to see a gradual rise in interest with the Forester once again, through we do miss the good days of the “SG” fire-breathing monsters, it’s nice to see Subaru keeping the Forester formula alive and kicking for the next generation of Forester fans!
Subaru Forester 2.0XT
GFB BOV, Mishimoto charge pipe, Invidia exhaust system, STI radiator cap
STI Springs, Yellow speed Brakes F6 R4, SSR Type-F
STI Gear knob, Interior carbon wrap, 3D mats, Groovy shades
Subaru Front & rear lips & diffuser