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2009 Subaru Forester



  • nathansnathans Posts: 15
    That's just it - I have an '03 Impreza, and I think it's fun, though not as quick as I'd like - no turbo :( I want a turbo next time, and I want a car that's fun to drive, and that has plenty of headroom (I'm 6'7"). I fit quite well in my Impreza (no sunroof), but I find that other subarus with the sunroof are tight in headroom - even my wife's Tribeca. So I kind of see the options to be WRX, Legacy GT, or Forester XT. Any comments or advice? Also, I don't know if these models come without a sunroof, especially when you get above the very base models. Thanks!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    The best advice I can give you is to drive the new Forester—and several times from different dealers. Only then will you be able to decide for yourself if there is enough of a fun factor.

    I have to say, having this dealer loaner for 3 days, I've come to appreciate the new Forester even more. It's really an excellent car, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 303
    1. Does the 09 forester have the Direct injection engine?

    2. I came across an old article ('99) on the Subaru global site that said they had an electric hybrid coming in '01 that was suppose to get 50% more fuel economy. "A great town car." Anyone have any updates on this?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    1) No. I know Subaru is working direct injection, but none of their cars have it as of yet.

    2) Subaru was developing their own hybrid system, but that was put on hold or canceled once they hooked up with Toyota. I just heard yesterday that the all-new 2010 Legacy and Outback may offer a hybrid model, most likely done with Toyota's help. No word as to when or if it will be sold here.

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Excellent advice Bob. Fun is always in the eye of the beholder. I have had lots of vehicles that I have considered fun, at different moods and stages of my life.

    I have driven a car at 147 MPH, a bike at 120 MPH, driven cars with 500 HP that were great fun in a straight line but not so much in curves, and cars that could corner on rails but didn't have lots of torque or HP to spare, but they were all fun in their own way.

    I have evolved to a point where I think balance is most important. A vehicle that can maintain a high average speed to a destination is now most satisfying. I am sure I would love an XT, and a WRX/STi for that matter, but I can say that one of my most satisfying cars ever was my 01 Forester L, 5 spd, with the 50/50 AWD split. I added the Impreza rear sway bar and loved the results.

    I always got a kick as vehicles with much larger engines tried to stay with me on curvy country roads. They would close the gap somewhat on straight parts of the road then panic and hit the brakes hard when they realized that they couldn't do the corners as smooth and fast as I could. They would fall way behind in the curves then accelerate hard to catch up, only to have to hit the brakes again soon. Their 2 sigma was much higher than mine, and I also got much better gas mileage than they did along that trip, not to mention brake life.

    I still have fun driving my 06 Forester Premium with auto, but it really could use the sway bar. Balance is again the key, and is one of the reasons I like the Tribeca, but everyone has to judge for themselves because they have to live with it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    You can contact and talk to COBB Tuning in Salt Lake City, UT (they have website), as they seem to be the "tuner" of choice for Subaru.
    Their focus, however, seems strictly track-oriented.

    So if you want your Subaru to perform better on the track (less lean, firmer ride, more responsive handling), Cobb has engine flashes, suspension mods and other goodies available for many Subarus.

    ....but, as of site check yesterday, nothing yet for the '09 Forester. And frankly, do lowered springs make sense for a Forester?

    FYI, I've found the Forester leans in turns only when you drive it __very hard__. If that is what you wish, you might want to swap out the Geolander tires for something better.
  • nathansnathans Posts: 15
    Certainly true. My wife's Tribeca is very balanced. It has a firm, planted feel, even through fast corners. I think it feels much more stable and unflappable in cornering than my Impreza. Really a nice ride I think.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Many of us put the larger, solid STi sway rear bar on our 03 to05 foresters which significantly improved the cornering without impacting the ride. Simple, low cost & very effective with no negatives. Is there a stiffer rear sway bar from the Impreza or JDM Forester that could be fitted onto the 09 Forester?.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Sorry, I should have put in my $.02. I am completely opposed to extended warrantees for just about every situation. They are basically insurance policies, and I don't pay to insure things that I can afford to pay. I choose to insure myself by taking the thousands of dollars I've saved on them to pay for the infrequent repairs which might arise. Thinking logically, a company must make money on an extended warranty to offer it as a product. Therefore, statistically you will never on average get as much back as you pay out. The key is to never take the extended warranty on anything (electronics, appliances, etc) for this to work out best. My financial situation is such that I can cover any potential repairs that may arise to a vehicle so YMMV.
    The one exception I made was by taking the extended factory warranty on my old Yukon XL. Two significant repairs were needed, neither of which they covered and whose total cost was still less than the warranty. I won't make that mistake again, and didn't even think twice about it for the Subaru.
    So you know where I come from, I am a strong believer in insurance where it matters : car, home,life, disability and travel medical are very important because they can change your life or the lives of your loved ones if something terrible happens. Extended car warrantees just don't make that cut.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Hi Kurt. I am familiar with Cobb, and they do nice work. The problem is that their stuff changes the character of the car, and the stage I am in is "subtle enhancement". The nice thing about fitting the OEM Subaru parts is the value factor. My sway bar for my 01 cost about $75, well worth the price. I have considered adding the one for my 06, and it is about $100.

    I haven't driven the 09 yet but I am surprised to hear some people not liking the handling. My salesman is a "car guy" and he raved about the handling changes and balance. He said it was like a mini-Tribeca on the balance axis.

    I guess I will have to go drive one. I have been waiting because my wife is due to upgrade her 05 Bean, but she seems in no hurry. That alone speaks to how much we like all the Foresters we have had. Before them we used to trade up about every 3 years because we were sick of what we had and wanted something new and different. I am sure getting older has had a lot to do with that, but all our Foresters have been great, enjoyable vehicles.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    I am not quite as tall as you, "only" 6'3", but there was a time when my choices among Subarus, and basically most cars with sunroofs, were limited because of headroom. I hate that squashed feeling. The Foresters have served me/us well, and with the power seat of my 06 Premium the leg room is fine too. I sat in an 09 Bean with the moonroof and felt it was still fine with headroom and the legroom was a little better.

    I really liked the 07 Tribeca when I drove it, except for the premium gas and I felt it needed a bit more power/torque. I have resisted driving the 08 because it might start me down a path I am not ready for.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Dan, I have considered putting the bar you mention on my 06, several times, but every time I read about the problems some have had with the axle tabs breaking off I pause. Have you or anyone you know had this problem?

    I wouldn't be surprised if a bar off one of the new Impreza models fit the
    09 Forester, but haven't heard anything yet, or even checked the diameter difference. Jamie (SubieGal) at AllSubaru would be on top of this.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    bigfrank3, what I get from COBB is they are track people. They want the Subarus to perform well on hard, smooth roads, and they do nice stuff to make it so.

    Motor Trend complained about the '09 XT leaning too much in turns, once again while testing on a track.

    Uh.... what is a Forester for? The track??? :confuse:

    If COBB can improve some damping characteristics of the Forester on rough roads (some reports suggest the '09's underdamped), well and good. But cutting its heigth down and making it track-rigid seems contrary to its spirit, and I suspect that stiff suspension would probably make a Forester miserablely skittish on Catalina-Island class roads.

    Are there sanctioned Forester racing events devoted solely to paved, smooth race tracks ?? :surprise:
  • buckhuntrbuckhuntr Posts: 11
    My wife and I are very prone to take off down a dirt road just to see where it leads, and camp out if the end is nice. I want something that will bring me back out again if the going gets tough, not something that handles well on a paved track. For that, I'd get a car. The Forester looks to be plenty fun for me.
  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 303
    The owner's manual lists a tool called the "lever". It did not come with my premium model 09 Forester, yet I can see where it belongs in the "foam".

    1. Does anyone know what this tool is for?

    2. Is it suppose to come with the Premium model Forester?

  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Frank: read hundreds of post before making the switch, never read of anyone actually breaking anything!. I suspect breaking the mounting tabls is extremely rare - perhaps if you were autocrossing or rallying regularly. I don't nomally push real hard, but enjoy the flatter cornering even at moderate speeds. Here is a link with all the details:

    You can get the bar wholesale plus some tech support at WWW.ALLSUBARU.COM Toll Free: 800 516-8869 (Carter Subaru Seattle)

    Be sure you get the larger bushings & brackets. I tried to make it work with the smaller ones but it was NO GO! A excellent easy, inexpensive modifcation - even I could do it in an hour. Toughest part was place the bolts on the passenger side.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Thanks Dan. That link is part of the data I collected for my consideration, however there are others where the welded tab got broken or bent. The tab is only welded on 1 side and not reinforced for the Forester as it appears to be on the WRX/STi. As you mention, I am sure it is in hard use, and also like you, that is not how I use the vehicle but want the same things you mention. Someone actually designed an add-on bracket that reinforced the mounting, and sold some, but they were limited and was something he had no intention of doing forever.

    The instruction doesn't look much different than what I went through on my 01 so I am not afraid of that. My compressor and air tools make jobs like that pretty easy. I have been only concerned about breaking the tabs and having to get them re-welded, you know, Murphy's Law.

    While I like the 09 from what I have seen there are some things they changed that I don't like. I am not a leather fan, and you can no longer get the power seat with the Premium, so I will probably keep my perfectly fine 06 for a while. I guess I should rethink the bar and make the move on it. Thanks!
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    While the '09 Forester's a nice car, I have doubts about the Geolander tires it wears coping with snow and ice.

    Have any Forester owners here used Michelin Primacy tires? If so, how are they working out?
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    3 of the 5 Foresters we have had came with the Yokos and we have found no fault with them in our New England winters until they get well worn. We rarely get real deep snow here but we get a lot of ice and black ice. The few times we have had to deal with 7+ inches of snow they also did fine. 5" or 6", or less, is pretty routine. My wife and I marvel that we have had no "white knuckle" drives since we have owned Foresters, unlike before. Our driveway is about 100' long and rises significantly to the street. If we have 6" of snow or so, she just drives out to the road with no fanfare. I used to have to get up early and snow-blow. If there is a big berm at the driveway road interface because the plows have been by, she just drives through that too.

    When they wear down to close to the "Lincoln penny head" level they start to not work so well, so my wife recently chose to replace them a bit earlier than she could have legally. She replaced her Yokos with Michelin Pilot Exaltos but no winter with them yet. She loves them in the dry and the rain though.
  • flapperflapper Posts: 16
    They are a little hard to find, but the Nokian WR tires are terrific. They are an all-season tire but have the 'snowflake" designation; so they function almost like an actual dedicated snow tire. They handle pretty well and with 32,000 miles on my '05 Impreza Outback there is plenty of tread left. Their only drawback is that they are slightly noisier than the stock tires due to the aggressive tread design. Short of having 2 sets of tires, I feel these are by far the best way to go.
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