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2014 Forester Off-Road Experience

I'm interested to hear about the performance of the 2014 Foresters off road.

Specifically, how does the regular (base model) CVT perform off road in crawling, hill climbing and steep-start situations?

Does it seem like the gearing is low enough?

Is the throttle control comfortable?

I've always had manual transmissions, and I may end up with a 2.5 Premium 6-speed manual Forester, but the CVT is interesting and tempting.

I do a lot of exploring on old roads in the high desert and mountains and think the Forester would be great for it, I just can't decide which transmission would be best, manual or CVT?

Currently I have a 2007 2.5i Impreza sedan with a 5-speed manual, and it does surprisingly well on a lot of the old dirt roads, but I really want the higher clearance of a Forester.

Comments

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I think you would be better off with the Crosstrek XV. It is more purpose built for off roads than the Forester. All the reviews I read on it say it is surprisingly competent off road, this with the CVT.

    John
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460
    If one were to use a new Subaru off-road on a regular basis, I would have to recommend the automatic over the manual. The manual isn't geared low enough to off-road effectively, and the stock clutch plate on these things just loves to burn with the slightest provocation. ;)
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,459
    edited October 2013
    Specifically, how does the regular (base model) CVT perform off road in crawling, hill climbing and steep-start situations?

    Note that the non-XT CVT does not have a manual mode (i.e., no paddle shifters). It has (D)rive and (L)ow; no (M)anual selection.

    The Limited and Touring (and all XT models) have an X-mode that should help with off road situations.
  • The CrossTrek is nice and very popular, but the power-to-weight ratio is lower than the Forester, it has less cargo space, the mileage is only marginally better, the ride is rougher and the price is the same.

    I like the look of the CrossTrek, and would be very tempted if it had the 2.5 motor, but the 2.0 is just a little weak for the weight.

    I live in the west and do a lot of driving in the mountains, so every bit of power is used.
  • As I understand it, the (L)ow mode of the standard CVT basically makes it so the transmission enables engine braking in downhill situations.
  • fandangofandango Posts: 18
    edited October 2013
    I think I'm going to get the 2.5 Premium 6M.

    I've done the calculations of the transmission and final drive gear ratios, and the 2014 Forester equipped with the 6M transmission is geared slightly lower in first gear than the CVT (at its low end) due to the final drives used.

    Roughly speaking, in 1st/low, for each revolution of the driveline, the manual transmission Forester travels 5.7 inches while the CVT version travels about 6.5 inches.

    For my purposes, the lower gearing is more important than the slight gas mileage benefit of the higher geared CVT version.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    edited February 8
    For off-roading I would strongly recommend the turbo XT model. The power is much better suited for off road driving - much more power down low in the rev range, which is critical when climbing hills off road. Plus you get paddle shifters and X-Mode.

    The non-turbo will be "okay," while the turbo will be "excellent."

    Bob
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,721

    For winter driving, be sure to replace the XT's Bridgestone Duelers with Nokian WRG2/WRG3 as the Bridgestone tires perform poorly on ice.

  • highalthighalt Posts: 4

    Great advice on the tires. I live at 7800 feet and have steep mountain roads and driveway (who needs Disneyland) to negotiate. Also would like something not as off-road capable as my Jeep Rubicon I'm selling but able to safely drive back roads in mountains. Test drove the 2014 Forester XT the other day and really liked it but have been advised against turbo's by friend who is Subaru mechanic. However, from what I've read on other posts, methinks he's thinking of the pre-2011 models. BTW got a price of $30,601 ($1000 off inv) before taxes, DMV, Doc fees from Reno dealer. Any comments/advice on any/all of this would be much appreciated.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663

    @highalt said: Great advice on the tires. I live at 7800 feet and have steep mountain roads and driveway (who needs Disneyland) to negotiate. Also would like something not as off-road capable as my Jeep Rubicon I'm selling but able to safely drive back roads in mountains. Test drove the 2014 Forester XT the other day and really liked it but have been advised against turbo's by friend who is Subaru mechanic. However, from what I've read on other posts, methinks he's thinking of the pre-2011 models. BTW got a price of $30,601 ($1000 off inv) before taxes, DMV, Doc fees from Reno dealer. Any comments/advice on any/all of this would be much appreciated.

    I've got a 2009 WRX with over 92K and have not had any problems with the turbo or the engine. Also, turbos lose less power at altitude than non-turbos.

    It's like anything else: if you follow the maintenance schedule, change the oil, you won't have any problems.

    Bob

  • fandangofandango Posts: 18

    @kurtamaxxxguy said: For winter driving, be sure to replace the XT's Bridgestone Duelers with Nokian WRG2/WRG3 as the Bridgestone tires perform poorly on ice.

    FYI, my 2014 Premium Forester came equipped with Yokohama Geolanders

  • fandangofandango Posts: 18

    I ended up getting a CVT-equipped Premium model 2014 Forester. Last week I took it on an extended trip into the desert around Death Valley and did a fair amount of jeep road exploring -- Hanaupah Canyon, Sperry Wash, Hunter Mountain Road...etc. I was very happy with the crawling and steep-start performance. There are only a few times I have occasionally missed having a manual transmission. To an amazing degree, the CVT is tuned right and performs very well.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663

    @fandango said: I ended up getting a CVT-equipped Premium model 2014 Forester. Last week I took it on an extended trip into the desert around Death Valley and did a fair amount of jeep road exploring -- Hanaupah Canyon, Sperry Wash, Hunter Mountain Road...etc. I was very happy with the crawling and steep-start performance. There are only a few times I have occasionally missed having a manual transmission. To an amazing degree, the CVT is tuned right and performs very well.

    Congrats! Enjoy the new ride.

    Bob

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