Subaru has added the STI Sport trim level to the Subaru Forester crossover lineup for the Japanese market, evoking memories of the JDM Forester STI of the mid-2000s.
But while the 2004-08 car was a full-fledged STI with more than 260 hp, the new one is definitely more related to style and does not have additional horses compared to a regular car.
Visual additions such as black 18-inch alloy wheels, black exterior rearview mirrors, edging of front fog lights with black details, black side trim, and a roof spoiler with trim help to create the right image of STI, you will not be surprised to hear that they are made in black. In addition, you get STI badges on the front and back, but don’t have an evil bucket on the hood like the one that was installed on the last real STI.
“The cabin has seats made of black Nappa leather with burgundy accents and red stitching, black upholstery of the ceiling and door posts, STI Sport sensors, a black dashboard, as well as a leather-covered steering wheel and gearshift knob.”
Most Japanese Foresters come with the brand’s 2.0-liter hybrid e-Boxer powertrain, but the STI gets the 1.8-liter non-hybrid turbocharged opposition engine that can be found in the Forester Sport. This provides 174 hp and 300 Nm to Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system via the mandatory CVT gearbox.
In fact, except for the darkened chrome trim and STI badges, it seems that the regular Sport is no different from the STI Sport. But they differ in important equipment since only the STI Sport is equipped with shock absorbers configured by STI. According to Subaru, they are designed to give the crossover “steering stability” of a sports sedan.
Subaru has not confirmed that the STI Sport package will come out of Japan and reach buyers from North America or Europe. But, reading how the Forester is sold in these regions, and the fact that none of the markets receives a Forester with a 1.8 turbo engine, it is quite possible that this will remain a curiosity of JDM.