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Subaru Forester vs Mitsubishi Outlander



  • Hi Silver,

    I own a 2002 Subaru Forester, I love the AWD system, and the car was flawless for the first 78,000 then it aquired a head gasket leak, known problem. May you have a same situation in yours? maybe.. service guy says its common the way the engine is designed for this to happen... but there are people that go 150K to 200K and I don't think have the issue, its hit or miss, but the car has been wonderful, fun to drive! I dont know if a Mitsubishi will be as good, subaru has proven there AWD system to be ultra reliable. would I buy a forester again? probably cause its great in the winter, or on even any condition. I like the outlander exterior, but I dont know if other companies can make a AWD that will not have problems, I think AWD is something new to Mitsubishi, Subaru has been doing it for many many years.. just my input. Ron
  • First of all AWD is defiantly not something new to Mitsubishi since they have been building them since 1934 compared to 1972 when the first AWD subaru was built. Mitsubishi has had AWD in many vehicles including the most obvious the EVO which being based on the Lancer platform shares a similar (if not the same) AWD system as the outlander (also based on the lancer platform)

    I would go as far to say that Mitsubishi probably has the most reliable and technically advanced AWD system for passenger vehicles. Towards Mitsubishi's reliability is the fact that they have just won for the 11th time the Paris-Dakar rally which is recognized to be one of the toughest if not the toughest tests on the competing vehicles. Mitsubishi have also won the Safari Rally (known as the car breaker) at least 5 times. My Dad also owned an RVR Turbo (previous generation Airtrek which is what the outlander is called where i'm from)which he had no problems with reliability wise (as petrol increased though he had to get rid of it as it cost too much to run) and dealt with our icy conditions with ease.

    The Subaru AWD system I have much less faith in as I have heard from some friends in Australia that they seem to go through clutches pretty quickly and the gearbox isn't the strongest. The AWD system isn't the problem if you were to go for a subaru though (not just the forester but any with the EJ- series engine)it is the engine which is very complex (quad cam and it needs two heads) meaning maintenance and repairs can be costly as it can easily take over an hour to do something as simple as replacing the spark plugs (my friend who was having trouble with his legacy wagon where he had to do this often got it down to 40mins).

    The reliability of the engine I don't have much faith in either because when my friend who was working as a mechanic at the subaru dealership got told by his boss that if he was to buy a subaru that he can pretty much chuck it out as it gets to 100,000km (60,000 miles) because at that stage they will most likely need a rebuild. Also from some people I know that had Subarus they didn't last very long including my Mothers boss who had an almost new Legacy RSK B4 which in the space of a year had the gearbox break, then the turbos broke and after that it blew a head gasket, over heated and did internal damage to his engine.

    Personally I would go for an outlander but wait for the 2007 version, 2.4l 4 cylinder or 3.0L V6 depending on your needs but even though what I've heard of the V6 is tempting for a first car I could only recommend the 2.4 as it still has plenty of power (multiple times more than my 1st car)

    I have to say though that I have limited 1st hand knowledge of subarus (driven a WRX, Justy and a Legacy) and maybe they have sorted their reliability (which may be environment related as I live in a reasonably cold part of NZ and our roads aren't the greatest) and the subaru may be what you want which is what it all comes down to. You should test drive both and see which you prefer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're talking about 4WD, not AWD, both in terms of heritage and the Dakar Rally. They have little in common with the AWD system in the Outlander. Nothing, actually.

    AWD didn't appear until Audi pioneered it in the early 80s.

    Plugs on a Legacy are very easy, I can do them in less than half that time. Your friend has it completely backwards, the plugs are harder on the Forester, since the engine bay is more narrow. It still doesn't take nearly 40 minutes, though.

    Your post contains a lot of other mistakes so I don't even know where to start (DOHC was only up to '98, Forester has been SOHC since then).

    Pick up a copy of CR and you'll see that the Forester is well ahead of the Outlander in reliability. In fact, Forester is one of their Good Bets among used cars for consistently being among the most reliable vehicles on the road. Outlander has never made that list.

    That data is a lot more significant than the empirical data you present.

  • That really Depends on your definition of AWD then doesn't it? as AWD describes A whole bunch of Different drivetrains and many people give you different definitions and is really these days a marketing tool.

    but.. if you mean AWD being a full time system then your post would contain as many mistakes as mine as Audi wasn't the first to use AWD as you suggest. Audi pioneered AWD in rally cars yes (notice that some people call the first group B Quattro 4wd) but AWD vehicles had been on the road before then (in 1966 the Jensen FF is known as the worlds first AWD production vehicle). Then in 1983 mitsubishi would have built an AWD vehicle in the Group B starion (could have made some before that but I don't know) and still are known to have considerable experience in AWD through WRC.

    When I mentioned Paris-Dakar in my post It was talking about Mitsubishi's reliability in general in which the outlander does benefit from the competition. Below is a quote from an article which shows how it benefits from Mitsubishi's Rally/Raid experience.

    "It speaks well for the Outlander that its chassis is stout enough to handle a 240-hp turbocharged engine in a version of the Outlander in Japan called the Airtrek. Mitsubishi has done exceptionally well in international rally and endurance racing, with the Lancer Evo and with the Pajero (sold in North America as the Montero) sport utility vehicle that has dominated the Paris-Dakar marathon race for so many years. The Outlander benefits from such body-strengthening techniques as MASH seam welding and what Mitsubishi calls its RISE design (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution). The 2002 Lancer sedan on which the Outlander is based earned a Good rating, the highest possible, in the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety crash-testing program and was listed as the best pick in the small car class."

    Plugs on a Legacy are Very Easy?? I don't think so even if you can do them in around 20mins I would hardly call that Very Easy as it only takes me 5-10 minutes, now I would call that easy.

    I did not know that the forester was SOHC but the engine is still complex for a 4 cylinder and towards the end of my post I said that the reliability of the forester may be good and subaru may build reliable vehicles I was just commenting on my experience and my friends experience with their Subarus (mostly legacys).

    I'm sorry but I have no Idea what a CR is so I can't really comment on the results but I can on the last line of your post. Whether that data is more significant is subjective as that data (i'm assuming some motoring magazine or survey) is also empirical (as pretty much any data you could get from a vehicle is :D )
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    CR = Consumer Reports

    tidester, host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess what I look for, when you reference racing, is some sort of commonality with the street cars. So the Impreza WRC car may have little to do with the WRX, but the Group N rally car is actually very similar, basically an STI with a roll cage.

    Subaru used the Forester in Reconnaisance runs for their toughest rallies, specifically Kenya. Just this year they moved to Tribecas. So at least there is some history there. Foresters also run in SCCA Rally Cross all the time.

    Audi was a pioneer whether they were first or not, because they pushed the envelope and popularized AWD cars.

    Outlander gets 17/20 total stars in NHTSA tests, while Forester gets a perfect 20/20. Forester also does better in IIHS frontal and offset tests (Good and Best Pick, respectively). So the MASH and RISE acronyms really aren't that significant.

    Plugs take 20 minutes if you use anti-sieze and a torque wrench to do it to exact specifications. That's not something I rush. Besides, I don't use a stop watch, since I'm doing a lot of other things at the same time (air filter, fuel filter, oil change, etc).

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I looked at both of these when I purchased my Outlander and I really liked both. I am a huge fan of Subaru, but didn't purchase one mainly because the Subaru dealer in my city is about 20 miles from my house, on the busiest road, and not in the best part of town.

    We actually have 3 Mitsubishi dealers in my area (at least for now), and one happens to be right down the road from my workplace. The one down the street from my workplace has been around for many years, and is known in the community for having an excellent service department. The other thing I like about the Outlander is the 2.4L engine. It isn't the strongest engine in the world by any means, but it does well. I know 2 other people that have owned Mitsubishi products in the past with this same engine, and both people kept them for over 125,000 miles with no problems (and these individuals are pretty slack when it comes to maintenance).

    Regarding the AWD, most of my driving has been on normal roads, but I have had it on mountain trails before and had no problems. Not once have I felt the car lose traction on any surface, nor has the rear gotten squirrelly.

    If the Subaru dealer network in my local area was better, I may very well have purchased the Subaru. However, I believe no matter what brand the car is (even Honda), warranty issues will probably come up, and I don't want the added inconvenience of having to drive a long ways to get it to a dealer.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    If the Subaru dealer network in my local area was better, I may very well have purchased the Subaru. However, I believe no matter what brand the car is (even Honda), warranty issues will probably come up, and I don't want the added inconvenience of having to drive a long ways to get it to a dealer.

    Well I hope for your sake that Misubishi works thru its financial issues and stays in business for a while longer :D

    FYI, I've been a Subaru owner for 6 years now and during that time, I've only had to make 2 trips to the dealer for warranty work.

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    "Well I hope for your sake that Misubishi works thru its financial issues and stays in business for a while longer "

    My Outlander is out of warranty now, so I really don't care what happens to them. I plan to keep the car until it dies (will be used as a 3rd car for lake trips and bad weather driving), so resale doesn't concern me. Thanks to the internet, I should always be able to find any parts and instructions needed for repairs (and I am lucky to have been born with at least a little mechanical ability).

    I just find it pretty sad that in my area, I can find 3 Mitsubishi (poor old struggling Mitsubishi) dealers within 15 miles of my house (in 3 different directions), but yet there is only 1 Subaru dealer, and it is 20 miles away in a crappy location.

    I am glad that you have only had 2 warranty issues in 6 years (I really am happy for you, and not trying to be sarcastic). However, I have a relative that has had multiple issues in 3 years with his WRX. That isn't to say that I believe all Subarus are that way (again, I like Subaru), I just believe that with ANY make, it is a crap shoot with what you are going to get. I guess I am just a "glass half empty" kind of guy, so I try to buy my vehicles from dealers that are convenient to get to for any warranty work that may arise.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I agree that regardless of manufacturer, there's always a chance you'll end up with a :lemon: However, I think you can minimize the odds of that happening by choosing brands with proven reliablity track records.

    As to why there are 3 Mitsu dealers near your house but only one Sube, I can only hazard to guess that you live in an area that doesn't fit the Subaru demographic (either the snowbelt or mountains).

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    made up her mind by now, it is just hopeless. :)
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016
    I dunno - I'm on a ten year replacement cycle and I spend a year or more kicking tires. :blush:

    Steve, Host

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    my wife and I have been debating between the Element, New Grand Vitara, Endeavor, Trailblazer, and Tacoma (I know, all over the board with this group). Hoping to pull the trigger on something by July. Every time we decide on one, we change our mind.
  • krustykrusty Posts: 1
    If you are a family of more than two, the element has poor passenger accomodations. room for only two and egress involving a complicated procedure of opening the front door and unhooking the front shoulder belt before opening the rear half door. High wind noise due to boxy shape, rubber floor is not truly waterproof enough to "hose out". Unimpressive fuel economy for a small 4 cylander engine. the intended demographic was the teenagers who instead bought scion XB's. I actually loved the concept but felt that it failed in execution. Sometimes when you go out on a limb, the limb breaks. My cousin has a trailblazer it's electrics fail if he drives through a puddle. The susuki is the favorite of people who tow their cars behind an RV. it has special features that make it an excellent tender. I have read that they are not very comfortable for a long trip. If you are going to tow anything big or plow snow you are limited to the trailblazer with its full size ladder frame or the more reliable tacoma. current incarnations of the endeavor and vitara may have a third row seat option but it will probobly only be tolerable for children. lastly, both mitsubishi and general motors are in dire staits and I'm sure their products will suffer.Good luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Looks like a smaller V6 with 220hp, which sounds good. I'll probably check one out when they arrive, for kicks.

  • suv4betsysuv4betsy Posts: 38
    ..all over the map.. consider Tacoma best choice given your list, I own one prior model, my seats lack comfort though.

    Endeavor uses premium fuel $$$
  • I bought my Outlander in 2003. I have driven it hard for 6 years and 144,000 miles. Not one thing has gone wrong with this car yet. I rented a Subaru Forrester for a week. It's not a bad vehicle but it has too much road noise while on the highway. The ride isn't quite as smooth as the Outlander either. I did like it but it isn't as roomy, smooth or quiet. Overall I would say the Outlander is nicer but they are very similar.
  • myk384myk384 Posts: 9
    In Top Gear Philippines' latest comparisons. The Subaru wins.
This discussion has been closed.