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2009 Subaru Forester

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  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    Subaru's customers are, the company admits, a little oddball. How else do you explain the fact that Subaru of America was the only car company to increase unit sales last year? Subaru buyers tend to be overeducated; they buy less car than they can afford and hang on to it forever. "They pay cash, and then you never see them again," says Tim Mahoney, Subaru of America's chief marketing officer. At least not for an average 7.3 years, when they return like migrating carbirds to buy another one. Recession or not.

    You know, of course, that Detroit is on its knees. But Stuttgart, Tokyo and Seoul aren't faring particularly well either. Toyota's U.S. sales were off 16% last year. Yet Subaru was positive to the tune of 491 cars. The company sold 187,699 vehicles last year, led by value-driven models like the Forester SUV and Outback wagon ($19,995 to $22,295) and the muscled-up Impreza WRX ($24,995), a small sedan. (Read TIME's biographies of Detroit's Big Three CEOs.)

    That's an increase of just 0.3% over 2007. But in a disastrous year for the industry, it boosted Subaru's market share to 1.92%, from 1.2%. In the auto industry, that's a huge increase — and a higher market share than Cadillac, for instance. Subaru did it without giving away the store too. For 2008, the company decided to roll back its list prices and back off the rebates. The sticker price of the 2009 Forester, for instance, was lowered to $19,995, from $21,295. "We had to bring down our incentive costs and stop selling based on the deal," says Tom Doll, executive vice president of the company, which is a division of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries.

    Loyalty can help you do that, and Subaru has leveraged its existing customers, who identify more with their cars than perhaps is healthy. "If you stop a Subaru owner at sporting event, ski slope, shopping center, they'll tell you, 'I love this car,' " says Mahoney. And being the opinionated-bumper-sticker type, they are more likely to recommend the brand than even Toyota or Honda owners.
    Certainly, it's a perfect era for a car company that is green (it boasts zero-landfill production plants), safety-focused, and can deliver a fair amount of value and performance. In the snow belt regions of the Northeast and intermountain west, Subaru has long had a following because of its all-wheel-drive portfolio.
    But Subaru has successfully expanded both its geography and demography, becoming a more national car company and getting a broader customer base.

    To accomplish both, the company expanded its safety-first image to one that includes better performance and more fun. After all, who wants to motor around in the equivalent of all-wheel-drive bubble wrap? California, a vital auto market, discovered Subaru courtesy of models like the Impreza WRX. All-wheel drive is terrific in the Sierras, but in the Los Angeles Basin, it's more about performance, which the 265-hp, intercooled, turbocharged WRX could address. The muscle models scored well with younger drivers and allowed Subaru to get more exposure for its full line.

    Having more than weathered the dreadfully bad 2008, Subaru officials aren't planning on lowering sales this year. At Detroit's North American International Auto Show, Subaru unveiled a concept car that will likely evolve into a midsize sedan version of its Legacy. And on a broader note, Doll says that more available credit and Barack Obama's stimulus package should get additional buyers into showrooms. Of course, if all else fails, there are always those folks who bought an Outback 7.3 years ago — and are ready to return.
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Interesting read. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Bill
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That sums it up pretty nicely.

    When I installed a trailer hitch on my '98 Forester, I actually had to remove and replace the actual canister. It's a black plastic box about the size of an air filter.

    If any of the tubes leading in or out of that canister are disconnected, you'll even get a check-engine light.
  • Was interesting, for sure, and was the full article (apparently a short topic for Time).
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Nothing surprising in that at all - that's pretty much what I would have predicted as the profile of a Subie owner. The funny thing is that impressions like that are so often wrong.
  • I am looking to replace my VW 02 Passat. The Forester is one of many I am looking at. I am concerned about the many posts regarding rattles and cheap interior materal. The Passat has a smoot and quiet ride compared to my Wife;s 09 Matrix. Can I expect a smooth and quiet ride in the Forester? Does anyone think some of the problems in the first year will be corrected in 2010? Based on the question of quality in the 09 I can't feel comfortable buying one this year. I can wait as my Passat still runs OK after77,000 miles. I am also interested in the new Toyota Venza which looks good but again who knows about first year problems. Any advice will be appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your Veedub has an upscale interior, so you're definitely a price class down in terms of materials.

    Then again...if you check out a Tiguan, it's not any better than a Forester. That sort of surprised me, but then again I expected to see an interior like your Passat's in the Tiguan - that is definitely not the case.

    So compared to your Passat, they may seem like a step down, but compared to its peers, this is par for this class. Step up to a Tribeca if you want a soft headliner (Tribeca's is identical to the VW Phaeton) and other soft-touch materials.

    I will say that the perforated leather on our Limited's seats is very nice, as are the seat heaters. The peach fuzz headliner and plastic sun visors may disappoint you if you are used to the Passat, but so would a Tiguan.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    My post No. 1973 of July 20, 2008, follows up my search for suitable cupholders. I uploaded photos of a product I have found satisfactory.
  • birdboybirdboy Posts: 158
    hey Don, I had an 02 Passat and an 06 Passat. great cars when they are not in repair! I bought my first Subaru product last May..An 09 Forester LLBean (limited). I have been very happy with its performance,MPG , and cabin comfort. I am happy to be rid of the turbo lag and premium gas. The AWD, so far upstate new york has been incredibly great. The cargo space is a nice treat as well. I do find the interior to be on the cheap side, however I have looked at many others , and plastic is what they are all using.even VW. I do not think you could compare the Venza to the Forester . The four cylinder AT, performs smoothly and is more than ample for me. I find myself doing 80 very easily and needing to slow down. Go test drive one and see
  • The Venza is comparable in size with the Outback, and is much larger than Forester or Tiguan. It's a first year car too so expect some minor issues.
    To Subaru's credit, they've so far been pretty good about addressing first year issues with my Forester, via my servicing dealer.

    Wrt any new car, I would thoroughly research the local dealers and make sure they provide good after sales service. For Subaru in my area, I've the choice between a crummy one and a good one (the good one's a bit farther away); the good one gets all my business ;)
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    The Venza is probably a closer competitor to the Passat wagon in $$, finish and size than is the Forester.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    The Venza is much, much bigger than the Outback. It is more in line with the Tribeca size-wise, maybe a couple of inches lower.
  • Subaru has been very quiet about the Forester for 2010.

    Is there any truth to rumor that a CVT will replace the 4S AT for that model year? The reviewers have been beating Subaru so mercilessly on the 4 speed that I would be surprised if this is ignored yet again.

    My brother is considering a Forester and he is curious. As for me, I would probably wait a few years to switch (I don't think trade in loss would make up for the switch).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Is there any truth to rumor that a CVT will replace the 4S AT for that model year?

    Very unlikely. I've heard that Subaru wants the Legacy and Outback to have the CVT (exclusively) for at least a year. I don't expect any mechanical upgrades like that until the mid-life refresh, which is scheduled fro MY 2112.

    The Impreza's mid-life update is for MY 2011, and I expect the CVT to show up on that car then.

    Bob
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    Any word/s on Direct Injection Engines for upcoming models???
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Still a few years off, from what I understand. :( Again, I would hopefully expect this at the mid-life refresh.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Venza is a strange product because it's between a crossover and a wagon, a crosswagon?

    Tribeca competes with the Highlander.

    Forester competes with the RAV4.

    Venza doesn't really have an equivalent in the Subaru lineup. If they up-size the new Outback, maybe they would match up better.

    I find the Venza very handsome, despite an overdone grille, but I don't really "get" it. It's as big as the Highlander but probably has less space than the RAV4. No 3rd row option. It's not that light or fuel efficient. And it's sort of expensive.

    I'm sure it will appeal to Lexus RX intenders who cannot afford to spend that much, but it's not for me. I either want performance or practicality, or even both. I'm not convinced the Venza offers either.

    It will find its niche, though. The Murano sells well, and it's fairly similar.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    The Toyota dealer said the Venza is to compete with the Murano.

    Bob
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    There are people like my wife who prefer a car/station wagon look to the tall SUV style, so there may be more of a market there. The AWD is a plus with only upscale brands or Subie as competition in a car platform. Venza in other jurisdictions gets the 3rd row, I wonder why it wasn't even an option here?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, you follow the Crossover thread, and I mentioned the Mark X Zio (I think that's what it is called in other markets) and nobody even responded. Zero interest.

    The Venza has not even been mentioned there. Perhaps it is too small to be considered as an alternative for the bigger crossovers that tend to dominate that thread.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Not to mention the whole issue of whether or not it's a crossover, whatever that truly means. Remember, some even questioned whether or not the Freestyle/Taurus X was a crossover versus just a station wagon. I'd argue that the Outback was the first true crossover but if it's just a jacked up Legacy which clearly isn't a crossover, then the dividing line can be problematic.
    IMHO the Crossover forum is really the medium to big, car-based SUV forum because that's what are always discussed there.
    Hee-hee, I couldn't leave the cargo thing alone, but I didn't think I was starting anything. Always comes down to starting with the vehicle you need and then getting what you want. Some folks over there don't seem to get that. Too much, "I own this so it's the best for everyone." On the cargo issue, dog carrying is really important for us, and no dog wants to ride behind the 3rd row of a Sienna - not that they would enjoy riding in the trunk of any crossover. I've really mollified otherwise, and realize that luggage or dog room is irrelevant if we keep the Yukon XL to use in those situations. If we went on vacation without the hounds, a Sienna and a roof carrier would still be more fuel efficient by far. It's all irrelevant though, because Dra is being an uncharacteristically indecisive shopper, and after a year and a half still hasn't commited to a new vehicle.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,392
    Dra is being an uncharacteristically indecisive shopper, and after a year and a half still hasn't commited to a new vehicle.

    Well, I think that is preferable to what my wife did when we purchased our 2007 Outback. She said she would not consider anything except a Subaru, but she did not want an "older" one because she was not interested in high mileage or maintenance concerns. Okay, so that leaves a new Subaru. We decide on trim, I made her test drive one (since she wanted a manual), then we purchased one and brought it home. After that, she was disappointed with the feel of the car (interior rattles, cracking shift & parking brake boots, scuffs, etc) and said she would have liked to get an older ('96-'99) Subaru like our last one. Grr... that is what I was trying to get her to agree to buy all along! Hah!

    Then, she starts saying about other new cars, "oh, that looks nice" and, "we should have looked at one of those." I would not call it buyer's remorse, but she certainly did her shopping once the cart was planted firmly in front of the horse. To her credit, though, she was very amenable to my suggestion that we do a vehicular about-face once we learned we were having another baby. It was expensive to get rid of the '07, but it has worked out beautifully in terms of cost savings over the last 18 months. I cannot believe it was two years ago already that I lost my '96 Outback. My how the time flies....
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Hi All,

    Had our first round of snow here. The car did great. But, the wipers did a terrible job: icing up, not clearing the windshield, etc. These are the stock blades.

    What have others done? Do you have this problem? Does Subaru have a winter blade?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I would really appreciate some advice.

    Its hard to appreciate the good handling when you can't see -- other cars on the road didn't seem to have this problem.

    Thanks,

    Bill, in West Virginia
  • Subaru supposedly offers winter wiper blades. I have not used them : the stock blades are proving so so, though the winter package (wiper deicer, mirror deicers, etc) helps somewhat.

    Also helps to have windshield washer fluid with a low freeze point, and Prestone spray deicer (the yellowish version in a spray bottle was wildly popular when the last big snow hit Portland OR).

    My only problem was ice buildup near the top of the windshield where the defroster could not quite melt it. That required manual clearing ever so often.
  • billwvbillwv Posts: 48
    Thanks for the information. I think I'll try the deicer. Mine is the 2.5x base, so I don't have the heated wiper area--one option I wish I had.

    I had the defroster full blast, must have been 90 degrees inside, the windshield was still a mess.

    Has anyone used the winter wipers--comments?

    Bill
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I own this so it's the best for everyone

    So true, as if 22 cubic feet of cargo space were the same as 45. See recent posts.

    Funny thing is I think they've convinced themselves that 22=55.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 303
    Has anyone else been having the chemical fogging problems?

    I have had 2 dealers look at it now. One said it was the dash off gassing. Another said it was the cosmoline(rust inhibitor in the car). Both said that it should be done, but it is NOT GOING AWAY.

    I am looking for any advice to resolve this.

    It is so bad now that even in the daytime, the reflections on the windshield due to the chemical build up make it hard to see out of. It is greasy like, so it just smears. They "say" it isn't the antifreeze. Cleaning it is always half-assed. One dealer used industrial strength cleaner on it and that kept it clean for less than a week (although, I probably wasn't using the defroster either, as it was warmer here then.)

    Any help??? Suggestions???

    I do want to be able to see clearly out of my windsheild!!! (And all the other windows, as it builds up on them as well.)
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Different vehicles, but absolutely no issues with the WRX and I doubt there is a big diff between our windshields. This makes me think it is not normal no matter what is being said. I did get it in November though so it hasn't seen high temps. I wish I could offer advice on fixing it but cannot.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Same here, no issues whatsoever.

    In fact our van fogs up much worse than our Forester does. And the windshield takes about 3 days to clean it's so big.

    Try drying it with newspaper instead of using paper towels. Maybe hide some baking soda under the seat to absorb smells? We do that.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    BTW why is newspaper effective more than paper?
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