The fifth-generation (SK) Subaru Forester has been without a turbocharged engine since its debut in 2018, with only two naturally-aspirated mills and a hybrid powertrain available. This decision wasn’t well received by some fans, as previous generations of the Forester were offered with turbo power.

However, those fans can now rejoice as Subaru has decided to bless the Forester with a turbocharged engine once again. The company recently launched the new Forester Sport in its home country of Japan, which will be priced at a tax-inclusive 3,289,000 yen (RM130,387), making it the most expensive variant in the local line-up.

Under the bonnet, you won’t find the FA20F 2.0 litre from the WRX or the FA24F 2.4 litre from the Ascent – both are four-cylinder engines. Instead, the Forester Sport uses the same CB18 1.8 litre turbo-four as the latest Levorg, which is rated at 177 PS (174 hp) from 5,200 to 5,600 rpm and 300 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 3,600 rpm.

For comparison, the Forester’s FB25 2.5 litre NA engine makes 184 PS (182 hp) and 239 Nm, while the smaller-capacity FB20 2.0 litre NA – what we get here – serves up 156 PS (154 hp) and 196 Nm. The “e-Boxer” hybrid uses a FB20D 2.0 litre NA that puts out 145 PS (143 hp) and 188 Nm, helped along by an electric motor rated at 13.6 PS (13.4 hp) and 65 Nm.

As with most Subaru models, the Forester Sport sees a Lineartronic CVT paired with its engine, with drive being directed to all four wheels via the company’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. No performance figures were provided, but expect it to be quicker than the NA and hybrid models.

From the outside, the Forester Sport is identified by its black grille as well as grey-painted fog lamps covers, side mirrors and rocker panels. There’s also a set of dark 18-inch wheels, while the rear fascia sees additional trim around the tailgate window. The most obvious giveaway are the dual exhaust outlets, which are part of a redesigned and sportier lower apron.

Inside, the SUV sports a mix of leather and suede upholstery with black or silver contrast stitching, while the instrument cluster and integrated display get a Sport-specific look. Other touches include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and aluminium pedals.