I have a 2018 Subaru Forester with the 2.5 NA engine with about 45k miles. Got it around 2020. I had a 2007 2.5 NA Impreza before this that I got up to about 130k miles so that's my reference point.
The Forester feels under-powered up to 3k RPM. Sometimes the power seems to come on right around 3K light a light switch. It's not a whole lot better above 3k but it's a definite jump.
The car also doesn't accelerate smoothly, the acceleration seems to stumble a little bit repeatedly. Reasonably certain it's not the clutch: the RPM doesn't shoot up, no burning smell. I don't hear pinging. No warning lights.
This all seems worse in warmer weather and that's without the AC on. If the AC is on, it feels even worse. I generally turn off the AC when I'm merging onto a highway.
My old Impreza had less power in hot weather, pinged like crazy, and wasn't all that powerful either but it was over a decade old with 100k. It also didn't have the weird step up in power at 3k and didn't stumble. I took the Forester to the dealer, they flashed the ECU with an update. Either it made a small improvement or the weather got colder. Based on their handling of my old Impreza, I don't have too much hope there.
Is something wrong with the engine or is this just how Subarus are tuned for fuel economy now?