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Turbo or No Turbo?

windowsillwindowsill Posts: 5
edited April 5 in Subaru
I'm selling my 2000 Jeep Wrangler and going with a more practical car.....the Subaru Forrester.

We are trying to decide between the Turbo or not. Wondering if any of you have some thoughts on the pros/cons of the two.

Our decision has come down to the turbo...which would be the XT or getting the X Limited with Navigation. I'd love the navigation....but can't afford it if we go turbo.'s turbo or navigation. Is the turbo going to be that much better than the regular engine? I am used to driving the wrangler, which has a pretty powerful engine, so I'm a bit worried to go non-turbo.

Is it true that the navigation can only come with the limited's?

Thanks for all your advice!


  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    If you test drive both, back to back, you will likely find the XT a no-brainer over the X Limited. The 4EAT auto tranny mates quite nicely to the turbo, but feels gutless with the 2.5i NA.

    I test drove both, back-to-back, last weekend, as did my wife. Both of us agreed the XT/Turbo performed and felt much better than the NA engine. We bought one, that day, (DGM), and we pick it up on Wednesday, this week!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There's no doubt the turbo performs a lot better, especially at high altitudes, but I think the base engine is at least adequate.

    It's incredible that we think 170hp is not enough nowadays, remember when the original Suzuki Sidekick Sport (with the upgraded engine) had just 120hp? Base engines in there had 96hp, IIRC.

    0-60 falls in the 9-10 second range for the non-turbo, and about 6 seconds for the turbo (C&D quotes 6.2 seconds). So it's not that the base engine is slow, it's that the turbo engine is ridiculously fast.

    You mention you can't afford a turbo with the NAV, so you should also consider fuel costs. The turbo prefers premium fuel, and more of it. It is geared taller, so the difference is not as big as it used to be, but still, it'll cost $303 per year more for gas per the EPA estimates.

    Here is what I would suggest:

    Option A: turbo, but get a Garmin Nuvi 200W portable GPS, mine was just $199 delivered.

    Option B: X Limited, but get a PZEV model. For $200 or so extra, you get a cleaner PZEV vehicle that makes 5 extra HP to boot, for 175hp total.

    Even with option B, I would conside the portable GPS alternative, which will save you a bunch. Subaru's GPS is not the best out there, and Garmins are easier to use, IMO.

    Either way I think you will like the Forester, we love ours (Limited PZEV).
  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    Sure, 170 (or PZEV 175) is "adequate", but if you're going to drop 30-40k for a car, I would hope it would be a bit more than "adequate".

    Since he's posting on here, he has the internet, so he has mapquest to find directions. Navigation's not so important.

    For just a bit more, the turbo mates so much better to the 4EAT. At least in Canada, the XT also comes standard with the rear spoiler and cargo mat, which we would have added on as options on the X, making the price difference even smaller.

    If you never drive the turbo, you might feel fine not knowing the difference, but if you drive an X first, then an XT immediately afterwards, I think you will notice a significant difference well worth 5% more total cost of ownership.
  • bears2bears2 Posts: 14
    I also test drove both and the turbo is like a completely different car. I agonized over the decision to go turbo or non-turbo. Crunched the numbers and decided that the $300-400 per year for premium fuel and the 2 MPG less for the turbo was worth getting the superior vehicle. I figured the awesome deal I got on the XT (non-limited) at Heuberger Motors ($24,300) will somewhat make up the difference ...and I've given up Starbuck's lattes! But the fun of the XT is well worth it. Plus, for mountain driving in Colorado, the turbo comes in really handy (the non-turbo labors getting up the inclines).
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423

    a. The XT has more than enough power for any situation and will put a grin on your face every time you mash the accelerator.

    b. The XT will still get better mpg than your Wrangler


    a. Frequently mashing the accelerator isn't going to do anything for your mpg

    b. The X Limited will get even better mpg than your Wrangler

    c. If you're the type that paying 20-30 cents extra per gallon for premium is going to bug you, then the XT is a bad choice.

    Here's my recommendation, take a test drive in the X Limited first. As Juice pointed out, 170-175 hp really is adequate for almost any situation. If you're satisfied with its acceleration, go ahead and get the X and feel good about owning a vehicle that is so fuel efficient and practical at the same time.

    For many people, once they've driven the XT, the adequate acceleration of the X suddenly seems a lot less "adequate" ;)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In the US my 2.5 X Limited was only 25k, far below the average new vehicle price per NADA, and it's loaded. Our GPS is aftermarket but that's it. We have the world's biggest moonroof above us and heated and perforated leather seats below. Heaven.

    If you never drive the turbo, the X doesn't feel slow, at least for its 4 cylinder class. It gets the job done and never complains, and we've seen 34mpg during steady highway cruise.

    It's not just the $300 extra per year, but also the range you give up, so you'll also fill up more frequently. I kept my last Forester for 9 years, so that adds up to a few thousand dollars over that time.

    If you haul heavy loads frequently, or live at high altitudes, or just want a fast car, by all means go for the XT. You will enjoy the extra power SOME of the time, when you can go fast. That's not very often around here with all the speed cams.

    For normal use, which is all most people need anyway, ours doesn't feel lacking in any way, and the luxury options pamper you ALL the time.

    The secret is this - just don't sample the XT! :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    LA Times wrote:

    "The leather in our upscale test vehicle could have come out of an Italian cobbler's shop."

    I can't find the other review I'm looking for, but they basically said that Subaru stole a batch of leather intended for Rolls Royce for the Forester Limited.

    We didn't like the cloth on the lesser models, though I'm not sure if the XT gets better fabric (it probably does).
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    Nope, I have the XT cloth, it's the same as the X cloth, I didn't like it either, but I like automatic climate control even less so I chose to put up with the cloth to control my own temp.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I have to agree. Last night I set the temp at around 75 degrees, and for some strange reason it alternated blowing cold and hot air. It seems to function better at extreme temp settings, i.e. very cold or very hot.

    Having said that, what I like to do is set the temp low and then use the heated seats. :shades:

    We took a long trip and my wife drove up, while I drove back. We had a friendly mileage competition.

    She got 30.0mpg on her leg, but I only managed 27.0mpg coming back on the same route. Oddly enough I had less traffic, but I think my average speeds were higher, so that's why she beat me.

    Not bad, though. Even with my less efficient driving, we could go more than 450 miles on a full tank of gas.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    She got 30.0mpg on her leg, but I only managed 27.0mpg

    Oooohhh!!!! Good luck living that one down :P Especially considering how you've bashed her in the past for having a lead foot :shades:

    Regarding the auto climate control, I refuse to use it in either of our cars. The fan revving to high speed everytime I start the engine just drives me crazy. I normally just leave the temp setting at its lowest and then manually adjust the fan speed.

    Oh and yes, you can get aftermarket leather for about $1200. When I did my 04 Forester, the aftermarket Katskinz leather was a better quality than the factory's and you had a large selection of colors to choose from (I chose a two-tone with perforated inserts).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I may never here the end of it. Especially since she beat me by a full 3mpg.

    I don't think she's slowed down, it was traffic I tell ya! ;)

    Two-tone looks great, I'd love that, but I do think the OE leather is a lot better than it used to be, so no regrets.
  • well..........we went and drove the X.........then......drove the XT......
    and all of you were turning back....we are picking up our 09 XT this week!

    we're so excited! can't wait to get it! thanks again all of you for your ideas!
  • bears2bears2 Posts: 14
    HA! Welcome to the club. I don't regret getting the XT for a second. Enjoy the car...and save money some other way!!!
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    :P the curse of the XT, got me too!!! One of my co-workers asked to take a look at my new car last week, so I showed him. He chuckled: "you got a wagon!" I said: hop in, let's go for a spin. I dropped it into the sport shift, floored it off the light in 1st, got up to 2nd and 3rd before he said: holy****! Not only wasn't he giggling afterwards, he couldn't stop talking about it to other co-workers. :shades:
  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    My wife & I picked up "her" 2009 XT, last week. Several times each, we test drove a 2.5i X, and 2.5i XT. The XT is soooo much better, and soooo much more fun to drive.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Really, nice sharp looking vehicle. Almost makes me want to get one. :shades
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,714
    Very responsive, not much lag.
    Plenty of power for passing.
    Bigger / wider tires help handling

    Premium gas is required (lower grades can trigger "check engine" light)
    Oil changes are more frequent
    Throttle tip-in is a bit aggressive
    Turbo may not be covered by extended service plans.


    Wrt auto AC, I pretty much leave it in manual mode except on hot days. Auto fan's a bit aggressive and goes to maximum speed too easily. A broader temperature range would help.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Turbo may not be covered by extended service plans.

    Huh? What makes you think that? :confuse:

    FYI, the turbo on my 04 XT is still going strong at 66k miles.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I saw a price list for extended warranties and the turbo models carried a 50% surcharge.

    So you can get one, but it'll cost you 50% more.

    You drive the XT, you'll buy the XT. I knew it.

    We bought the 175hp PZEV engine, in Limited trim so it's an auto. It's perfectly fine.

    I simply refuse to drive an XT. :D
  • aathertonaatherton Posts: 617
    In shopping for my 2008, I drove an XT 5MT and decided against it because:
    1. Initial cost.
    2. Premium gas cost.
    3. Lower mpg, even lower if driven enjoyably.
    4. More frequent maintenance required by Subaru.
    5. Possible problems with turbo after warranty.
    6. More power than I needed, would only use it because it was there, waste gas, get tickets.
    7. Clutch and shifter were not pleasant. The plain X 5MT was easier. My Scion xB is even better.

    I ended up with an LL Bean 4EAT. The power is adequate 99% of the time. There have been only a few 2-lane passes in 6000 miles where I needed the power of the turbo. The NA 4EAT gets me 25 mpg in city/suburban and 29 mpg on the highway, which is more important to me and shows that an XT would be wasted on my driving style.
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