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



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Coincidentally Kurt just had 20% film installed also.

    Let us know how you like it.
  • "...the torque split for the AWD system constantly varies according to acceleration, deceleration and wheel slip, and as much as 100 percent of power can be directed to the wheels with the most grip."

    This is not correct. I sent an email to Subaru asking the questions about the torque split, and got reply from them as below:

    Thank you for contacting Subaru Canada, Inc.

    The Forester does not have a Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) centre differential. For the 2009 model year, the Forester 2.5XT includes a Multi-plate Transfer (MPT) System that adjusts torque from 60/40 (F/R) to 50/50 (or anywhere in-between) depending on throttle input, road conditions and input from the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) System. VDC operates like most electronic stability control (ESC) systems in that it can adjust engine output, adjust individual brake pressure and even front rear torque distribution to retain/regain vehicle stability.

    It is not possible for the system defeat the role of the centre differential and thus torque output will always be split between the front and rear differential. Meaning, the system cannot direct 100% of power to a single wheel - whether it be with VTD or MPT.

    We trust this information is helpful.


    Rosanne Kernerman
    Bilingual Consumer Support Representative
    After Sales
  • That's a surprising narrow range of transfer ability.

    However, you can also install a fuse to defeat the AWD (for cases w/ emergency spare or other). At that point, Forester reverts to a FWD car, and I assume all the engine power is available for the FWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I don't think that's correct.

    The FWD fuse disengages the rear axle completely, so 100/0 is possible.

    I think people mis-use the term 50/50. I think a lot of people mean the two axles are locked when they say that.

    Example with a viscous coupling:

    Let's say the front axle is on ice. At first the front wheels slip, but then the VC locks the two axles together, and the power is transmitted to the rear axle.

    If the two axles are truly locked together, the fact is the front axle is really getting no power at all, or perhaps only enough to overcome the inertia needed to spin the front tires at the same speed as the rears.

    So locked is not the same as 50/50. Locked means the power will go to whichever axle has grip.

    I think that's what they mean when they say "50/50".
  • I think i'd agree with 100% of the review. Forester owners are a little bit of a sect, not quite a cult. Yes, we are dog lovers (among other animals), hikers, skiers, cyclist.
    I just got a 2010 XT limited loaded, it is so nice. Bigger, makes it easier to get in and out as i get older. The exterior styling looks better than my 2000 forester, for which i _am_ thankful. But i agree the styling is not what draws me to the car.
    Hitting pouring rain while doing 75-80mph in western interstates- the forester has been stable as a ROCK. The all time AWD is something i was not sure i needed at first, but now i refuse to consider a car without it. When my wife replaced her Camry and went upscale, we got the x version of the G35 because of my experience with AWD in the forester. After her first Chicago winter with AWD (the G35x has a particularly nice version IMHO), she'll never be without it.
    As a cleaned out my old 2000 to trade it in, no more junk in it (tow rope, rescue equipment etc), it was the lightest it had ever been. I had no accessories on the L model, the car was as light as it could be. With 1/4 tank of gas, I ran the 5 speed up to the red-line on the tollway on ramp, i realised i had forgotten how quick the little old car was. I was over 100 by the time i merged into traffic lanes when i slowed to blend with the traffic going 80-85 . What a nice last memory of the old car.
    Then, i get into the new XT. I can see where it is not as cat quick as the WRX. For me, that's probably good. I would drive too fast. Keeping the revs low for the first few hundred miles is going to be hard. But it will be worth it. The interior is more utilitarian than my wife's loaded G35x, but the finish is at least 95% as nice. Awesome blend of luxury, utility, capability. I looked at the EX35, even drove it for half a day. Nice car, but the Forester XT fits my needs better. (Having a second, nicer car obviates the desire to get a status brand, but i'd have still selected the Forester XT anyway)
    I drive on business a lot, and we'll take the bigger and higher ground clearance Subaru on vacation to northern Minnesota (in winter) with the whole family. I trust Subaru with my family's safety and my meeting my clients deadlines. I can't give any better recommendation than that. The Subaru meshes with the college prof as well.
    Subaru are consistently, conscientiously committed to refining the Forester, and the sales numbers reflect this. They know their clients very well, something i strive to emulate. This is the best of the Japanese business ethos actualized.
    My only regret with regards to Subaru, is that I wish the would get into the small aircraft business, making them with the qualities they put in their cars. They would be awesome to fly!
  • I really like the comments on the acceleration and braking- there are more dimensions than a single number to these actions, and this really tells the story. Very very nice reporting. True professionalism.
    The 2010XT is great. A 5 speed auto would be a welcome addition, and a little more lateral grip too, but given the off-road capabilities, it's an excellent synergy. Schaumburg Subaru cut me a good deal despite the craziness of the clunker program going on. Really a class act from manufacturer to Sales, to final product.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Kurt & Juice:

    I did not know Subaru has a "FWD option"! :surprise: Is that true of all Subies - sticks & automatics?

    Lets say I am driving on I 94 through Eastern Montana, S Dakota & Minnesota in the summer -- basically 1000 miles of relatively flat, dry straight concrete ribbon. If I install a fuse to defeat the AWD & am in FWD only, will that reduce the mechanical load / friction / drag resulting in a signifcant (may 10% increase in mpg as wild guess)? So could I have FWD much of the time & simply pull the fuse when AWD traction is desired?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not all - you only have the "insert FWD Fuse" option on the base AWD models with automatic. So not on models with VTD AWD and also not with the viscous coupling manual trans models.

    It's really meant for part-time use when you get a flat tire.

    It would be hard to know the long-term effects of disengaging the rear axle from the front because it is meant to have torque transmitted there full-time. Who knows if all those parts will be properly lubricated under loads.

    Also, you won't get 10%. Yes there is more drag, but you carry the extra weight regardless of whether it's on or off. I bet you'll see more like 3-5%, if that.
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