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2009 Subaru Forester



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The OB also has the twin moonroofs, while the Forester has the single big one. I prefer the latter, though.

    Some people may want a vehicle that is lower to the ground. The Forester is a lot taller now.

    Keep in mind the 2010 Outback is likely to grow. I expect it to be as big as the Tribeca, then the new Tribeca will get even bigger.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Also some folks "won't be caught dead in an SUV" so those folks might want the OB over the forester.

  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    a Premium Package tonight.

    I'm just not impressed for a 25k 'upmarket' vehicle. No leather wrap steering wheel or shifter! Seriously! No more power drivers seat. No more fog lamps.

    They REALLY decontented this thing. I would have rather not seen a price cut, because the features I mentioned, in addition to the deletion of climate control, are not available as have to get the LL Bean which is really TOO upmarket for a lot of people budget wise.

    I think Subaru really dropped the ball here in terms of packaging. The vehicle itself is impressive, the safety feature additions are neccessary, but if you currently have, say, a 2.5x Premium, and you want to trade it in for the same thing in a 2009, you now are losing quite a few features over what you have. That's not a winning equation for Subaru, especially because historically people just haven't wanted to pay extra just for safety, even though they should.
  • How much does that filter cost? How about the oil? It must be expensive?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    So I took two test drives tonight in the rain in Oregon City, one loop in the Outback XT and a repeat with the Forester XT.


    More interior room in the Forester and easier to get in and out of (banged my head on the roof sill on the Outback, and I'm only 5' 7"). Forester had ample toe and leg room in back while Outback had very little (I have short legs). However, Outback has a more intimate feel and gives a little more accelerator foot room.

    Interior fit and finish is nicer in the Outback. Carpet and trim seem of higher quality. However, Forester has much more storage space in center and doors.
    I also heard a few rattles in the Outback, but none in the Forester.

    On a near 45 degree soaking wet asphalt road hill, the Outback accelerated up the hill with no drama whatever. The Forester, however, went into a crazy dance on that same hill as all 4 wheels began skittering and clawing for traction - only when I let up on the throttle did it calm down.

    The Outback proved the quieter of the two on the road (far less road noise), and seemed to have a more supple ride. The Forester was harsher on small bumps but not uncomfortable - it also cornered flatter and its handling responses were sharper.

    In Sport Sharp mode the Outback throttle response had touchy tip in but it wasn't all that much more responsive than in Sport mode. Both Outback and Forester had "two stage" acceleration (initial followed by turbo surge) - Outback's was far more obvious and came later in the rev range.

    I like the Foresters responsiveness and greater practicality, but the skittering on the hill is very worrysome. My __guess__ is the Forester, being 80% FWD balanced, lost front wheel traction on the hill and then went into a frenzy trying to either brake the spinning front wheels and send power to the rear wheels. The Outback, being 55% RWD balanced, was perfectly set up for that situation.

    Any comments are welcomed as I plan to decide tomorow (trade in was very reasonable and the sales staff is forthright).

  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Did you note whether VDC was turned on or off on each? It might be interesting to try the same incline test in the Forester with the VDC set the opposite of whichever way you tried tonight. Those reviews from the Catalina Island press days seemed to indicate pretty good offroadability from the new Forester, so I'm a bit surprised it would act like that. Is it possible the OB's tires were "warmed up" a bit more?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    wrt VDC, not sure. I suspect it was on (default mode) as I did not change any switches for that during the drive.

    I suspect on soft road surfaces the "skittering" would not be as noticeable.
    I was on hard, wet asphalt. Both cars were "cold tired" (engines were warmed up, though) when they tackled the hill.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think $25k MSRP is "upmarket", in fact isn't the average transaction near $28 grand nowadays? That's still a below-average priced vehicle. Edmunds' RAV4 cost $33.7k, for reference. A few other small SUVs break the $30k barrier, and I'm talking from mainstream brands.

    The AWP option arrives in June, it's just sold seperately now.

    The Premium model is what I would call value priced. The base X is the price leader. The LL Bean is upmarket.

    Good points about the dropped features, I noticed the plastic steering wheel, too, though I want the LL Bean, which has it. Just keep in mind they added a more sophisticated rear suspension, Sportshift, windows frames, VDC, and side curtain air bags. Those are expensive additions.

    Perhaps it did not bother me because I'm looking at an LL Bean. By the way, with VIP pricing it's right around that $25 grand price you mentioned.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would guess that the tire choice for the Forester was another factor in that scenario. Maybe even tire pressure.

    I didn't notice, but what tires are mounted? In the past they've used SUV tires that definitely aren't as sporty as what's used on the Outback.

    You noticed the lack of body roll, too. That impressed me also.

    The Outback's AWD system is superior, push come to shove, plus the better tires are what you probably noticed.

    I think the Forester would shine if you had tested it on a hilly, gravel road, where the angles of approach and departure are better than the Outback's. Maybe climing a dirt hill, too, with the all terrain tires.

    Tough call. If you stay on pavement you could get pavement-oriented tires for the Forester when it's time to replace the OE ones. My guess is that would nearly level the playing field.

    Do you like sitting up high? In my van I can see traffic up ahead. In my Miata I can actually see the underside of most cars, so I can check out rear suspensions and rear differentials (if present). :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool, my buddy over there just e-mailed me to say they got their first Bean in stock. Not the exact color we want, but I may go check it out to note the interior differences, and maybe check out what tires it has now that Kurt brought it up.

    Perfect timing. :shades:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,279

    My bet would be that the FWD/RWD balance played a role, but that the different tires were the major player. The stock Outback tires are decent on wet surfaces, okay on ice, and horrible in the snow. For the Forester, I could not say, but I suspect performance on both cars would improve dramatically with some decent rubber. :)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My guess is that it was the Tires combined with a super high air pressure (they do this cause they are going to be sitting on a ship from Japan for a month or more) and most dealers do not air them down. The Forester and the Outback should have handled that hill very similarly even with an 80% FWD bias on that trans. I've driven lots of 80 and 90% FWD AT Subies over the years (XT6, SVX, 96 L Race Car) and never had an issues with hills like that. I also run the properly inflated and proper tires for whatever activity I'm doing so that has helped me.


    Cliff Notes: I think it's the tire pressure followed by the tires themselves that made the traction difference.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    Paisan, I don't know what tires were on the '09 Forester (the dealer has virtually no specs). But they were stock, and relatively beefy. As for air pressure, no idea - the tires did not seem overinflated.

    Subaru of America described their AWD systems to me and while they had no answer for the skittering I encountered, it sounds like the Outback has a better handle on Torque management (the Forester seems totally reliant on wheel braking for side-side torque shift, while outback has a couple of extras as well as braking).

    Yeah, it's a very tough call. I like the Forester room and responsiveness, and the Outback's quiet refinement and pose. But if '09 Forester hill skitter shows up again on a followup drive, it's all over and the Outback wins for me. I have to drive this vehicle on ice during the winter and the last thing I need is an AWD car skittering and possibly tearing its drive to pieces trying to control wheel spin.

    Possibly that vehicle I drove was a dog?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I've driven tons of subies (we modify WRXs here in NJ) and 95% of the "skiddishness" is a result of tire pressure or the tread pattern/wear on the tires. As for the VDC moving power and "destroying the trans" I don't think so, this is the same system VDC that I have on my Nissan Armada and that shifts power around using the brakes as well. No issues with it blowing up anything yet, even in deep upstate NY snow. I did have some similar issues you mentioned above when I had the stock Continental tires on the Armada, I've since upgraded to Bridgestone Revos and no issues.

    If you can afford to wait til the 2010 Legacy/Outback come out I would definitely do so, you will like the refinement and the size a lot.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    the Forester seems totally reliant on wheel braking for side-side torque shift

    Yuck! That's why I don't like VDCs. They can be too intrusive. I bet a non-VDC equipped Forester wouldn't have had any problems with that hill :P With the rear LSD, it should be perfectly capable of handling the side-to-side transfer of power as well as the front-to-rear.

  • tkaytkay Posts: 99
    I picked up my 09 Bean Monday and the skins are P225 R55 17 Yokahama.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    There's one other factor...discounts on the Outbacks, none on the '09 Foresters.

    Yes, '10 seems to be a watershed year for Subaru and a whole bunch of players, but I have another winter to get through before then and I will also be loosing the warranties on my Maxx early next year (and the Maxx will be expensive to maintain without those).
    So I can't wait for the new Outback no matter how good it is. :cry:

    So per your earlier comments, Paisan, and assuming the same tires on both cars, is the Outback going to outdo the Forester wrt traction on nearly all roads ? I don't plan to be doing extensive off roading (so approach/departure's not a huge issue), but will be doing some long trips on interstates.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    So per your earlier comments, Paisan, and assuming the same tires on both cars, is the Outback going to outdo the Forester wrt traction on nearly all roads ? I don't plan to be doing extensive off roading (so approach/departure's not a huge issue), but will be doing some long trips on interstates.

    Given the same tires, you should not notice a difference in terms of winter traction between the 2 IMO. I do suggest a set of snow tires as they are really worth it even on subies. I currently have a set of Nokia Hakkapolita GTs on my wagon and it was real good in the few snow storms we had. I would definitely not buy the outback over the forester solely based on the winter traction, however the Forester may be the way to go for yah.

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    My take at the moment is the roomy '09 Forester XT will be more fun and sporty for city and short suburban drives, but could get to be a real grind on a long trip as it's a pretty noisy car on Oregon roads. Its interior, while better than before, remains on the cheap side (I could not believe how thin the rear seat back carpeting was). Also, it's mostly a first year car - the major dealer I've been to is not even fully set up yet.

    The Outback XT is not as frisky, nor as roomy (front storage space is close to ridiculous), but seems very solid and assured. It feels like it's __on__ the road while the Forester's on __top__ of the road. And the interior reminds me of an Audi, but warmer.

    Perhaps it's like choosing between a frisky colt, or a complacent stallion? Both are good in their own way.

    Ironically, my Maxx is solidly in the middle between these two, though of course it lacks AWD and has proven uninspiring or useless on winter roads here.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    is it true that the '09 Forester XT has a twin scroll turbo?
    That is what Motor Trend is claiming. If so sounds like a very nice improvement (correct me if wrong, but twin scroll turbos are claimed to have faster response / less lag ).

    By comparison, does the Outback uses a single scroll turbo?
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