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Product in Brief: 2004 Subaru Forester 2.5 XT and Baja

A Boost for Baja and Forester

The Basics

Subaru beefed up its 2.5L engine with a turbocharger and placed it into the Forester and Baja. The 2.5L intercooled and turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer engine is now capable of 210 hp and 235 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,600 rpms. Originally, Subaru planned on using a turbocharged version of its 2.0L engine but it became clear with the larger tires and load capacity this wouldn’t work, says the company. By using an extra small turbocharger, supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and its 2.5L engine, Subaru engineers were able to achieve the performance and light weight they desired.


Subaru decided to turn to the turbo instead of a larger 6-cylinder engine because of the 2.5L turbo’s enhanced throttle response and its lighter and more compact size. Both the Forester and the Baja achieve high torque at low engine speeds. Since many of its customers live in high altitudes, Subaru emphasizes that the engine maintains its high level of performance even at elevated altitudes where atmospheric pressure changes can negatively affect the power output of naturally aspirated engines.

All of Subaru’s turbo models also feature an integrated, functional hood scoop that provides air to the engine-mounted intercooler.


The Baja Turbo comes standard with a new 4-speed electronic direct control automatic transmission. A manual transmission is expected to eventually follow. The Forester turbo, meanwhile, is standard with a 5-speed manual transmission and optional with the 4-speed automatic. Like the traditional Forester, the turbo model with the manual is standard with Subaru’s Hill Holder hydraulic clutch that prevents roll back when the vehicle is stopped on an incline.

Other technology

The turbo versions of the Baja and Forester also receive the Impreza WRX STi’s Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing and Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system.

Like all other Subarus, the vehicle also is equipped with the automaker’s full time all-wheel driving system.


Subaru is hoping to bring younger, performance-driven buyers into its family. With its new turbo-equipped vehicles, the Subaru hopes to show a new fun side of the company. Subaru sets apart the Forester 2.5 XT from its non-turbo sibling by equipping it with body color side cladding and aluminum finished roof rails, body-colored door handles and a single-outlet chrome tailpipe. It also has 6-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels with raised black letter tires.

The turbo Baja gets an extra inch of ground clearance compared to the traditional vehicle.

What we think

The new turbocharged engines give the vehicles that extra engine power they were lacking, especially in the Baja. The turbo coupled with the company’s new marketing featuring bicyclist Lance Armstrong will undoubtedly add youth buyers to its mix.

2004 Turbocharged Subaru Forester 2.5 XT and Baja Specifications
Engine:2.5L, 4-cyl. horizontally opposed boxer.
Horsepower:210 at 5,600 rpm
Torque:235 ft.-lbs. at 3,600 rpm
Suspension:4-wheel independent, heavy duty raised
On sale date:The vehicles head to dealerships this fall with sales beginning in October.
Numbers:Subaru expects the turbo to add 15 percent to its sales. The company hopes to sell about 9,000 turbo Foresters and 2,000 turbo Bajas.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Despite its compact size, Subaru’s 2.5L turbocharged engine is still a tight fit in the new Forester.

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Sat. July 20th, 2024

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