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The Subaru Forester STI Was Real, Rare and Very Cool

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2019

Here's something you may not have realized: Subaru once made an STI version of the Forester. Disappointingly, it wasn't sold in North America, or anywhere outside of Japan, but it existed, and it existed in the best way possible: Subaru took the Forester, they put in the WRX STI engine and they added a giant hood scoop.

I love the Forester STI because it's what all car enthusiasts would make if we ran a car company. We have a popular crossover, we have a high-performance sedan ... why not marry them? It'd be like adding the Ford Mustang's 5.0-liter V8 to the Explorer, which is, of course, a laughable decision from a business standpoint, but you can't tell me that wouldn't be a fun thing to see actually take place.

So what exactly is the deal with the Forester STI? It was offered on the second-generation Forester, which was available from 2003 to 2008. That's still back when the Forester was more station-wagonny than SUV like, as it is today, so the STI version made even more sense. And, indeed, Subaru did exactly what I said: they took the STI's 2.5-liter turbocharged flat four and they dumped it in the Forester, where it made 265 horsepower. It also got the requisite modifications that an STI car would need: a few styling upgrades, a hood scoop, bigger wheels. It was delightful.

Unfortunately, it was only sold in right-hand drive, as it was only offered for the Japanese market -- and it wasn't delightful for long, as Subaru only offered the Forester STI for one generation, and they haven't returned to it since. But the idea is wonderful, and the Forester STI was cool long before sporty SUVs really started to take off as a "thing." Find a Subaru Forester for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Subaru Forester STI Was Real, Rare and Very Cool - Autotrader