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Save up to $1,670 on a new Subaru Forester
Malcolm Flynn | Dec 3, 2012

Subaru's upcoming 2013 Forester range will leave buyers without the choice of an automatic transmission in diesel models, while the XV crossover will soldier on with petrol-only options.

The strong-selling Forester has been without an automatic diesel option since the oiler first joined the local range in 2010, but an auto option was expected to appear with the 2013 model.

However, no such option appeared on the new model’s spec sheet at Subaru’s recent 2013 Forester preview event.

Elsewhere in the range, the new flagship XT 2.0 litre turbo petrol model will go CVT auto-only, dropping the six-speed manual option available in the outgoing range.

Automatic transmissions generally offer driveability benefits when teamed with modern diesels, with an auto often better-matched to a diesel’s torque delivery.

Asked whether a turbodiesel automatic will ever join the Forester range, Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior acknowledged the demand from buyers, but added only that there are no current plans for such an option.

Subaru Australia PR boss David Rowley shared similar sentiments earlier in the year: "It's fair to say that we're well aware of the pent-up demand for auto diesels."

With manual-biased Europe and the petrol-preferring US soaking up demand for Subaru's production capacity, it remains to be seen if we'll ever seen an automatic diesel Forester, or a diesel XV.

Since 2011, the Forester has slid from its long-held top ranking in the Medium SUV segment, falling behind the Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4.

Automatic diesel X-Trails account for seven percent of year-to-date total sales (and 55 percent of diesel sales), while 35 percent of CX-5s are auto-only diesel models - suggesting volume potential for a Forester equivalent.

Toyota seems to agree, with its first local RAV4 diesel model launching in 2013 in both manual and automatic guises.

Likewise with Mitsubishi, whose current fifth best-selling Outlander will introduce its first diesel option exclusively in auto with the all-new 2013 model due this month.

 

XV Diesel?

Subaru Australia’s now second-best selling model, the XV Small SUV, lacks a diesel option altogether - despite sharing its platform with the diesel-equipped Forester and Outback models.

Reports circulated late last year that a diesel would make its way into the XV range after its January launch.

However, Nick Senior has confirmed with TMR that no such timeline existed for this model either.

“We’ve put all of our efforts into securing the CVT-equipped Outback Diesel for now”, Senior said.

“This model will launch locally in March, and Australia will join Europe as the first two markets to receive this (Outback) variant.”

The XV currently sits third (YTD October 31) in the Small SUV segment, with the top placed Nissan Dualis available in petrol-only, while nearly 35 percent of second-placed Hyundai ix35s are diesel variants.

These figures suggest that the XV could continue its success in petrol-only form, but it's no stretch to imagine the all-rounder potential of an XV diesel.

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