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Forester Turbo in 1 year

steve281steve281 Posts: 26
edited March 25 in Subaru
Hi people,

I'm considering buying a 2003 Forester or waiting 1 year for the Turbo model. Can I get some opinions? I live in Boulder Co, and need some kind of car now. I drive safely- and safety is my priority, not speed, so I wonder if in certain specific situations if I'll have more lattitude with the turbo model such as: when I'm merging onto the highway, or when I'm the second car about to make a left-hand turn when the light turns green and have a split second to do it, or a split second to weave through traffic. Will I do better in these 0-20 or 20-65 mph situations with a turbo with regard to my quick response and therefore safety? The flip side is will the turbo display somewhat of a lack of control and therfore be counterproductive toward safety- not to mention possibly overheat sometimes and be a mechanical burden? Is the current Subaru good, or lacking in such response?

Finally, if it seems that I should wait a year before making that big purchase is it best to a. lease for 1 year until then b. just buy a new Forester and trade up c. buy a used and trade up. Safety-wise the 03 is clearly better than the prior models, I think, however, I wonder if I'd take more of a "bluebook" hit by not going with a used model temporarily?

Thanks so much folks, you know quite a bit on this board
Best wishes


  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49
    Steve. Take for a test drive a current model of Forester and you won't be disappointed.

    I tested 2003 WRX Turbo and found it way to light for the turbo. I had the same point like you are, safety comes first. (Note that Forester turbo will have identical turbo as WRX). So I bought 2003 Forester XS Premium with AT. Driving on California freeways with its uphill entrances sometimes take a split second delay, but I am always able to enter the freeway traffic with a speed of 50 MPH or even higher. Engine of current Forester is nice and cruising on freeway is easy. Driving at 70 MPH is a pleasure.

    I took my Forester for a few time already to Lake Tahoe (about the same alttitude as Denver, CO) and never had problem. Engine was rev at 3500 RPM with 4 adults and 1 child on board, plus about 100 lbs of luggage.

    Hope this will help you in making a right choice. Good luck. Leo
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,652
    Maybe, maybe not.

    Forester turbos overseas have had re-tuned WRX engines, with better down-low power, but less maximum horsepower. There also a persistent rumor of a 2.5 turbo that may go in the Forester.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Depends on what engine they use.

    A small turbo, like the 2.0l in the WRX, may lag a bit and actually make a heavier Forester less safe than a 2.5l in quick response situation. A turbo has to spool up, you need a load and revs to make power.

    We're hoping for a 2.5l light-pressure turbo, and that would be perfect. In that case I'd say wait, but forced induction works wonders at altitude, and you're in Colorado!

    The turbo should arrive in June, it's not worth buying a new car to keep for 7 months. Buy a beater, or something that could become your 2nd car next year.

    If you decide against a turbo, get an XS model for the rear LSD and rear disc brakes with EBD, for added safety. All models have ABS, AWD, and side air bags that even protect from head injuries.

    I love my '98 Forester, and I keep saying I'll get a turbo when they come out, but it'll be hard to part with mine.

  • Thankyou so much people,

    Thanks, I'm grateful for your feedback. Believe it or not I wouldn't even want to be in a vehicle without side airbags, so which would be less expensive, just buying an 03 Forrester and trading up to a Turbo- that's if it seems like the right Turbo, or leasing? How much would each cost for 1 year- the loss in cash I'd take selling a 1 yr. old 03 Forrester if I decide to trade up to an 04, vs. leasing 1 year and turning it in? Do I get from you people that the 03 will be adequate for most in city and merging situations?
  • Dear Juice,

    I don't understand about forced induction- are you implying that because of the altitude even the lighter 2.0 turbo would be effective in colorado- or that a non-turbo engine would be fine here as a result of that? The bottom line is that is the currently designed Forrester going to do fine in the situations I delineated anyway..I don't pass very much on the highway, It'll be more city driving, though boulder has many incity expressways where you'll drive 55, and also merging? Also, in an article recently appearing here from somone who writes for car magazines and takes photos, didn't she imply the turbo wouldn't be available until late 03 or early 04..are you fairly certain I could purchase one by June?
    Thanks again
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    A turbo doesn't run out of "juice" as much as a normally aspirated engine does at high altitude.

  • lspivalspiva Posts: 49
    Steve. Base on my knoweledge of the vechicle values, I would expect that 03 Forester will lose approximatelly $6K to $8K in one year alone from the out-the-door price. If you need a car for just one year, $6K to $8K lost is way to much (at least more that I would want to pay). Honestly, I never saw any exct information when Forester Turbo will arive in US automarket (it could be July 03 or even later). It all depends on a sales of the current 03 Forester model. If sales result will be brisk, Subaru may potpone release of the Turbo verion for another few months and instead of June-July 03, they might decide to go for October-November 03. Believe it or not, I would not want to buy a Turbo version of the car (just my previous unplesant expirience with my previous Volvo 740 Turbo Intercooler).
  • Dear Ispeva..and all others,

    Thankyou for that feedback. Can I assume that you had mechanical/repair difficulty with your turbo? Is this something that happens with them frequently? I wonder how the existing Forester Turbos have fared outside of this brings me back to the first point- is a Turbo
    going to be a plus for normal driving situations, or not really, and in fact potentially cause problems?

    Thanks again..this is influencing whether I pull the trigger any day on the purchase

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Steve: maybe you can find a slightly used 2003? They have side air bags that even protect the head.

    Or get a basic X model for about $20 grand or so, that'll probalby only lose $3 grand in resale in a year. An XS Premium, for about $24 grand, will probably lose $4-5 grand in value. Of course this depends on the deal you get now.

    My '98 was purchased for $19.2k, and I see current prices 4 years later for $10-12K or so. So I think Leo's numbers are high. Maybe $6-8 grand off MSRP after a year.

    Turbos have a blow-off valve that let off an excess pressure, you even hear a "PSST" when you shift. At altitude, the air is thinner, so the turbo makes use of more of that pressure, since more thin air will fit. You'll hear less of a "psst" but not lose any power.

    A normally aspirated engine will be gasping. A 165hp Forester may feel more like a 125hp Forester. Which will still get you up that hill, just don't plan on passing much.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just did a quick search on Near me prices for a 1998 go from $9995 with 108k miles, to $16k with 13k miles.

    They have 2 2002 Ls for $19k. That's just about what they cost new, though I'm sure they'd negotiate down a little. They also have a bunch of S models for $21-22k. Again, that's close to their original value.

    Keep in mind some of those might be dealers, private party sales will be less.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    You can't really compare turbo problems from "back in the day", to current turbos and other manufacturers turbos.

    For example, one problem on old turbos was the coking of oil. When you stopped the car after a hard drive, the oil would just sit in the turbo instead of circulating. The turbo in the WRX has coolant circulating even when the car is turned off.

    It's hard to speculate on the Forester turbo's power since we don't know how it will be tuned for the U.S. market. Try for a UK perspective.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd buy a turbo in a second. The 2.0l Turbo engine is extremely reliable.

    The clutch on 2002 WRXs was iffy, but it got a force-limiting valve for 2003 that should resolve that, and I hear a new design will come next year.

  • ajacatajacat Posts: 63
    "Thank you for visiting the Subaru Web site and for your interest in Subaru products. There are no plans at this time to offer a turbo Forester in the United States. However, with the other model lines getting more power, it seems as if it would only be a matter of time before the Forester model line gets more power. When or if this will happen, is not yet determined.

    We appreciate that you took the time to give us your comments. We will forward them to our Product Planning Department for their future consideration. In the past, input from our owners has been helpful in initiating changes to our newer models. We hope to continually improve our products and appreciate your recommendations.

    Thanks again for your interest.

    Best wishes,

    John J. Mergen
    Subaru of America, Inc."

    I put a shorter version of this on another board (hi atexieira, aka juice)--what do you all make of it? After reading the UK reviews, I just don't want to wait!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,652
    SOA will not spill the beans on anything until it's been "officially" announced.

  • ajacatajacat Posts: 63
    especially with all the hints they dropped in the later paragraphs...

    here's hoping
  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Yeah, they can't spill the beans. They were sending out a similar letter a year before the WRX was announced. :-)
    This looks promising though:

    "However, with the other model lines getting more power, it seems as if it would only be a matter of time before the Forester model line gets more power. "

  • ajacatajacat Posts: 63
    I thought they might as well go ahead and say it, like they were bustin' at the seams! :)

    I asked them to put me on the mailing list if/when such a vehicle should come onto the market...
  • "no plans at this time" is exactly the response I got one year ago. It is also standard parlance for "we are not authorized to comment". As everyone else has said, the remainder is extremely encouraging, and may indicate that they are still debating which exact engine we will get. In any case it will have more low-end torque than the WRX. Note: for a turbo a manual is always a better fit than an auto transmission.

    Also, I agree that for high altitude a turbo is great (I lived in Denver for a year), and most manufacturer's turbos are very reliable these days (including Subaru and Audi/VW, for example).

    - D
  • Thanks so much for this feedback,

    However, do you feel that the current 2003 is reasonably quick for merging and getting though traffic in daily driving situations
    Or will I have to hesitate a bit- again I don't drive fast, but want enough latitude not to compromise safety..I'm not "power hungry"- actually a novice driver. Also, since I only drive automatic, would a turbo not be viable anyway?
    Thanks so much

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    My wife has the 2.5 4 cyl. Outback (which is heavier than the Forester). Occasionaly, she wishes she had more h.p. in traffic, but 99% of the time the power is more than adequate. The 2.5's have good torque. We live near sea level though and have little hills.

    Are you able to take the kind of test drive where you can really put it through it's paces? I have two dealers about a half hour away that just hand you the keys.

    It's tough to shop for a car that's not even out yet and we don't know the specs of.

This discussion has been closed.