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Subaru Forester MPG-Real World Numbers

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Comments

  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    The EPA did revise the formulas it uses to calculate the estimated mpg's from the dynamometer tests (which I think were not changed). I think 2008 was the first year of the new calculation procedure.

    There could be a difference in the transmission between '06 and '08 (maybe just the software settings for control), or the engine con trol software.

    Are the tires the same on the '06 and '08?

    Then there is the possibility of variation in performance of identical cars.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    I am considering the purchase of a 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Before I do, though, I'd like to get input on what type of mileage folks are getting in the real world. It would help to know what type of driving you do (% city/suburban/highway), how you drive (cautious, average, aggressive), city/combined/highway mileage and how many miles you have on the vehicle.
    Since the engine and transmission (4AT) have not changed recently, I would also welcome input from owners of older models with the same drivetrain and how it has fared long-term. Overall impressions of the vehicle would be welcome as well.
    A bit about me. I'm getting rid of a 2000 Beetle TDI that gets 42 mpg average. So, obviously, mileage is a big consideration. My wife wants something with 4WD or AWD for the winter. I'd like something with a great deal of utility so I can park my 2004 Avalanche whenever possible. At the same time, I'd like something with the same level of luxury I enjoy with my Avalanche (pretty loaded up). I am an aggresive driver - not in the sense that you see used by law enforcement. But I accelerate quickly, I drive 5 or 10 over the limit and I don't over-inflate my tires or use any hyper-mileage tricks. I don't baby my vehicles (but I do take care of them). My commute is a little over 30 miles, about 70%highway/30%suburban traffic in a midwest metropolitan area.
    By the way, I'm comparing this against a Nissan Rogue SL AWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A Forester Limited like ours should be pretty close to what you want. We have an 09, and I had previously owned a 98.

    My wife drives it, mostly around town. She tends to get 24mpg or so, but that's mostly in town driving, almost no long distance trips (we take our minivan on trips).

    We've seen mileage from 22mpg (all city) to 34mpg (an all highway jaunt). We only have 1000 or so miles on it now, so I suspect that will improve as it breaks in (my 98 did).

    I think you can realistically expect an average of anywhere from 23-28mpg or so, depending on your driving habits and especially the type of driving.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Thanks. The averages you mention seem to track with what I've been told by a couple of people I've talked to (25 - 28). That beats what I'm hearing on the Rogue. I've also gone back and read previous posts and see anywhere from 20 to 34. So that's not bad for a small SUV. Just wish they'd improve on the 4AT. Rogue's CVT with paddle shifters beats it hands-down. The 4AT seems to hunt and shift a little rough on the one I drove.
    I'd be interested to see if anyone's taken a roadtrip with one of the cargo carriers on top. I'll need to do that once or twice a year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I did with my old one, a soft carrier on top of a 98. My guess is that cost me an MPG or two.

    Forester may get a CVT next year and I bet they'll use the same supplier as Nissan. My buddy has an Altima and that CVT impressed me, much better than, say, the one on the 2.4l Outlander.
  • bbthomasbbthomas Posts: 24
    I commute about 32 miles one way, 15% city/85% highway. With 1500 miles on my 2.5X Limited, I average around 27.5 mpg. Depending on traffic, I've seen as high as 30 mpg. I consider my driving style average, though I do over-inflate my tires by a couple of psi. For highway commuting I find the 4AT fine, only on hilly back roads do I wish for a 5AT (when I used the manual mode).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    The cargo carrier is going to hit it rather hard. With just my soft carrier on my '96 Outback, I would lose a couple MPG. With a cargo carrier on my '08 Outback (the Subaru-branded Yakima Load Warrior) and loaded, I lost 6-8 MPG (was getting 28-30 without the carrier, and ran about 22 MPG with it) consistently. It was brutal considering the distance traveled with it on top (about 4000 miles on a 5500 mile trip).

    This summer, I drove my minivan on a trip to the Kasilof river (about 500 miles from home). I had the same cargo carrier on top. I got between 17 and 22 MPG depending on whether I ran 70(+) or kept it at 60. I get that much around town (average 20.5 MPG) and managed 25.5 out of it (3.8L V6 in a '98 Caravan AWD) on a recent 400-mile round trip to Tok. At $4.50 a gallon, that was an expensive way to carry a little extra cargo. :cry:
  • I just took my family on a 3,400 mile road trip in my brand new 09X Premium, and with the Subaru OEM long cargo box (aerodynamic) we got 24mpg for the trip. The Foz had less than 500 miles when we started. When we got to Florida, the box came off and spent the week in the condo, then was reinstalled in about 5 minutes for the return drive.
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Thanks for the input on the cargo carriers. Sounds like the OEM solid box is the way to go. Of course, I'd rather not carry any. But I take one or two trips a year when my Avalanche is pretty loaded. The Forester can't come close to carrying that much without either a car-top carrier or a small trailer.
    buckhuntr - 24 doesn't sound that bad, but you don't say how fast you were going. Out here in the midwest, 75 on the interstate and 65 - 70 on the 2 lanes is pretty common.
    xwesx - 17 is pretty discouraging, so I'm hoping buckhuntr is closer to what I might expect. I can haul everything I might want with the Avalanche and still get 17 mpg.
    ateixeira - thanks for the info on the CVT. Just not sure I want to wait until next year.
    Also - thanks to bbthomas for the input.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    24 doesn't sound that bad, but you don't say how fast you were going. Out here in the midwest, 75 on the interstate and 65 - 70 on the 2 lanes is pretty common.

    On my 04, the mileage really drops when you get up around 75 to 80. I'm pretty sure the combination of the boxy shape along with the short gearing (higher revs) is the culprit. When I moved across the country, I was amazed that my wife's Grand Cherokee actually got slightly better mpg than my Forester :surprise: But then it had a bigger engine (6-cyl), RWD and was turning about a 1,000 rpms slower.

    -Frank
  • Quite a bit of the drive was at 65-75, and at 80 or higher going around Atlanta (gotta go that fast to keep from getting run over on I-285 and I-75). Then again, a lot was also at stop and go city speeds around the Tampa Bay area. Neither of which equate to top mileage. On the current tank, I'm getting 20.4 through 200 miles of Tulsa driving, which is better than the car the Foz replaced, and much better than the F150 Supercrew in the driveway. I can live with it. :shades:
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    OK - well, I'm in the KC area, so I'm assuming not a great deal of difference in driving conditions. We're going down to drive an '09 Limited today. 20 does bother me, though. I'm currently getting 40 - 42 average with my wife's TDI. So that will be a big difference, if that's average around the city. I was hoping for 25 or better. I've talked to a couple of people who indicated 25 - 28 was their average. But I didn't get into their driving style too much. My Avalanche gets 14 -15 in town and 17 - 18 on the highway. So I was looking for a big improvement over that, too. Thanks.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    You're going to be hard pressed to find any small SUV/crossover that gets close to 25 mpg in the city. Heck most don't even get that on the hwy. The Forester is one of the more fuel effecient models in its class but if fuel economy is a top priority, I'd be looking at hybrids or small sedans.

    -Frank
  • hamullerhamuller Posts: 11
    I love my Forester and have had it for over eight years now. When it was new I regularly got 28-30 MPG on a 200 mile highway trip to my mountain cabin. Over the years the mpg has declined steadily. I now get about 25-26mpg on the same trip. I maintain my car with a tuneup every 25K and an oil change every 3K religiously. I just had the timing belt changed. Is there any reason beyond old age for the car's mpg to be dropping? It now has 105K on it.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    Theoretical possibilities:

    Tires: You changed to tires with a higher rolling resistance, or don't inflate them to as high as pressure as before. But you may want tires that can handle rough roads and will have to compromise on rolling resistance. Are you still using the OE tire size?

    Oil: You are using an oil with a higher viscosity than needed. With modern oils, changing oil at 3 kmi is an unnecessarily short interval, unless you are frequently in very dusty conditions. Use synthetic of the right viscosity (check the manual) and change at 7.5 kmi at the shortest.

    Fuel: Ethanol in gasoline up to 10% could cause a 3% lower mpg which is 0.8 mpg less starting at 28 mpg.
  • hamullerhamuller Posts: 11
    Thanks for the possibilities. I have put on a heftier Goodrich tire but it is the same size as the original tires which gave a smoother ride as I remember. I wil try dropping the pressure by a few pounds and see if that helps.

    I don't drive in dusty conditions usually so I think I will extend my oil changes a little and try the synthetic oils next time.

    I never thought about ethanol but most of the gas I use does have 10% ethanol. That probably has something to do with it.

    I also change the air filter every 10K as recommended.

    Thanks again for the suggestions. Hank
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I have put on a heftier Goodrich tire but it is the same size as the original tires which gave a smoother ride as I remember

    Even tires that are the same size can reduce your mpg. Especially if they're are more performance oriented.

    I wil try dropping the pressure by a few pounds and see if that helps

    That will make your mpg worse! Increasing the air pressure in your tires will improve your mpg. However, if you increase it too much, you'll compromise the vehicle's handling. On my aftermarket tires, I keep the pressure about halfway between what the manufacturer recommends for the OE tires and the max psi listed on the sidewall.

    -Frank
  • hamullerhamuller Posts: 11
    Thanks I will try your suggestion. Hank
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Well, you may be right. I guess I'm just trying to make sure I get the vehicle that best meets my needs overall and, unfortunately, that just doesn't exist right now. We have looked at a couple of mid-size sedans that get pretty good fuel mileage (30+ mpg highway), but my wife wanted 4WD or AWD for the snow. Plus, I figured if I went with a small SUV, I could park my Avalanche about 90% of the time - or more.
    The thing is, I get 17 - 18 mpg highway with the Avalanche no matter how loaded down it is. And I figure, if I added dual exhaust, a cold air intake and an E-Con programmer, I could probably improve that by a couple mpg and improve performance.
    So, from what I'm reading here, I'll pay quite a fuel mileage penalty stepping down from the Beetle TDI and won't gain that much by parking the Avalanche. I was just hoping I could routinely return 25 mpg+.
    Thanks for the input.
  • Part of the reason my '09X is averaging 20.4 in town is that I drive it 10-13 miles each way through Tulsa to get to work (miles are more if I'm carpooling with my wife). City of Tulsa can't seem to do a very good job of synchronizing the traffic lights, and this morning I had to stop for 8 lights in a 10-block stretch. That is hell on mpgs for all but the top hybrids. Also, when my wife drives the Foz, she can decrease the mpgs due to her driving habits! LOL
    As I've said before, this still beats the city mileage I get out of the F150, or what I got out of the cursed Dodge Intrepid :lemon: (whose untimely demise led directly to my purchasing the Forester :shades: a month ago).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Short drives like that won't ever yield good mileage, because the engine is still warming up for the first 2-3 miles, and not operating at its peak efficiency.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,461
    The mpg I listed at 17 was not for a Subaru, it was for a minivan (if that gives you some hope!).

    My city driving is not heavy here in Fairbanks, Alaska, but last summer in my '07 Outback (manual tranny), I averaged 26-27 around town.

    This last winter in my 08 Outback (auto), I got right at 20 through the coldest months of the year (-10 to -45 F); my old '96 Outback would drop to as low as 15-16 during that period, and my minivan even hit 13.5 on one tank last winter. I think your driving conditions would be harsh, indeed, if you averaged less than 20.

    Good luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So we took a long drive last night, and measured our MPG for the trip in each direction.

    My wife drove up, and got 30.0mpg. She hit 33 mpg for a short while, but the full trip was 30.

    Then I drove back, the same route but with less traffic, so my speeds were higher. I got 27.0mpg.

    She won, but I was impressed with the highway fuel efficiency. :shades:
  • phil53phil53 Posts: 54
    Well, that makes more sense. I'd get about 13-14 with my Avalanche in that scenario. Of course, the Beetle would get about 38. (I'm still struggling with that one.) Thanks for the update. I'm still leaning toward the Forester, but haven't ruled out a couple of the sedans or wagons.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    We just completed a 780 mile trip around WA Olympic Peninsula in our XS 5 speed with 45K on it. The load was two passengers & camping gear, overall about 500 lbs & AC was used about 25% of the time. The trip was unusual in that it was an interesting mixture of 2 lane roads, some dirt roads, and no rush - so I drove with a pretty light foot. About 10% was gravel, much of it quite hilly, 60% 2 lane highway, and about 10% over 60 mph. I would say the average speed was about 45 under pretty ideal driving conditions (relatively low traffic, dry weather 65-80 degrees). With the 1st tank I got 487 miles with a half gallon to spare. Over all mileage was 31.7 mpg.

    Overall I drive pretty conservatively without holding up traffic & have been averaging about 23 -26 on daily driving (70% urban 30% freeway). High way averages about 28-30 with best has been just over 32 mpg.

    Overall I am very satisfied. It sounds like the mpg are better on the 09s & I hope to get one about 2010. At that point I will probably get an AT & would hope SOA implant a good CVT in the Forster. I have had a civic & A4 with CVT & love em!
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    Just got 26.1mpg on my 400mi trip today, doing 65-70mph w/o cruise control, not bad, better than I expected!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    31.2mpg on an all highway trip this past weekend.

    We're past 1000 miles so now it's officially broken in.
  • I bought a new 2009 Forester 2.5X, auto, non-turbo, Premium last week. I drove about 150 miles round trip today on 2-lane rural and interstate with hills. I have less than 300 miles total. Including 20 miles around town besides the 150 miles I averaged ~25 MPG after filling up.

    The MPG read-out is indicating about 26.4 MPG at 70MPH with the A/C on. At 55 MPH on level roads it reads as high as 32 MPG. Average around town it seems to be ~22 MPG so far.

    I am impressed with the performance considering only 170HP compared to my previous Ford Ranger 4WD with the 4.0L V6. On this same trip it would average about 20 MPG in the summer with the A/C on. Around town the best would be 15 MPG and in the winter as low as 11-12 MPG
  • "... I was just hoping I could routinely return 25 mpg+. "

    My 2008 NA automatic routinely betters that in the summer:
    http://aatherton06.home.insightbb.com/Forester/For_MPG.htm
    And it has big mirrors, roof rack, bubble deflector, and tires set to the door sticker pressure. Such mileage requires economical driving habits.
  • Unfortunately, that is my down-fall. I routinely run about 5 over and sometimes 10. Around here, that means 65-75 on the freeways. And no dawdling anywhere during rush hour (if you get out early enough). A lot of traffic lights on the last 5 or so miles of my commute.
    By the way, that is a very complete chart you're keeping. I keep ODO, trip, fuel used, mpg and brand of fuel, but that's about it. And I haven't been very religious about it lately.
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