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2009 Subaru Forester

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  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    3.7 inches smaller turning radius

    Wow that's good news and impressive too given that they increased the WB by 4 inches.

    Also noticed that they added a telescopic steering wheel and pneumatic hood supports :)

    I'm skeptical on whether the HIDs and washers make it across the pond. On and no turn signals in the side mirrors?

    -Frank
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Didn't notice the hood struts, good catch, Frank. That's pretty rare nowadays in that price class.

    Telescoping wheel is good because I feel like my wife sits too close to the steering wheels some times. You're supposed to have 12" space there, I believe.

    Clearance has been stated at up to 8.9". My guess is the XT model will have a bit less, but still over 8". Still, that's best in class.

    4EAT for the auto tranny. This is the only significant "miss" in my opinion.

    As for the competition, all those listed and a few more. Forester may stand out with fuel economy (base models) and performance (XT models).
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    I like what I have seen of the Japanese 2009 Forester so far. However, I would like to talk about the options that seem to me that every country where a vehicle is sold offers options to maximize the dealer/manufacturer profits. For example if someone wants to include xenon/HID in the vehicle this option only comes as part of a very expensive package (e.g. Outlander Sun & Sound Package + Luxury Package). Similarly, even if fog lights are wanted you can have this option only by buying an expensive package (e.g. Nissan Rouge Premium Package), and so on. This tendency has to be stopped or regularized to prevent dealers or manufacturers from exploiting costumers. This tendency is not only with the two previous manufacturers above mentioned but is in almost all the car manufacturers. For example to have the intermittent signal light (indicators) incorporated in the mirrors in a Mazda CX-9 you need to buy the top of the range vehicle and it is not an option for any other less expensive Mazda vehicle trim.

    I wish the options for this new Forester could be fully independent without being pre-conditioned with other ones. For example an option should be for the navigation system, an option for the xenon/HID lights, an option for the moonroof, an option to upgrade the sound, and an option for the heated leather seats. Fog lights, repeaters or mirror sign lights, roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, privacy glass, heated driver and passenger mirrors, controls on the steering wheel, engine immobilizer, skid plates, and anti-theft alarm system should be standard and not an option. Equally, for example with the size of the wheels, an option should be offered to order the bigger size wheels that generally are mounted on the top of the vehicle range. For example in the Forester two wheels sizes are given the 215/65R16 and the 225/55R17. These wheels/tires are mutually interchanged without affecting the wheel speed sensor or TPMS and the vehicle suspension system. Moving from 215 to 225 affects the Speedo difference by 0.973% too fast and the diameter difference is 0.97%. Why do customers have to buy the top of the range vehicle just to have bigger wheels/tires?
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    Will Kia Borrego 7-seats compete with the Subaru Forester 5-seats? Would someone comment why he/she will buy a Forester instead of a Borrego? If the MSRP is similar (close to the $30,000) what could your criteria be to select one instead of the other?
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    Subaru does not sell enough vehicles to make dozens of options configurations available from the factory. Unfortunately having them packaged doesn't really allow for individual preference, but overall it's a much more efficient business model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think so, the Forester competes with the Tucson/Sportage and to a lesser extent, the Santa Fe.

    The Borrego should be a lot bigger, and would probably compete with the Tribeca.

    I agree with dstew that a company as small as Subaru has to standardize option packages in order to gain economies of scale.

    Even Toyota, with all its volume, still forces you into packages.

    For instance, to get AWD, you must get run flat tires. To get a GPS Navigation unit, or worse, a backup camera, which is a safety option, you have to get leather on a Sienna. Why? What does leather have to do with any of those? To get a DVD player, you're forced in to the premium sound system.

    Also, even though lots of options appear to be a-la-carte on the menu, they just don't build them that way. You get what they make, unless you special order, and some regions even limit what you can special order, believe it or not.

    So it's not just Subaru.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    "Fog lights, repeaters or mirror sign lights, roof rails, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, privacy glass, heated driver and passenger mirrors, controls on the steering wheel, engine immobilizer, skid plates, and anti-theft alarm system should be standard and not an option."

    Even your abbreviated list of standard features would be unacceptable or unnecessary for some. For folks who are barely able to afford a Forester, those features may put it out of reach, or force Subaru to list a higher "base model" price than a more bare-bones competitor, thus losing the shopper looking for the cheapest price to get into a small, reliable SUV. Skid plates would be unnecessary cost & weight for the majority who never take their Forester off pavement. Folks who live in warm climates would probably not use or want to pay for heated mirrors. Roof rails could be a bad item to XT owners who take their Foresters to the track or to folks who prefer the wagon look to the SUV look, since the rails increase wind noise, weight and center of gravity while decreasing aerodynamics. Many people don't like tinted privacy glass (and I'd rather have it done aftermarket so it can be whatever color & level of tint I prefer). Leather-wrapped steering & shift knob? Many would rather spend that money on mudguards, cargo nets, all-weather mats, etc.

    That said, I'd like everything on your list (except the privacy glass) on my Forester. My only point is that it's too hard to please everybody and too expensive to make everything a stand-alone option. No package they offer will be perfect for everyone. :)

    I'd like to see leather, the giant moonroof, HID and audio systems each be standalone options regardless of trim level... and package them all together at a discount for someone who wants them all.

    Expect an engine immobilizer to be standard equipment. It now is on all other Subies.

    You can order larger wheels from your dealer's parts dept. Lots of folks prefer the smaller wheels for driving in snow and they should be easy to get rid of on one of the enthusiast forums or maybe even to sell back to the dealer. Granted, it's extra work, but you can get what you want that way.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Skid plates in the front cut the cooling down so you won't see em from the factory.

    Tinted windows behind the B-pillar will be std on the 09 Foresters.

    -mike
  • Are these ok for dirt roads? Sounds dumb, but what I mean is if I buy one, and I would wait for the new one if I were to buy, how sturdy are they? You can take almost anything on 4 wheels on a dirt/gravel road. Repeatedly. And it will get you to work and the store fine afterwards. If you don't mind headlights going out, tires going flat, windows not closing all the way, dashboard, rear window, and rear cargo rattles and squeaks. Etc, etc.... When I go most anywhere into the hills from the Greater Seatttle-Tacoma area, the Subarus are thick. I can't afford $30,000 +. I need a reliable car that I don't need to turn around when the road to the day-hike turns to gravel. But, I drive around 30,000 miles a year. and want a quiet pavement ride, too. I'm used to boring conservative Toyota reliability. I am not 100% sure of any purchase, as it wouldn't be the smartest financial move. Have been thinking about it anyway, and the '09 Forester looks just fine!
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    Yes, it's regrettable, in my opinion, that Japanese auto manufacturers are drifting to the package deals for options. Not that long a time ago, even Subaru offered pretty much a-la-cart options in Japan. But indeed, there is money to be made in packages, and once the auto makers have tasted the sweetness, they do not want to go back.

    And some of us are being forced to pay for what we do not want. Either that, we have to forego what we really want.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    I am new to Subie. please tell me, does the Forester presently have or will it have an Auto trans that will have a manual mode similar to the shiftronic in the Santa Fe, Nissan Rogue, and Vw Tiguan ? I am looking foward to this new Forester, however i really enjoy the manual mode in my VW Passat as well. Thanks for any information.
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAPosts: 113
    "4EAT for the auto tranny. This is the only significant "miss" in my opinion."

    I agree, and a BIG one it is, too. Given that Subaru's never been know for superlative trannies, you'd think they'd jump at the chance to go with a 5 or 6 AT to make up for past lapses. Disappointing, especially from this mfr. No worry - my '03 will keep me going until the '10s come out with a better tranny and the other inevitable kinks worked out.

    But overall, I like the clean lines of the redesign. Interior is nice and simple; let's hope some of that extra 3" translates into more driver's legroom, with a similar carryover for the new height. And what's that pod near the front of the hood in the photos? Surely not a reincarnation of the outboard tach, a la "The Judge!"
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    I don't know which car(s) will have it, but Subaru is developing a new CVT which they have recently said will be put into use in 2009. Subaru already uses CVT in all of its kei cars, but Mr. Mori, CEO of FHI, said that the new CVT would gradually be introduced starting in 2009.

    The question, of course, is "For which models?" Could the 4AT for Forester/Impreza be a transitional transmission until the new CVT is phased in?

    Mr. Mori also mentioned that a new generation of horizontally-opposed engines would be introduced in 2010.
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    With the advent of the Outlander ES SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl CVT) - February 2008- with heated mirrors, leather trim knob and leather trim steering wheel, 16” alloys, roof rails, privacy glass, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth pre-wire, skid plates, fog lights, and side light repeaters at a MSRP $23,100; I think the new Forester SUV may only compete with this model if the price is no more than $1000 over the Outlander’s price. The Forester with its 4-speed automatic is not up-to-date with modern engine design or the competition (see the Honda CR-V, or the Nissan Rogue). I would have to be very loyal and passionate to stick with Subaru especially with its usual higher price than similar vehicles.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Don't forget you can get a MT trans on the Forester which is not available at any price IIRC on the Honda, Mitsu or Nissan.

    They did bling up the Mitsu though. So if you like flashy it may be for you.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    FWIW that new 4 banger Outlander just ranked 4th out of 9 sport/cutes in the new C&D magazine.

    RAV4, CR-V, and Rogue took the top 3 spots. Forester was not included, probably because the new one wasn't out yet.

    They said the RAV4 had a 4EAT, is that right? I thought it was 5. Maybe they made a typo.

    Any how, the funny thing was the 4 bangers beat the V6s, pretty much across the board.

    Those are the competitors for the Forester. If you want to know what to expect, and what the targets should be for the Forester, read that article.

    Test averages:

    0-60mph: 9.1 seconds
    1/4 mile: 17.0s @ 82mph
    Top Speed: 111
    dBA @ 70mph cruise: 70
    MPG during test: 19
    70-0 braking: 184 feet
    Skidpad: 0.74 g
    Lane Change: 56.7mph

    There are your targets, basically. I think the Forester can beat most of those, and blow away that fuel economy.
  • jacksan1jacksan1 Posts: 504
    They said the RAV4 had a 4EAT, is that right? I thought it was 5. Maybe they made a typo.

    The 4-cylinder RAV4 comes with 4AT, whereas the V-6 version uses 5AT.
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    In road test review made by Edmunds in four vehicles, i.e. Mitsubishi Outlander (V6), RAV4 (V6), Honda CR-V (4-cyl), and Nissan Rogue (4-cyl) reported that the RAV4 (V6) was the winner of this road test. The test, however, has shown an involuntary bias in the criteria for this evaluation. Owners of the RAV4 have reported the poor payload capacity of the RAV4 that may demonstrate the lack of meat in the construction of the vehicle.

    The max payload capacity of any RAV4 is the equivalent of 7-persons weight (approximately 150 lbs each). So if you load your RAV4 with 7-persons the roof rail and the roof box are just decorations. Camping or picnic with 7-person is unpractical in a RAV4, i.e. no cargo for the usual stuff. Let’s us now see the Outlander (V6) where its payload capacity is enough to carry a total weight of 9-people (150 lbs each). This is to say 7-people as passengers and the weight equivalent of 2-people as cargo. The roof rail and roof box make sense here. This situation is much better with the Outlander ES 2.4L which its payload capacity is equivalent to 10-people weight. Making some allowances for the engine weight of both vehicles (RAV4 (V6) and Outlander (V6)) the Outlander has more than 80 lbs of meat (similar results for the 4-cyl). This weight difference in material of construction makes the Outlander stronger for carry more cargo than the RAV4, the CR-V and the Rogue. I think that the 2009 Forester will have the same limitation. Road test in the future should test the drivability of the vehicle with maximum payload capacity to find out if the vehicles still responds as expected.

    In my research for a 7-seat SUV I was almost ready to order a RAV4 (V6 or a 4-cyl) but after going into the details of both vehicles plus some comments of RAV4’s owners about the poor payload capacity of the Toyota I am now more inclined to order an Outlander ES 2.4L. I am not in the business of towing anything (boat, motor home, etc) so at a price of MSRP $23,100 I think the Outlander ES 2.4L may suit my requirements. However I will wait for the new Forester to make my final decision.

    The RAV4 and the CR-V are pavement SUV. The Rogue, Subaru and Outlander can be taken out of pavement, however the Outlander will allow you to carry not only people but plenty of cargo and that is what a proper SUV is for.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would shop elsewhere if you really need to seat 7 people. The Forester won't offer that option, and the RAV4 and Outlander's 3rd row is positively tiny. The seats Mitubishi uses remind me of the ones in the bed of the Subaru BRAT, i.e. more of an excuse for a seat than a real seat.

    How safe could kids be with their heads mere inches from the rear glass?

    Seriously, get a minivan if you need 7+ payload. It's the rational thing to do.

    The Forester always had more payload than the CR-V or RAV4. When I shopped in 1998 the Subaru offered the most, followed by the CR-V, with the 760 lb rating of the Toyota bringing up the rear.

    So the 4 banger RAV4 does have a 4 speed, interesting. Even more interesting is that it still won in C&D. The V6 is quite an engine (I have the same engine in my Sienna) so I'm not surprised it won the Edmunds comparo, even though apart from the powertrain I do not think it's the best in class.
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