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Outback vs Crosstrek vs Forester

jjdphotographyjjdphotography Posts: 9
edited January 6 in Subaru

Which did you go with and why not the others? I've heard the Outback has a smoother ride over the Forester due to the longer wheelbase. How does the Crosstrek compare to the other two when it comes to ride quality? I know the Forester is a better buy for those who have larger dogs due to it's cargo height.

I sat in all 3 at the local dealership. The seat of the Forester sits the highest which is something I like, but would settle for the Outback (or Crosstrek) if the ride quality is noticeably better. I'd like to hear from those who have more time with these vehicles.

Also, are the AWD systems on these vehicles created equally? I've seen YouTube videos comparing AWD vehicles from different brands and see some are not very functional.

I'm definitely waiting at least for the 2015 models since the Outback is due for a redesign, but may consider a 14 if the 15 does not see much change.

Thanks for any feedback!

I have been a Honda owner for many years. Excited about switching it up :-)

Comments

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 685

    These models differ in cargo capacity and overall length, both of which may determine your choice. Performance 0-60 is best for the Forester, then similar for the Outback and Crosstrek, but the newer CVT like the Forester's will probably show up soon in the Outback. Consumer Reports prefers the Impreza to the Crosstrek for ride and handling reasons.

    You need to drive all three.

  • imaginaryimaginary Posts: 61
    edited January 12

    First of all and most importantly, not all AWD systems are the same. That holds true within even Subaru. Subaru's AWD systems are different from Toyota and Honda for a good reason. And Subaru has different AWD systems for different vehicles in their own lineup depending on transmission and use (performance driving or regular commute).

    As for the AWD systems on the Outback, Crosstrek and Forester: The manual versions get a different AWD system from the automatic/CVT versions. That's what you need to keep in mind when test driving. This is assuming you're talking about model years 2013 and above.

    Sorry for the long post but you asked about AWD systems.

    For your Subaru vs. Toyota vs. Honda in regards to AWD comparisons: This video was uploaded by Subaru (of America) but has been taken down because the part where the narrator says "and this system is standard on every Subaru" doesn't hold true anymore for the United States Domestic Market (USDM) since the BRZ is RWD only. It's also technically not true even without the BRZ being sold in the USDM anyways since, for example, the Forester (whether manual or automatic) still uses a different kind of AWD system compared to other Subaru vehicles of that model year.

    From this video people can easily argue that "well my RAV4/CRV/whatever does great in the snow so this test doesn't matter to me." The people who say that AND buy AWD because they "need" it clearly have no idea what AWD is for. That isn't to be confused with the people who KNOW the AWD system on their Toyota or Honda isn't exactly up to standards but bought the vehicle anyways for other reasons. For example, some people buy the Toyota RAV4 with 4WD and know the AWD system isn't on par with Subaru and they're totally fine with that. There is nothing wrong with that either. Different strokes for different folks. People have their own reasons for buying x car.

    Anyone with a running start or enough momentum can make it up a slippery hill. It's just a matter of if you want the process to be chaotic and dangerous (speeding up a slippery hill is obviously dangerous FYI) or getting up the hill with no drama and how it should be done.

    And just a bit more information about the competitors and what it means as far as their AWD system. Excuse my use of layman terms. The Toyota RAV4 and CR-V AWD systems aren't capable of transferring enough power to the wheels with traction in the above video. On a less of an incline they would be able to but because of the degree of the incline and the amount of power required to turn that wheel WITH traction, they cannot. You'll see one CR-V video debunk this but that video doesn't have the same degree of incline and it is also using a diesel engine which we don't get here in the USDM. Different engine could mean different AWD system.

    For a tiny Honda AWD vs. Subaru AWD comparison: The Pilot needed a running start. It couldn't stop half way on the hill. Stopping half way on the hill is to show the AWD system doesn't (or does in this case) needs a running start in order to make it up the hill. This shows the front to rear wheel power distribution.

    Just like Subaru, Honda may or may not use the same AWD system on their Pilot as they do on their CR-V. You'll have to check around the Internet or your manual for details if you're curious

    The 2014 Subaru Forester XT is capable of a simple task as you can see. No drama is a good thing here.

    Here is a stictly just-Subaru AWD video not showing any competitors. This video provides useful information even if the terms aren't exactly "American."

    Also, please remember that throughout the model years Subaru has used different AWD systems with different components and software. A 2002 Subaru Outback in VDC trim (which stands for vehicle dynamics control and, yes, it was a trim) has a completely different VDC system compared to a 2009 Subaru Outback that comes standard with VDC.

    Don't believe or judge AWD videos too quickly. Some people who film those AWD videos on YouTube have no idea how the system works and don't know how to drive with them in the first place.

    The Mitsibushi was moving fast enough to not get stopped by the fact that he doesn't have enough ground clearance for all that snow. The Subaru Forester didn't have enough momentum which is why he kept trying over and over until he basically became his own snow plow. Eventually he had enough momentum. A lot of people also think they need to let off the gas because they might dig themselves in to deep. Just like the just-Subaru AWD video said, you have to keep on the gas sometimes. Otherwise the system can't fully work. You have to give the system a bit more time to find traction sometimes with the various types of terrain.

    Other timers if you keep on the gas too much, you will dig yourself in too much. Hopefully it's just snow and you can eventually row back and forth to get out. If it's mud you should be prepared for that kind of terrain. So it really is almost all about the driver knowing what to do and when as well as being knowledgeable about their own vehicle.

    Whoever made that line up is obviously, for lack of better term, just plain ignorant. The only reason why that Ranger made it so far is because of 1.) the running start, 2.) the driver actually floored it and kept on the gas while going up the hill, and 3.) the tires. This video is all about ground clearance and tires. It has little to do with any of the drivetrains.

  • Thank you for the information & posting the videos. What is the difference in the AWD system with a manual and CVT? My wife is really interested in the Crosstrek and I am leaning toward the Forester (waiting to see the 15 Outback). These will be brand new models we purchase. She actually was leaning toward a manual tranny and has not eliminated either. I just can't see any benefits besides cost for the manual. The CVT I test drove in the 14 Forester was really smooth, said to have better MPG, and no remote start on the manual.

    Thanks again and I look forward to a response on the AWD system.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724

    @jjdphotography said: Thank you for the information & posting the videos. What is the difference in the AWD system with a manual and CVT? My wife is really interested in the Crosstrek and I am leaning toward the Forester (waiting to see the 15 Outback). These will be brand new models we purchase. She actually was leaning toward a manual tranny and has not eliminated either. I just can't see any benefits besides cost for the manual. The CVT I test drove in the 14 Forester was really smooth, said to have better MPG, and no remote start on the manual.

    Thanks again and I look forward to a response on the AWD system.

    They're both very good systems. The manual has a fixed front/rear power split of 50/50 and uses a viscous center coupling. The CVT uses a clutch pack and the power split is variable, constantly changing depending on driving conditions. I recently read that the default front/rear power split on the CVT is 60/40. On earlier 4EAT models it was 80/20 or 90/10 depending on year.

    I would base your decision more on whether you want a manual or automatic, and not the AWD system.

    Bob

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 685

    _ I recently read that the default front/rear power split on the CVT is 60/40. On earlier 4EAT models it was 80/20 or 90/10 depending on year_.

    Bob, Where is that information available? Dave

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724

    @saedave said: _ I recently read that the default front/rear power split on the CVT is 60/40. On earlier 4EAT models it was 80/20 or 90/10 depending on year_.

    Bob, Where is that information available? Dave

    As I recall it was on a European Subaru site or other market site. It wasn't SOA that mentioned it.

    Bob

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