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2009 Subaru Forester



  • It's been fun reading everyone's posts regarding their snow experiences with their new it's my turn...I live near Portland, and had tickets to the Battle in Seattle [go zags!] in Seattle on Saturday. No way I was gonna miss the game - snowstorm or not - so we made the trek (about 360 miles up & back).

    We encountered quite a combination of snow (both dry and heavy/wet, with acumulations up to 9"), wind, cold (mid 20's F), freezing rain, etc. As my '09 Forester is my first Subaru, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was NOT disapointed! I don't know if it is the AWD system, the vehicle weight, ground clearance, or other factors (or a combination of?) but what people say is true....the Forester is a snow machine! I had no issues with traction or control or slideouts, etc. The Forester easily outperformed AWD vehicles I've previously owned (XL-7, Sante Fe, Murano).
    [FYI - my Forester is manual xmission version].

    I only managed to get the VDC to kick in once, going thru a section of super deep packed snow left by a snowplow. The sensation was a bit weird (could feel braking and throttling down occurring without my inputs), but seeing the VDC light flashing told me to just let it do it's thing...and we got thru it no problem.

    The only negative I encountered (which was posted by someone else already) is that there is significant ice buildup on the wiper blades at hiway speeds. I had to run full defrost at high fan speed [and I've previously b**tched about how noisy the fan is!]. Then I had to crack open the rear windows to cool down the overheated interior!

    So - my recommendation to those evaluating the Forester's capabilities in inclement weather is to consider it a superior vehicle - probably the best in it's class. But definitely get the All Weather Package option (with heated seats and windshield wiper heating).

    Happy Holidays to All!
  • Hi all,
    I see that everyone is commenting on how their new Forrester is doing in the snow, so I will report what I can. I purchased a 09 premium, with auto trans, and all weather package. This was at the end of July. This is my first Subaru, and my first vehicle with all wheel drive. I live in Omaha, NE. We are a very hilly city but have no major mountains or anything like that.
    My first time driving in marginal conditions was two weeks ago when I went to Iowa City to see my new grandson. I had 200 miles of rain/sleet/snow on the way back. My eye was glued to the thermometer in the dash display the whole time back. If it got to 33-32 degrees I was going to slow down. I was also gaging oncoming traffic
    to see if it was slowing. Speeds were between 60-70 mph. At no time did I ever feel out of control, or even feel a slip. I was amazed.
    This last week we had 1/2' of rain/sleet/ice with about 3" of snow on top of it. I have been having a blast going up hills. Some I even stop half way up them, than start up again just to see if I can.
    I am really amazed at this car. Like others I have noticed that the top of the windshield collects ice, and inter fears with the wiper action. I just had remote start put on it and this morning at -1 degree I let it warm up for about 10 minutes. If these Geo lander tires are considered bad, I cant understand why.
    Anyway, I am really impressed with the car.
  • Good that your Geos are working for you. From what I've read Geolanders are good in snow, less so on ice. Since we get a ton of ice in Portland (freeze/thaw predicted for the next few days), I errored on side of caution with Nokians.

    Today it was sleeting and snowing - 24 to 26 degrees F. Snow was 4 - 6" on side roads, less so on main. White Fang ('09 XT) did fine, including starting up from dead stop into 4 - 6" unplowed snow, on a small hill yet.

    My workaround for upper windshield ice is to spray a little Prestone "ice melt" on the top of the windshield. That and the defroster seem to keep it at bay. :)

    Still we had some real idiots out there today; yahoo pickup trucks trying for 40 mph, etc.

    Also saw for first time an '09 XT other than mine; a Red one, covered with snow, and on stock Geolanders. It was doing ok in the same snow as mine.
  • My wife puts more mileage on her Forester than I do, and we have found that on both of the ones she has had you can start to see a difference in the snow performance as you approach 30K miles. It didn't become dangerous or anything, just different.
  • How so different? Could it be wear on the tires?

    The Nokians I have are guaranteed for 50K miles, but when their tread gets to 6 - 8 mm, it's probably time to replace them.
  • If there was a real difference I would bet it was the passengers. Extra weight is a big help, especially between the wheels. Load up the car with some of your fat friends and if the car moves at all you will feel unstoppable in the snow. :)

    I remember one of my earlier Foresters that I had put a few bags of bird seed in the hatch, right against the rear seat-back. They were 35 pound bags. I noticed a difference for the better in the snow performance almost right away. The vehicle felt more balanced and capable. I actually left them in the back for a while until I needed to use them.

    I am talking small differences here because the car is pretty well balanced and capable right out of the box, but it was noticeable. Of our 5 Foresters 2 had no LSD, and frankly, I don't see a noticeable difference. I am sure it is better to have than not have, and under the right conditions would be a bonus. I saw much more difference with the weight of the bird seed.
  • It was definitely the wear. We get a lot of ice here too, and until then the tracking on curves and such felt very confident. It became less so around 30K. Again, no problems, just a different feel. Both her Foresters returned to the normal feel with replacement of the tires. The tires still had meat on them, but as you, she wanted to err on the side of cautiousness.
  • My '09 Forester LL Bean was rear-ended when it was less than six months old and had less than 6K on the odometer; not our fault, the other party was fully insured, and over $6,000 in repairs are complete. Now I want to pursue a diminished value claim. The posts I've found are way out of date, and I believe that DV claims have gotten easier in the last few years. The other insurer is offering $1,100, which I believe is way too low. Our dealer says about $3,000, but I understand dealers are not considered impartial. Does anyone have experience with any of the appraisers you can find online, such as Appraisal Group of America (
  • FWIW my first Forester was an "L" model, equivalent to the "X" today, and it was a 5-speed. Of the 5 we have owned I still feel that one was the best overall in handling, and especially in the snow. I like the 50/50 split front to rear and think that helps with the overall balance. That one had no LSD either.

    I have not been dissatisfied with any of the ones we have had with the auto, and in fact moved to my current 06 Premium for the power seat, moonroof, and the AWP which was standard then. I moved away from the 5-speed because I have size 13W feet, and I kept hitting the gas and the brake at the same time. I am 6'3" and I find the power seat gives a little more leg room.
  • Weekend of snow, wind, and very low temps in Minnesota. Had the X Premium since Tuesday. The vehicle has performed marvelously. Tried to get "into trouble" yesterday, seeking out drifts, unplowed roads, etc., and couldn't. My early impression is of a very sure-footed vehicle, with lots of feedback. I've really never had so much fun driving a car.

    As has been noted elsewhere, the wheelguards/mudflaps are like big scoops. They collect the packed snow and don't let it go. You can't just kick these things like I have on other cars to clear the snowpack; too flimsy. I've got a feeling these won't last two winters.

    Also, decided to crank the heat this afternoon (about 10 degrees out) and found the Forester to produce some serious BTUs. Never felt such hot air pouring out of car vents before. Don't know what purpose this serves, but it is notable.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    Hello everyone, I have an 09 LLBean AT Forrester. I truly love the car despite the usual posted complaints regarding the interior. I have put 10,000miles happy, trouble free on it within the 7 months that I have it. I recently was mailed an offering from Subaru of America for a 6 year 60,000 added security coverage for $564.00 which covers major mechanical components. I have never taken an extended warranty on a reliable car. Can you share your opinions on this with me and others. Thanks and Happy Holidays !
  • There is no hurry, you can get that warranty anytime before the factory one is up, with no price difference. You can also get it through any dealer, and the price seems to be negotiable.

    I have never taken an extended warranty on anything, so it is a roll the dice situation. With our Subarus we generally sell them to someone before the 5 years is up, and buy another. No one that has bought any of ours has had a problem with anything, so the odds seem pretty good.
  • At first, I wasn't all that thrilled by hot air pouring out the side vents, but have noticed that extra air flow helps melt ice on the side windows, and is cut back when heating is set to full defrost. The latter's an improvement over most of the Japanese heating systems I've had over many years..

    Yes, it get downright hot inside the Forester with the heat full up, even in 20 degree weather. The engine also starts producing usable heat within a few minutes of start-up.

    Wrt loosing some snow grip as tires age, my guess is by 30K the sipes are mostly worn off the tires, and the rubber (either by aging or being worn down) had become harder. That would improve the summer grip, but hurt winter performance.
    That's what everything I have read about tires suggested.
  • Hey Gang,

    My 09 Forester suffers from the door rattles that I have seen posted earlier. My problem is, this morning the damned thing was quiet as a church mouse - the car is scheduled to go in for service tomorrow to address the rattles.

    This will be the second time the car goes in for the door rattles (they couldn't find them the first time). It seems hit or miss, but when the doors rattle they really do rattle quite a bit.

    Any advice? I'd hate to send it back for them not to find anything again, and I'm really stumped as to why this morning there are no rattles. Its so cold out here in NE PA (11 degrees this AM) that I thought for sure I'd get MORE rattles ..... *shrug* ????

    Thanks in advance,
  • Mplsman: I keep a meat thermometer in the car to check on the a/c temps in the summer to make sure that it's operating at the right temp, I'm very picky about a/c. Well for $#!*$ and giggles I decided to throw it in the vent the other day and check the heat temp. 174 degrees!
  • yes those dumb rattles come and go.
    I've been seeing them reappear in my XT front doors after the fix, but now only if it's around 25 and the engine is idling when cold.
    The dealer improved them the first time, but may have to revisit the fix, which involves adding insulation between the door metal and plastic.

    you may have to leave the car overnight to let it get good and cold. Then when it's started up, hopefully the rattles will appear.
  • Snow continues in Portland OR. Most roads have 4" or more of packed snow and in many cases deep ruts lined with ice. The ruts are causing all kinds of problems for most vehicles.

    Today the XT met its match. Driving along around 20 mph, I needed to change lanes and waited until there was a good space between me and other vehicles.
    However, White Fang's (the XT's) wheels, when turned, attempted to climb the 4" deep icy ruts, failed to get traction, and let the vehicle lurch back into the ruts.

    Using more gas the next time I tried this, the XT simply lurched out of the ruts, lost all grip and spun 180 degrees to face traffic coming towards me. Fortunately they were quite a ways back and going slow, giving me time to back up 180 degrees and turn back to going the right direction. If they had been closer or going faster, I could have been broadsided. :surprise:

    This was the first demonstration of the Nokian's main weakness: they did not handle wet ice all that well when turning. It may be a particular part of the tire that is susceptible to this (the outer edges, perhaps).

    Anyway, I'm off the roads until they plow that mess or I can get to a place to buy cable chains (not sure the Auto Socks will be up to that sort of thing either, as they do not cover the sides of the tires, only the lower tread). Right now cable chains are a precious commodity in Portland - stores are virtually sold out of them.

  • robm2robm2 Posts: 53
    Ruts are always dangerous. Try not to get in them, in the first place. If you are in them, you need to be going slow to get out of them, or (as you saw for yourself) you will almost certainly lose control.

    Going down side-streets, I always stay out of the ruts. It's more fun, anyway, to blaze a new trail beside the ruts.
  • I dropped the appointment for the interim. I have to say, the cheaper interior becomes more noticeable as you drive it around.

    That being said, I do like everything else about the car.
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Wet ice is the worst condition -- glad you did not have a serious mishap.

    In my 50 years of driving I have had 6 or seven 4WD/AWD vehicles, and have gotten every one of them stuck -- but, in some "very clever" ways!!

    In fact, I have been stuck more times in AWD than in 2WD vehicles -- the extra traction can cause overconfidence.

    Still not enough snow, here, to try out my 09 Forester, my first Subaru -- I bet I can get it stuck!

    Just kidding -- I hope I have enough sense to be over cautious.

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