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Article Comments - 2009 Subaru Forester XT First Drive and Full Test



  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    ???. The '09 I have with Auto doesn't come anywhere near 3K rpm at 70 mph. It loafs along around 1.5K at 60 mph or so.
    Also, the engine responds right away if I prod the accelerator at that speed, especially if in Sport mode.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I would like to know what the final drive ratios are for the 09 vs the 05 for the auto.
  • tinycadontinycadon Posts: 287
    You can find a lot of Subaru info from this guy's website:

    Automatic: 1st 3.027, 2nd 1.619, 3rd 1,0, 4th 0.694, rev 2.272, final 4.444
    Turbo: 1st 2.785, 2nd 1.545, 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.694, rev 2.272, final 4.444

    Automatic: 1st 2.785, 2nd 1.545, 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.694, rev 2.272, final 4.444
    Turbo: 1st 2.785, 2nd 1.545, 3rd 1.0, 4th 0.694, rev 2.272, final 4.111
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Thanks! Interesting so with the turbo the automatic has a lower ratio. That may make a bit of difference cruising at highway speed. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep, and we should remember the torque peak occurs sooner with the new state of tune for this engine, so it should not feel much slower.

    This is probably how they got the fuel economy numbers to improve.
  • hank119hank119 Posts: 39
    I'm considering the Subaru Forester but in this era of high fuel prices I am turned off the XT version because of the requirement for Premium gas. I was unable to find any mention of this in the article. This factor makes an appreciable differerence in fuel cost and the writer's quoting of EPA mileage is incomplete without mentioning this.

    I'm going to test drive the non-turbo version with automatic tranny. Have test driven the Rav4 and like it very much. My requirement is for a vehicle which can tow at least 2000 lbs short distances and up a slippery boat ramp. If not for the premium gas the XT would certainly be a contender.

    It's surprising how few small vehicles there are which can tow 2000 lbs with reasonable fuel economy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What about an LL Bean model? 170hp should be adequate if fuel economy is your goal.

    FWIW, premium fuel is recommend but not required. The higher boost Legacy GT engine does require premium.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    Actually, the Forester manual states that you can use lower-than-Premium (91 octane) only in emergencies. Steady use of lower octane fuel may cause the "check engine" light to go on, at which point you have to go to the dealer to get it reset (and the dealer will know __why__ that light is one).

    Subaru has a marketing video discussing engine overheating being one concern of using lower octane fuel. Subaru redesigned the Tribeca's motor with a new parallel flow cooling system to alleviate that. The video can be found on
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Get an OBDII scanner, mine was $99.

    I used it on my sister's car just yesterday. It paid for itself a long time ago.

    Around here we get 93 octane, a bit overkill.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    Not sure where the ODBII port is in the '09 Forester.
    On the GM cars it's right under the driver's left knee. It wasn't there when I looked under the Forester dash.
    Octane here is 92 - I think Subie requires 91, so perhaps I can get away with intermediate every so often which is 90 (average of 92 and 90 = 91).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It should be under the steering column, to the left. Open the door wide and you should see it if you peek up at the bottom of the steering column.

    It was that way for 1998 models, and for my sister's 2003 as well.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    Yes it is, centered right under the columm and just behind the leading edge of the lower dash. Thanks for tip.

    ...though it was kinda cheap of Subaru to leave off any kind of driver side under dash cover keeping feet from all that wiring and sharp edged brackets (there are attachment holes for one). A nice touch on the Malibu was they covered all that stuff.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if they do it on the Legacy and Tribeca, perhaps.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    Everything I have been reading wrt the USA Forester suggests that yes, it did get a new turbo design for '09, apparently a Twin Scroll version that greatly improves drivability and gets rid of the old school "turbo rush".

    But...the Edmunds article suggested this is the same turbo used by the Outback and Legacy. Not as far as I can tell, for Subaru did not change the turbos for '08, and the Outback XTs' I drove were no way as drivable as the Forester was.

    In the '08 Outback, turbo power didn't kick in until around 3 - 3.5K RPM. When it did, there was a big rush from the engine that made it kinda a chore to drive in city traffic (one sample I drove was like a bucking bronco). Sometimes it took 2 or more seconds after pushing the accelerator before the car would respond, and that was in Sport Sharp!
    With the Forester, if the revs are around 2500 or higher, you get turbo right away, if not as big a rush at the end of the acceleration. If you push the accelerator, you get action in no less than a second or so.

    My guess is possibly in '09, and definitely in '10, we'll see the new turbo and other enhancements on the Outback.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2009 Subaru Forester has a low step-in height and capacious headroom (I'm 6-foot-1). The instrument gauges are among the most beautiful I've ever seen, with two shades of blue. Everything within the cabin is well-placed and clearly marked, and outward visibility is great. It's got plenty of cargo room as well. The Forester has real, usable power, and corners relatively flat in spite of its tall stature. Despite some complaints made by others, the four-speed automatic delivers the power just when you need it, and it's actually pretty smooth in the manual shift mode.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    I enjoyed the article, which seems very accurate given my experiences with my '09 XT Limited.
    However, the price comparisons are a little odd.

    If one prices the Toyota RAV4 with AWD and V6 on the Toyota website, giving it same accessories as the XT Limited, it is not $3000 less. In fact, the RAV4 comes out slightly more expensive, at around $31,000.

    A Honda CR-V EX-L with AWD, similarly equipped, comes out on the Honda website to around $30,000.

    In effect these 3 vehicles, similarly equipped, are similarly priced.

    The decision between these 3 vehicles seems more of what they actually are, what they do, their dealer sales/service practices, and how much they cost to own, .vs. what their initial cost is.

    One other point: Where did Edmunds get this info that the '08 Outback has a new turbocharger? Every Subaru dealer and service center I asked told me, other than some minor plumbing tweeks, there has been no major change to the '08 Outback turbo since '05. And my driving experiences in at least 3 '08 Outbacks showed it had far more turbo lag and "turbo rush" than the '09 Forester does.
    If you _like_ Turbo surge, want a plusher ride at expense of more lean in turns, and a quieter, nicer interior in lieu of back seat footroom, the '08 Outback XT may be for you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The thing is the Limited package basically comes loaded, while competitors make you go a-la-carte to add options. Especially Toyota.
  • rasldaslrasldasl Posts: 74
    I am looking for a small SUV to replace my '07 Sentra when the lease runs out in the '10 model year. I like the Sentra and am considering the Rogue but had 2 Subies in the past so I want to give the new Forester a chance. Here are the items missing from the '09 that I would like to see on the '10 model:
    1. At least another gear for the automatic. Or a CVT.
    2. Push button start/keyless entry (available in Japan - why not here?) :mad:
    3. Bluetooth without the need for the nav system. And while they're at it, a better looking base audio head unit.
    The Japanese model also has woodgrain trim on the center console that looks nice, there is too much silver plastic right now. And the jet black water-resistant fabric seats with the orange stitching down the middle are very cool looking.
    Japanese market interior
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,747
    possibly in 2010, rasldasi, the Forester will have what you are looking for. We shall see. :shades:
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