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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)

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Comments

  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Tom: I didn't realize that you were with CR until I read your last post! It's good to have your participation here.

    Does CR use professional drivers for their vehicle tests. I've always been curious since CR's test results (ie. 0-60) tend to be more conservative vis-a-vis car magazines.

    Any idea of CR is planning on reviewing the Forester XT?

    Ken
  • taft4taft4 Posts: 57
    In today's edition of the Chicago Tribune they published the J.D. Power 2003 Initial Quality Study and out of 36 makes Subaru ended up 28th, with a score below the industry average. Power sent out 205,000 surveys of which 52,000 were completed and returned. While I have had no trouble with my XS Premium with leather, other than the recall on the transmission, apparently others have not been so lucky.
  • tkevinblanctkevinblanc Posts: 356
    I did not know the test was so thorough. I retract my statement.
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    How do y'all think the Lance Armstrong tie-in is doing? I, for one, am pretty impressed.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    Glad to have you aboard as well. Perhaps you can shed some light on CR and their testing.

    As you might expect, CR is a controversial subject here. Some people hate the magazine, others (myself included) find it valuable, if for no other reason, it often sheds light on automotive issues that the car "buff-rags" ignore or sweep under the rug.

    Bob
  • mutcthmutcth Posts: 17
    Thanks. I'm usually somewhat wary about mentioning who I work for, due to the definite range of emotions that exist about us. I just try to be helpful - and I'm here reading up on Forester stuff since I'm considering a Forester turbo to replace my Passat. I test automotive aftermarket equipment (like the GPS systems in June's issue - that's my hairy arm driving the Lincoln LS), lawn mowers (that's me doing a sudden start test also in June's issue), and sporting goods.

    The auto test folks are much more specialized than I am - they do only cars, all the time, at a large private test track we own in CT. Most are former development engineers from car companies (Nissan, Land Rover, GM, Chrysler) or from tire companies. They all love cars, and many of them autocross or have project cars. Unfortunately, our format and demographic, as well as our critical nature, suppresses that enthusiasm.

    Our 0-60 times are done more conservatively than other magazines. We drive the cars like we own them - since we do - whereas buff magazines typically drive a lot harder. (Our cars still get driven fairly hard though - especially the S2000 we kept for "track calibration.") Remember, we're also usually testing only automatics as opposed to more manuals by the magazines.

    You guys do have a point about the Sorento though - if you need to tow a trailer or go off-road, it might be a better pick than a CR-V, despite where it falls in the scores. We're planning a premium service that will allow readers to make their own scoring criteria weightings - long a source of question from readers and non-readers alike - so that you can rank the cars, using our data, in your own order based on your priorities. It should be quite nice.

    I hope we review the Forester XT, and the Acura TSX, and the new Legacy, and the PT Turbo - I get to buy the cars at discount, and I don't quite know what I want.... :) I don't know what's in the pipeline much beyond September, and we already own those cars. (Besides, I really couldn't tell you anyway, disclaimer or not.)

    All opinions my own, not CRs.

    Tom
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Tom,

    Thanks for sharing. That was very interesting. I've long been a subscriber and wanted to know how things were done behind the scenes. It sounds like a fun place to work -- wow does one get started with CR?

    One question I've always had -- how come the reader surveys don't have paid return postage? It sounds silly, but I find that to be a huge barrier in me wanting to fill out the form and mail it back.

    Ken
  • mutcthmutcth Posts: 17
    I got lucky - the right place in the right time when I graduated engineering school....

    I thought we used to send out a dollar with the survey - I guess we don't do that anymore. I could see how that would be a deterrent. It will soon be able to be done online, although I'm not sure about how all of the details will work. I'm sure minds higher-up in the company have worried extensively about it.... ;)

    All opinions my own, not CRs.

    Tom
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I'm glad to have you on board, Tom. I'm an ocassional CR reader, and have always found their ratings useful. So what do you think about Honda lawn mowers? I have had one for a couple of years. Just compared to my neighbors other mowers (which alternately fail to start or sound like they're about to throw a rod) the Honda starts on the first pull every time and purrs like a kitten.

    CR is not the only magazine to have an odd assortment of cars in a test, including some that seem out of place and leaving other out. Car and Driver does it all the time. There's usually some explanation about models not being available, auto vs. manual, etc.... but it always seems somewhat weak/cheesy to me. It's rare they have a comparison I agree with. Tell you what though, C&D better have an Evo versus STi test!! That's pretty much a no brainer!

    BTW, I got a JD Power survey about my WRX. They sent me a crisp dollar bill, which was nice (guilted me into completing the survey sooner than I normally would). Interestingly enough, most of the questions were about the dealership and buying experience. Only 3-4 questions about the car, initial quality, and brand loyalty.

    Craig
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Your wish was granted...sort of.

    C&D's June '03 mag has the STi vs. EVO on the front cover. But, they pick the EVO over the STi. Whatever.

    -Brian
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Thanks for the heads up, Brian. Can't wait to read that one... should be arriving in the mailbox soon.

    Craig
  • allhorizonallhorizon Posts: 483
    First the good news:

    Looks like the XT is only 35 lbs heavier than the XS premium. Ground clearance is up 5mm? Same track.

    Now the bad news. Not only does it require premium, its mileage goes down from 21/31 to 18/25, according to the Canadian Subaru web site (all my conversions from l/100km, MT). But the US site has 21/27 for the XS? I suspect a typo at the CA web site (again?).

    - D.
  • dagpotterdagpotter Posts: 71
    Ok, tomorrow I go to probably buy an Aspen White Forrester XS Premium for my wife. Any reasons I should not? Thanks...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I agree with Juice though, the Sorento should be scored with Rodeo, Xterra, XL7. :(

    As for the Trooper and CR, there hasn't been 1 single rollover in real life in the same situation that was presented by CR so I still stand by my assesment that they were way off base. Anyone who knows me, knows that if the Trooper could roll, I'd have done it by now :)

    -mike
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Welcome to the crew, hopefully you can use your influence at CR to try to point out things that are inconsistent in their reporting... Always good to have someone who cares on the inside and who gets in touch with real users/readers.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    I've had the same self-propelled Honda HR214 since 1986, when I bought it new. The lawnmower has been used and abused to no end, I am somewhat ashamed to say. This year after years of neglect, I finally brought it in for service, more out of guilt than anything. My one-acre lot is heavily wooded, meaning sticks are common as are acorns and the occasional rocks. I also have a nasty hill near the street.

    It has NEVER failed me.

    Bob
  • tkevinblanctkevinblanc Posts: 356
    I heard an interesting clip about the JD Power Initial Quality survey. It should put some doubt in your mind about using this as an important part of any buying decision.

    The lowest rated vehicle in initial quality was... the Hummer II.

    Why? Buyers sited atrocious gas mileage and lots of wind noise as the top two reasons.

    Now, I'm all for consumers complaining to try to get vehicles improved, and I'm all for manufacturers listening and trying to improve vehicles.

    But should that vehicle, which is so obviously over the top, so pointless, such an ego trip, suffer in its quality ratings because it is what it is? What moron complains about wind noise and mileage in a concrete block shaped, oversized beast?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    That's funny. I would rate it as poor initial quality because it's just a gussied up Yukon, so you know you'll have those quality plastic parts falling off in ~20-30K miles. I wouldn't rate it poorly for wind noise and milage however.

    -mike
  • mutcthmutcth Posts: 17
    Honda mowers do well in our testing, but other mowers are catching up. The recent batch of Honda-engined mowers I tested this winter didn't start as easily or "purr" as smoothly as they seemed to in the past. Other engines start as easily now - and a lot comes down to maintenance. The old Hondas do run forever - but then again, given the investment, there is certainly a motivation to keep them going.

    Paisan, thanks for your comments. We do try to shape the tone and message of the reporting as much as possible, but as in any business, as a story goes through all of the levels, it can shift in focus. We try as much as possible to get the view of our readers into the pages, but it can be a battle - and we get reams of mail to show it.

    The Sorento is scored with the XL7, Xterra, etc on the bar chart in the article. Rather than wait for a group of four very similar SUVs to be introduced, we surveyed the market for new designs, published them in one report, and then incorporated the data for comparsion to the previously tested similar vehicles. It would have been a long wait to find 3 more Baja like vehicles....

    All opinions my own, not CRs.

    Tom
  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    paisan May 8, 2003 7:35am

    Those guys @ CR must have driven it at or beyond the point of recklessness then.
    I've riden in the Trooper with Paisan at the helm and he hasn't rolled it. If he doesn't roll it, any 'normal' ;-) driver wouldn't, and y'all know Paisan's driving style :D

    -Dave
  • wilbertowilberto Posts: 1
    Long-time lurker and very new Forester owner. Picked it up last wednesday and am very happy so far. A couple points I thought I'd share:
    -Our short list was down to the CRV and Forester. Only feature we wanted was slight recline on back seat, which would make a big difference for adults in the back, but it wasn't a dealbreaker.
    Came down to liking the "car" feel and I didn't want a truck. (According to my wife, the only real dealbreaker was heated seats. My list was a little longer.)
    -Racks: I had a THULE system on my old Jetta, including 2 Big Mouth bike attachments. I had the dealer credit me for the factory racks and purchased new THULE towers and bars. Some wind noise, but I expected that with the bike attachments, as they'll live on there until November or so.
    -Keyless Entry: Read post about someone's problems in downtown Boston. I park at work in a surface lot in downtown Toronto and I have to walk around to between passenger door and front wheel for it to work. Works great everywhere else so far, even at quite a distance, so I don't think it's a battery issue. I'll mention it when it's in for service, but I think I'll just adapt.
    -I've kept the speed under 100 km for the first 1,000 and varied speed on the highway, but any other "break in" tips I should follow?
    -Carpet mats seem nice, but I think I'll go aftermarket rubber before next winter.
    -Prior to purchase, I read about 2 year's worth of posts on here. Thanks for educating me on things to look for, thanks for being enthusiastic about your Subarus, and thanks for giving me somewhere to come with my questions.

    Wayne
  • labgirllabgirl Posts: 13
    I'm looking at the XS premium - on paper it looks very good, but I've not done a test drive yet. Anyone want to comment on: handling in snow/ice, sound system, leather vs cloth? Also, am I likely to actually get the TMV price? Should I start by asking for invoice?
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Matthew: unless you want a turbo model, which will be available this summer, I'd say get one now! Of course, make sure you take a thorough test drive.

    Wayne: welcome, congratulations on the new car! We also looked at the CRV while shopping, but hated it. I thought the handling was abysmal, and the interior is kind of cheap looking to me.

    Sharon: Forester is great in the snow, can't speak for ice but what car is good on ice? Sound system is decent if you get the upgrades. My wife's XS has the upgraded speakers and subwoofer, and she's quite happy with it (big moonroof and a kickin stereo were on her list of things to get in a new car). We have leather, which is fine, but I preferred the cloth personally. I think you can expect to pay $500 under invoice, possibly better. I have lost track of the incentives on the Forester, but $500 under seems to be the going rate these days.

    I noticed from your profile that you're also shopping for a Highlander. We seriously considered that vehicle too. It drives very nicely if you get the V6. In the end, it was too much like a minivan for my wife. When we finally drove the Forester, she pretty much fell in love with it (which is why I saved it for last). It's considerably more fun to drive than the Highlander. Less refined, certainly (at least compared to a V6 Highlander), but way more interesting to drive.

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,663
    True, but Mike's Trooper is not exactly stock. He's got oversize tires, which probably increases the track and lessens rollover possibility. He may have made other suspension changes too, but I'm not sure about that. He may well have improved upon the Trooper's handling.

    Even so, we're not comparing apples-to-apples here. Once you modify a vehicle, comparisons with "stock" models no longer apply.

    Bob
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Tom: I'll have to check if there was a dollar bill in there. I don't recall seeing it. I just remember thinking "they want us to fill out such a long and extensive survey and pay our own postage?".

    XT Fuel economy: I'm sure there will be a hit to fuel economy with the turbo, but you also have AVCS working for you as well. I'm sure gas milage is going to vary depending on how you drive it (ie. how much you keep it on boost).

    dagpotter: The *only* reason not to buy an XS tomorrow is that the XT is on it's way shortly. The XS is a great model, but the XT is going to have substantially more power.

    Wayne: Welcome and congrats. We hope you stay an active participant. As for the break-in procedure, you're doing fine. Keep in mind that it's more about varying the engine RPMs than vehicle speed. Since you're over that first 1000 miles, you can slowly start bringing the RPMs up past 4000. You might also want to consider having an oil change. There's some debate on how beneficial this is, but it can't hurt.

    Ken
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I had my truck 100% stock for 20K miles, even then I only added a lift of 1" at 20K miles which would INCREASE rollover. At 30K I put on the larger tires, and shocks and other mods that might effect rollover. I also drive my buddy's '00 Trooper that has 50K on it and is bone stock. So Dave knows exactly how un-rollover prone they are.... :)

    -mike
  • labgirllabgirl Posts: 13
    Thanks for the input, guys (and gals). I've decided against the Highlander as too big and too like my dumpy old minivan. I've been reading lots here, and am getting my ducks in a row before actually heading to a dealer (checked my credit report for errors, speced out car, checked what's around, etc.) The current ads up here say there's a $500 rebate on the X, but not the XS, but if I can get near invoice and 0% financing , I'll be happy. I'll probably go for the leather seats since that gives you the heating as well which is nice up here in New England. And, it sounds like the sound system upgrade is worth while.
  • dagpotterdagpotter Posts: 71
    The car is for my wife. She doesn't need more power for the driving she does, so I don't realy want an XT. Also, one of our goals is to get some better gas mileage then the minivan, and an XT probably won't do that. If it was for me, I would, like my brother, buy a 2004 WRX.
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,459
    Heated seats are standard on an XS w/ leather or cloth.

    DaveM
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    That makes sense. No need in paying for extra power at the cost of lower milage and higher fuel costs.

    Actually, the XT is a strong contender for the WRX. The XT will have much better low-end torque than the WRX, not to mention nicer creature comforts and more cargo room. I heard that Subaru of Canada's website mentioned the 0-60 time being only 0.1 seconds behind the WRX.

    Ken
This discussion has been closed.