Official EPA fuel-economy figures of course aren't yet available, but in Europe the Forester 2.0D is rated at an amazing 37 mpg city/highway combined. If you're a driver who likes to pour on the miles, here's your rig: With its 16.9-gallon fuel tank, the 2.0D has a range of more than 600 miles. Got a boat or a trailer? No problem. The Forester 2.0D can tow up to 4400 pounds (compared with just 2400 for the gasoline-drinking, turbo 2.5-liter four in the Forester XT).

The engine lights off with a pushbutton starter and settles into a subdued clatter. You know right away it's a diesel, but the sound from beneath the hood isn't intrusive. Pull away from a stop and in a blink the turbo spools up and you're surging ahead. Subaru claims a 0-to-60 mph time of 10.4 seconds.

Aside from its new powertrain, the Forester 2.0D is otherwise the same immensely likeable and well-rounded machine that, in gas-powered form, has trumped such rivals as the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Mazda CX-7 in recent Truck Trend comparison tests.. Ride is well-controlled with a polished feel, the steering arcs through bends with nice weighting and feedback, brakes are strong, and you've always got Subaru's full-time all-wheel-drive system on hand should the road turn gravelly, wet, or snowy.

Two versions will be offered in Europe: the base 2.0D X and the more richly appointed 2.0D XS, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels (versus the standard 16s), HID headlamps, roof rails, and a seven-speaker surround-sound audio system, among other features. DVD navigation and leather are optional on the XS. The Forester's interior isn't as dressy as, say, the VW Tiguan's, but it's hard not to appreciate its roominess and functional simplicity.