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Changes You'd Like To See in the Subaru Forester



  • More gears CAN mean better highway mileage. What you mention is one scenario but not common. The Tribeca and the Outback 5 spd autos have closer interim gear ratios AND lower top gear ratios. This is much more common than what you suggest. With 5 speeds you can have your cake and eat it too.

    You also neglect final drive ratios and tire sizes too. In the case of the Forester the tire sizes are the same but the final drive ratios are different between the manual and the auto. The manual uses a 4.111 final drive while the auto uses a 4.44. The top gear in the auto has to be lower to compensate for this on the highway.

    The highway RPMs end up being similar on both Foresters. At 75 MPH the manual has 3022 and the auto has 2904. However the Tribeca has 2593. At 70 the numbers are 2820/2710/and 2420.

    Subaru does a great job with gear ratios and final drive ratios, including giving good launch characteristics in 1st gear, but using a 5 speed auto would give them better options for matching what is needed for launch and highway cruising. Somewhere around 350 to 400 RPMs lower at "real" highway speeds would provide for better fuel mileage.

    400 RPMs is roughly the difference between driving at 65 instead of 75 in the Forester. Anyone who has done this knows the mileage at 65 is much better than at 75. This discounts increased drag but that delta is a small part of the equation at these 2 speeds.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A 5th ratio would not hurt, but our auto does shift smoothly and doesn't hunt around. Overall I actually like Subaru's 4EAT as in our Forester better than the 5EAT in our Toyota Sienna.

    So add it, sure, just make sure it performs exactly like the 4 speed currently does.

    I'd like the see them raise the passenger seat an inch or so, and how about round cup holders instead of square ones?

    Minor nit picks, to be fair.

    If you keep the speeds down, you can get phenomenal gas mileage in the Forester - we can break 30mpg fairly easily. Drive fast and it's closer to 27mpg. Good numbers for the class.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Very good numbers! I have a '98 MT Escort and on a long trip yesterday keeping it at 60 mph, it returned 38.5. 28% better than what you listed for the Forester, but I give up a lot to get there. If I were up to a car payment, I would dump that little econo-car in a heartbeat.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a 91 Escort GT back in the day. That averaged about 28mpg or so, not a lot better than the Subaru, though I'm sure I used to drive more aggressively.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Exactly. For what you get in return, Subaru's vehicles really do provide very good fuel economy.
This discussion has been closed.