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Subaru XT Turbo Forester

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Comments

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Jake: Before I ordered my XT, I spent four or five hours in an '03 XS 5-speed. It was a great little car. On the basis of that experience, and in anticipation of the XT's substantially higher performance, I ordered my 5-speed XT. Before it arrived, an automatic XT came in and I test-drove it. Now, having lived with my 5-speed XT for about a month and a half, I think my objectives might have been better met by either the XT automatic or the XS 5-speed. Either alternative would have avoided the unfortunate results from pairing the 4.44 final drive with the WRX's transmission ratios.

    Obviously you've read posts here by others who are ecstatic with that combination. Unfortunately, I'm not. I would have very much preferred the XT 5-speed with the 3.9 axle, giving much-more-relaxed, quieter, higher-MPG highway cruising while still undoubtedly knocking off 0-60 in 5.7 to 5.8 seconds. I also would have preferred the basic Forester's gearbox ratios, which narrow the WRX's huge gap between 1st and 2nd.

    To each his own...

    Jack
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Swampy: Here I am in Portland (famous for drizzles, downpours, moss, mold, mildew, and rust) - and after nearly 6 weeks in my XT, there hasn't been even a single raindrop. I'm dying to to experience my new ride's wet-pavement roadholding. I'm beginning to think if I want rain I'll get it quicker if I drive to down to Death Valley.

    jb
  • akasrpakasrp Posts: 170
    jb laments: I'm beginning to think if I want rain I'll get it quicker if I drive to down to Death Valley .

    right you are jb! past few days have seen huge monsoonal rains, flash floods and tornadic winds. Counted 50 trees down in my extended neighborhood.
    This is Subaru Country! <g>.
    Thanks for your take on the AT vs MT. I'll tell you I'm so freakin' sold on the XT.

    Anybody want to advise on essential options. I'm thinking armrest/filter/net group; splash guards/cargo tray/bumper cover group; and diff protector. I can always do hitch later as well as research bike racks.
    Am I missing anything obvious?

    -srp
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    srp: I skipped the diff protector, as I'm unlikely to venture into territory that would require it. Otherwise, your list is exactly what I specified, plus the $33 (invoice) rubber floor mats. And I specifically deleted the pointless, expensive spoiler (unless you want this, you have to catch an inbound XT before it arrives; that's when the holes get drilled and this unnecessary and costly eyesore gets bolted onto just about every XT). Then I splurged and added the $200 column-mount boost gauge. It's worth the price just for the entertainment value.

    jb
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I also pulled the H4 headlamp bulbs last weekend and put in a set of Philips Vision+50 bulbs instead. They're nothing like the phony "fake-HID" bulbs with their adolescent, light-robbing blue tint. These are serious, clear (non-tinted) bulbs that actually provide a worthwhile gain in nightime visibility (unlike the fakes). $29 a pair.

    This weekend, I'll yank the awful beepbeep stock horns and replace them with louder, better-sounding Fiamm Highway Blasters.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    "Competition Though our Best Buys, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Mazda Tribute don't offer true off-road ability, they do mix ride comfort, cargo capacity, and versatility with all-weather traction."

    Huh? And the Forester doesn't?

    "The V6 Tribute/Escape offers more power, comfort, and space than any in its class."

    Comfort is subjective and the Triscape does have 7% more cargo space but somebody needs to recheck their power figures cause the XT will blow the doors off a V6 Triscape.

    And I'm assuming that Consumer Guide doesn't care about reliability. Otherwise there's no way the Triscape gets rated as a "Best Buy"

    -Frank P.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Jack:

    The Philips Vision Plus is a great bulb, isn't it? I have them in my 98 Forester and LOVE them. I'm glad to know that the MY04 still uses H4 since the Philips only are available in that size and H1 & H7.

    There is a tiny bit of tint on the Vision Plus at the tips, no?

    Ken
  • Ken, Jack:
    Appreciate the responses. Unfortunately, an MT is out of the question (wife hates 'ems, and it's bad karma to have a trany both spouses can't use), but I agree with Jack, AT is superb. I'd think hard if you need a MT with such a fine AT. If you want to race, MT is mandatory, but that's not me.
     
    Today my wife and I tested an XS and XT (side by side), both ATs. Vehicles were fast off the line, which was a big improvement over 2003 XS w/AT that I tested a few months ago. 2003 hesitated for some time before it moved, a deal killer for me. He who hesitates gets squashed. But the XT AT is sweet: I sailed through gears. Responsive, smooth, and lots of torque, low rpm torque. Engine hardly sweated.
     

    Unfortunately I did find a serious (for me) issue with the XT, but nothing to do with turbos or AT, at least directly. I did a slow slolom, XS vs XT. Did 20 and 30 mph on a figure 8 and a lot of sharp turns at 20 to 30 mph (a rectanglar patch of a big deserted parking lot at a park, empty...).
     
    Surprised to find the XT handled less compliantly and securely than the XS. XT felt more "top heavy" than XS, had more body roll, esp on sharp turns on the rectangular coarse.

    Dealer had pressures for both XS and XT at 38 psi so I lowered pressures a couple pounds at a time, then repeated the slolom. At each psi, XS handled better than XT. I was disappointed to see this.

    Also I did some wet handling drives (storm rolled through). Once again, XS bested XT. XT handled as if it were an Outback, not bad but not a Forester. Also checked handling on braking from high speeds. XS felt more controlled and secure. XS seemed closer to my 2000S, handled like it was on rails.

    I mentioned my handling experiences to the dealer and he said that staff who'd compared XT with XS felt the XT just didn't handle as well. A salesman joked that SOA recommends the XT on straight roads only: dragstrips. I hope not.

    I'm wondering if Subaru alters weight distribution on the XT and then slaps on a standard XS Forester suspension, which messes with handling. Don't know the "whys", only what I saw. I saw a turbo AT that I like a lot but I'm not sure if the cost includes sacrificing excellent handling for acceleration.

    If anyone has had a chance to compare handling, of XS and XT (w/ATs), I'd be very interested in what you found.
      
    Sorry for the long post,
    Jake
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    you sure did an exhaustive test on both. i took both of them out for the usual circuit, throwing the cars side to side, also braking under duress and did not notice a difference. the only differences i really noticed was accelertion which my wife demands.

    i did not drive a 5 speed ( a man has to know his limititations on the powers of going crazy and buying something and having the wife shoot me ) because the wife said no stick ( even though she knows how to drive one ). but the real breaker was the wife told be to complete a deal as she took off on a 3 day business trip. on her first late night at the hotel, she read the car and driver review of the xt and changed her mine to get the 5 speed. BUT SHE FORGOT TO RING ME THE NEXT DAY ugh. i love the stories within stories.

    anyways, the next 9 days have rain in the forecast and i am a happy camper...
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Ken says, "The Philips Vision Plus is a great bulb, isn't it?"

    Definitely. I had a slight preference for the newer Osram Silverstar (unlike the U.S. Sylvania Silverstar, which is the same bulb but with the brain-dead blue tint). However, the Philips and Osram are functionally very similar, and I found a bit lower price on the Philips.

    ..."There is a tiny bit of tint on the Vision Plus at the tips, no?"

    Yes. I asked Daniel Stern (a bona fide lighting expert - I highly recommend his website) about that. He replied that the very thin blue ring on the Philips (immediately aft of the dark tip) is in a region of the tube that doesn't put any light onto the reflector. Therefore, according to Daniel, that thin blue band has no effect - doesn't help, doesn't hinder. The problem is when the entire glass tube gets a blue tint, as on the silly fake "HID-lookalike" bulbs that are all the rage among those who don't know better.

    jb
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Jake says, "MT is out of the question (wife hates 'ems, and it's bad karma to have a trany both spouses can't use),"

    I faced (and faced down) the same opposition. When I met my wife 25 years ago, the car she owned had a stick shift (a Subaru, coincidentally). Obviously, she knew how to drive one. However, her preference changed, and every car she has purchased since then was automatic. But I owned a variety of manual transmissions during those years, and she drove them all. Ergo, she's perfectly capable of driving a stick, just no longer LIKES to. I, on the other hand, was grudgingly stuck with an automatic for the last six years (her '91 minivan) - and hated it. After considerable discussion, I decided that so long as my wife is free to specify her transmission of choice in the cars she selects (in other words, I won't impose my priorities on her car), and so long as she's not flatly incapable of driving a stick (clearly not the case), then there is absolutely no compelling reason why BOTH cars in a 2-car family absolutely must comply with her preference for an automatic, or why my preference for a 5-speed in the car I mainly drive ought to be disregarded. End of story.

    As for your comments about the XT's handling, the XT definitely is a bit more nose-heavy than the X/XS, and apparently Subaru made no changes in the suspension to compensate for that. It's too bad there's no room in the tail to relocate the battery back there, because that would rebalance nicely.

    The handling issue is not a big deal for me, because I'm a few decades past the point where I used to frequently drive really hard through the twisty bits. My XT does exhibit a bit more body lean than I'd like, though, so I might perform a quite inexpensive mod by substituting a stiffer rear stabilizer bar. This would have two beneficial effects: It would diminish the roll, and it would shift the chassis' roll stiffness balance toward the rear. This would handily compensate for the XT's extra nose weight, and ought to shift the handling closer to pure neutral - maybe even to mild oversteer with a stiff enough rear bar.

    So: If you like pretty much everything else about the XT except for the handling, I'd recommend you consider this mod. I don't know the cost, but a do-it-yourselfer can probably pull it off for under a hundred bucks - a pittance compared to the car's cost. Otherwise, I'm guessing you'll regret choosing the XS and foregoing the XT's wonderful rush.

    jack
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Jake:

    You certainly have an understanding dealer that lets you test side-to-side. Your report on the XS and XT was very interesting. Did either of them have the premium package with the moonroof? I'm wondering if that affected the weight balance. From what I can tell in the specs, the XT is not much heavier than the XS so I'm puzzled by the difference in handling you observed. Perhaps the CG in the XT is higher due to the added equipment of the turbo and intercooler.

    Jack:

    I guessed the blue was more for form than function. It does cast a blue light in the reflector housing giving it a bit of the poseur HID bulbs.

    Ken
  • on a side note...

    i was wondering if anyone knew of any sites to purchase subaru rally apparel? i'm looking for the 555 sponsorship rally t-shirt, but can seem to find it.

    also -- i've enjoyed reading the posts. looking forward to the day when i'll be able to get my XT.

    cheers!
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    There are several places to get Subaru rally apparel. SoA's marketing partner, L.L. Bean, sells Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) and some Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) apparel through the SoA website, http://www.subaru.com/outdoorlife/llbean/index.jsp

    Bean's SWRT apparel range is limited but comes in US sizes that may be more familiar to you.

    The SWRT has its own apparel shop which carries a wider range of clothing as well as other doodads like keychains, coffee mugs, diecast replaics of the cars, etc. See http://store.swrt.com

    It ships out of the UK and the dollar is still down against the British pound and the Euro so costs to North America are higher. Size are also European so can run small for us big Americans.

    Hope this helps.

    Ed
  • uvdavaruvdavar Posts: 11
    Can some one tell me if the back seat has enough room for three adults or would it be a tight squeeze for the middle person.

    Urmez
  • Jack,
    Your're right about giving up power for handling, I would miss it. But it's a big issue in ND where winter lasts 6 months. Roads during that time are anything from glare ice to slush to hardpack with every variation of snow. Handling is an important consideration for me. I appreciate your comment on possible fixes for XT bodyroll and brake dive.

    I'm not a do-it-yourselfer. As for getting custom work on a Forester, ND ain't the place. I live in Road Rhino(Suburban, Excursion) country. Grateful to have a Subaru dealer "only" 90 miles away.
      

    Ken,
    You asked what it was I was looking for, in reply to an earlier post of mine. Short answer is a safe and reliable vehicle for a small city (50K) with a huge variation in seasonal road conditions.

    My 2000 S has met this need, "off the shelf", for four years. It rated above average for emergency handling, and excellent for routine handling, from Consumer Reports' test course in 2000. It's lived up to those high ratings during four years of hard driving on mud, ice, and snow.

    Subsequent Foresters dropped a notch (routine and emergency handling) in CR's annual rating. Seems Subaru tweaked later model's suspension & steering and handling suffered. That might be changing.

    The 2004 XS I drove handled almost well as my 2000 The steering seemed a bit more weighted, the "road feel" better. Only slight body roll. No brake dive at all on the one I tested. I wish I could say the same for the XT I drove.
     
    I'll buy a 2004 Forester. Many improvements have been made in 4 years. I like larger disc brakes & EBD: quicker stops, less brake fade. I like large SABs and passenger compartment reinforcements. If you run with Road Rhino you will need every crash protection you can get. Now Subaru has introduced turbo Foresters, the better for outrunning Rhino.

    For me, the only question is: "deep breather", or "great dancer"? XT or XS?
     
    I hope Subaru implements Jack's advice. I see no reason why they wouldn't want XTs to handle with the same agility as an XS. If a fix is simple SOA dealers could retrofit existing XTs. I would like to hear a SOA representive response to this.
     
    Jake
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Jake,

    Now I'm confused. My wife's from East Dakota (AKA northwest Minnesota). Your part of the country certainly gets its share of slush, glare ice, and snow. But I assumed your earlier observations about the X/XT handling were about a a dry-pavement test drive. I'm not sure how those comments relate to the winter conditions that logically are your greatest concern. Body lean is a phenomenon that directly relates to lateral acceleration, and thus it's mainly something you experience on dry roads. It's hard to work up enough lateral acceleration on wet pavement (let alone snow or ice) to lean a body very much. On ice or snow, the limits of tire adhesion would be so low that you'll slide long before you'd get more than negligible amounts of body lean. Under those conditions, Subaru's outstanding AWD system would be far more important than the extent to which an XT might lean (or handle with slightly less precision) than an X/XS.

    Just my .02 worth.

    jack
  • Ken,
    Neither XS or XT was premium hence no moonroof to bias my test drives. I like moonroofs but at 6'4", they don't like me (reason I don't own an OB VDC, which is wonderful on ice and snow, is my head was just a millimeter away from the moonroof & kissing the OB's A-pillar).

    You're probably right: small shifts in center of gravity may cause significant changes in handling. Perhap that happened with the XT. If so I'd expect Subaru could do a fix through their SOA dealers if it's a simple and "clean" fix (ie cure won't cause a problem elsewhere).

    About my dealer. He opened his franchise in 1999 and I was one of his first customers. He's great.
    And he has a very fine service department. I find his sales staff very accomodating. I do my routine service there, even oil changes. I do this for two reasons: first I'm mechanically inept; second, it provides a good way develop & cement relationships with sales and service. It's a quid pro quo.

    I have driven every Forester & Outback model since 2000, usually while getting an oil change. Dealer knows I will buy when I find enough small changes (eg 2004 XS) or one big improvement (eg VDC OB or Forester XT), over my 2000S.

    He also knows I'm careful. I'm mechanically inept but I'm a good driver and I am meticulous when it comes to vehicle care, or at least I try to be.

    Jake
  • pinngpinng Posts: 10
    I'm not sure if anybody has posted this link before but here it goes:
    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suv/112_0308_frst_subs/

    Not much details but I guess that's what it is: First Drive.

    Pin
  • lbhaleylbhaley Posts: 91
    I now have 2200 miles on my XT MT and I am extremely satisfied with all aspects of this car. I really like the manual transmission. It is smooth and precise and a blast to shift. I have had no problem with the first to second shift once I learned to get the revs up to around 4000 in first before shifting. The engine revs so easily and smoothly that that this doesn't feel the least bit excessive. I guess I am lucky in that my wife also prefers manual transmissions and wouldn't own an automatic. She currently has an 00 V6 Passat manual which she loves. I drove the XT to Vermont this weekend. It is about 135 miles of highway and 15 miles of mountain roads. I set the cruise control on 78 on the highway. I blasted out of a couple of toll booths. and generally had fun. The turbo really shines in the mountains. The road I take goes over a small mountain and becomes very steep as you approach the top. My 98 Forester required third gear just to maintain 45 mph up the steep part. The V6 Passat will maintain 45 in fourth but not accelerate. The XT would smoothly accelerate in fourth any time I wished. It probably would have maintained 45 in fifth but I didn't want to lug it. There was a new V8 pickup truck on my tail when I started up the mountain. By the time I reached the top he was no where to be seem. I also had an opportunity to pass a dump truck in a very short passing zone. I dropped back to third and was by him with room to spare. Even though 5.3 sec 0-60 blasts are fun, the real advantage of the turbo is providing effortless power when you need it. My mileage for the trip was 23.7. This is the first time I have broken 23 mpg. As far as handling is concerned the XT handles better than my 98 Forester S and that is good enough for me. I am very, very satisfied with this car.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Jake:

    My apologies for asking you the same question twice. I'm losing it! ;-D

    Ken
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    ibhaley reports, "I have had no problem with the first to second shift once I learned to get the revs up to around 4000 in first before shifting."

    Mine is opposite: The higher I rev in 1st, the more difficult to rev-match and make a smooth, lurch-free upshift into 2nd without undue concentration. Therefore, when I do use 1st, I tend to upshift at 2,000-2,500, even if I use higher revs on subsequent upshifts. Additionally, while I like the XT's engine note under wide-open throttle, I don't especially like the sound produced under moderate throttle at 3,500 or 4,000 or more in 1st gear. It's unpleasant to my ear, and I avoid it.

    The best all-around solution for me is to skip 1st gear altogether whenever possible.

    ..."My mileage for the trip was 23.7."

    Mine has not yet reached 23mpg on a tankful, driven much less exhuberantly than yours. For example, I've never yet maintained over 70mph for more than a few moments - mainly because I prefer to observe strict break-in routines until 2K miles, and I still have 800 to go.

    ..."I am very, very satisfied with this car."

    I'm at about 70% satisfaction, which is considerably lower than I expected. My many likes: The interior accomodations (both front and rear, now that I've found a position for my seat that still provides acceptable backseat space) are fine for the size of the car. Outward visibility through the tall windows is outstanding (although the sun visors are positioned well below the windshield header, making it difficult to see overhead traffic lights). Ride, handling and braking are meeting my expectations, but might call for stiffer sway bars eventually. The car is delightfully nimble and maneuverable, with a nice tight turning circle. Throttle response is, of course, outstanding at any engine speed above about 1,200-1,500 rpms, although I think pulling power right off idle might be slightly less than in an X/XS. Still, it's adequate. Hill-climbing power is truly exceptional, as is passing. Body structural stiffness is great, and I love the solid, sounds-like-Mercedes-quality 'thunk' when the doors - all of them - close (except when a window is partway down; then it sounds awful). And yes, I'm getting used to the excessive steering boost (although getting out of the Forester and into anything else makes the other vehicle feel like a truck). The sound system seems quite good. The rear seatbacks are quick and easy to fold, compared to a lot of competitors. The headlights produce a better beam pattern than many U.S. DOT units, and I'm very glad about that because my night vision isn't what it used to be.

    Dislikes: The hill-holder, and the clutch slip needed to get rolling after it's set. The instruments are unusually dark and difficult to read (nearly invisible)in daylight while wearing sunglasses. I'm dying to get back to my dealer to eliminate a bad buzzy rattle somewhere in the passenger airbag area, and mine also has faint buzzes from both front doors on certain surfaces; I hope the dealer can track down and eliminate these. I'm still not too wild about the multiple textures and the contrast between greys and blacks throughout the interior, and I would MUCH have preferred leather. The small gas tank, together with the mediocre MPG, requires fill-ups much more often than I'd prefer. And, oddly enough, the oil dipstick is about the hardest to read I've ever seen. No matter how many times I wipe and reinsert it, I never see a clear line indicating the oil level. Anybody else noticing this?

    But by far my major complaint, and the ongoing reason for my only-70% satisfaction level, continues to be the unacceptable, lopsided, and completely unnecessary bias toward blinding, all-out acceleration (to the clear detriment of other important qualities, like relaxed and quiet highway cruising, fuel consumption, and probably long-term engine life) resulting from Subaru's unexpected and inappropriate choice of a drag-strip 4.44 final drive. In such a lightweight, powerful, multipurpose vehicle that could have been highly satisfactory to a very wide range of buyers, this was foolish, shortsighted, and utterly unnecessary. The XT would still have had brilliant, newsworthy, class-leading acceleration even with a 3.9! No one will ever convince me that the 4.44 was the best choice for all-around, everyday balanced performance.

    jack
  • leo2633leo2633 Posts: 589
    Jack,

    I agree that the dipstick is difficult to read. I have found that pulling the stick, then waiting a few minutes before reinserting it will give you a clear and accurate reading. I do this with my wife's Outback and my Forester. I pull the dipsticks and wipe them off, go check the oil level on the kids cars, then go back and check the Subes. Inconvenient? Yes, but it gives good results. I look at it as just another Subaru quirk.

    Len
  • tinytootinytoo Posts: 6
    I just want to thank you for the positive report on your XT MT. After much consideration, and reading of these discussions and reviews, I purchased a red XT MT. Over the last three weeks or so I actually started to feel dread at it's arrival after reading the incessant complaints posted about the MT's shifting difficulties (which I did not experience during my test drives). My car will be delivered in about a week and I am looking forward, once again, to it arrival!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    "Incessant complaints" about shifting difficulties? That seems like a rather extreme characterization. I've seen no complaints at all about any upshifts or downshifts other than 1st-to-2nd, and comments about that one have been mixed; some have reported being fine with it, some are not.

    I'm sure you'll love your XT. Most owners do. I like mine, although on several counts it's a good bit farther from perfection than I thought it would be.

    jb
  • Ken,
    Neither XS or XT was premium hence no moonroof to bias my test drives. I like moonroofs but at 6'4", they don't like me (reason I don't own an OB VDC, which is wonderful on ice and snow, is my head was just a millimeter away from the moonroof & kissing the OB's A-pillar).

    You're probably right: small shifts in center of gravity may cause significant changes in handling. Perhap that happened with the XT. If so I'd expect Subaru could do a fix through their SOA dealers if it's a simple and "clean" fix (ie cure won't cause a problem elsewhere).

    About my dealer. He opened his franchise in 1999 and I was one of his first customers. He's great.
    And he has a very fine service department. I find his sales staff very accomodating. I do my routine service there, even oil changes. I do this for two reasons: first I'm mechanically inept; second, it provides a good way develop & cement relationships with sales and service. It's a quid pro quo.

    I have driven every Forester & Outback model since 2000, usually while getting an oil change. Dealer knows I will buy when I find enough small changes (eg 2004 XS) or one big improvement (eg VDC OB or Forester XT), over my 2000S.

    He also knows I'm careful. I'm mechanically inept but I'm a good driver and I am meticulous when it comes to vehicle care, or at least I try to be.

    Jake
  • Jack,
    Your post prompted me to consider carefully the value of a vehicle's dry pavement handling (in summer) to it's handling in winter, on snow, slush, pack ice and glaze (assuming no changes in vehicle such as snow tires, studs, chains or traction/yaw control such as VDC delivers).

    Couple of points: first, though I slolomed an XT and XS, it was at slow speeds due to requirements of safety. I'd like to see a more rigorous test of XT and XS, one with progressive increases at higher speeds around a slolom course as well as a timed test around a serpentine track.

    Consumer Reports does that (& progressive speed obstacle avoidance: double lane change manuever) Unfortunately they don't test every vehicle every year, and to my knowledge they don't do winter driving tests per se (is there a CR in Canada?).

    I mention CR not because the are perfect (they are not) or unbiased (who is?) but only because they do control for the obvious financial bias that may occur when the "testee" hires the "testor", either by advertising contracts, grants or directly.

    WRT to winter handling, you are correct I believe in saying vehicle roll on dry pavement is probably not a big deal on ice (all else held constant). My concern is that all else isn't held constant.

    My actual winter driving experience suggests (but does not prove) that how a vehicle handles on dry pavement in summer is predictive of how it handles in winter (assuming no changes in tires, traction/stability control gear). It goes without saying I am including a number of factors beside body roll in "handling".

    If it were only body roll, I think your point is made. To repeat, my test drives of XS/XT raised a handling issue (for me). It would be nice if that issue proves minor wrt to winter driving.

    You said in your post "now I'm confused" but maybe it's me who is confused. If handling differences between XT and XS are largely irrelevant to winter driving or collision avoidance in general, then I would go with the XT (higher price and operations costs are worth the added power and acceleration). I need to think more about this.

    Thanks for your post-Jake
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Len, thanks for the dipstick tip. I had begun wondering if the problem was that the tip was pulling oil up into the bottom of the tube, which then wetted the stick upon next insertion, giving a poor read. Your solution makes sense.

    jb
  • lbhaleylbhaley Posts: 91
    Congratulations on ordering a new XT! If it's anything like mine you are going to love it. I have to think there must be a significant difference in the smoothness of the drivetrain in some XTs. Mine is the only XT I have driven as I ordered it before they were available. The first thing I noticed when I test drove it before completing the purchase was how smooth it was. I honestly didn't even notice the gearing gap between 1st and 2nd until the first time I wound it up to 6000 (after about 800 miles) and shifted. That was a rough shift! I have since learned to expect the gap and am able to shift it much smoother. It's not as smooth as I would like it to be, but is certainly acceptable and the resulting acceleration is awesome! I don't even notice the gap in normal everyday driving. I just shift when it feels right. I'm sure you plan to drive your car before signing on the dotted line. If it does not shift as smoothly as the demo you drove I would certainly want to know why. Good luck with your new XT. Please let us know how it drives. I would love to hear from another MT XT owner that is satisfied with the gearing.

    -les
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Jake: I think we're on the same wavelength. I recognize that your evaluation covered more than just body lean, such as the improved suspension (and steering) locational precision that firmer bushings would provide (albeit at the expense of increased noise-vibration-harshness transmission).

    There's one important point about body lean that many don't explicitly account for. Let's say you start with a stock (rather nose-heavy) XT and find that on dry pavement it understeers more than you like. The obvious solution is a stiffer rear swaybar, which can reduce or eliminate the understeer (by shifting the balance of roll stiffness rearward) while also beneficially reducing body lean. Voila!

    However, on wet pavement (or even moreso on really slick stuff) you cannot possibly generate the same degree of lateral acceleration before breakaway as on dry. Therefore, the body 'by definition' rolls less, and so the sway bars (whose effect is directly proportional to roll) come 'into play' much less. This means that the same altered (i.e. stiffer rear bar) nose-heavy car that offered wonderfully neutral handling on dry pavement, often will still be an understeering slug on ice.

    This is why it is typically difficult, perhaps impossible, to set up a car having a substantial front (or rear) weight bias (such as the Forester) so that its at-the-limit dry-road handling also provides a close approximation of its slick-road handling; the dynamics are simply quite different. Usually, the best that can be achieved is a compromise.

    Again, this is just my .02 worth.

    jack
This discussion has been closed.