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Subaru Forester vs Mitsubishi Outlander

silver909silver909 Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Subaru
Hi I've been looking into a lot of SUV type cars lately.. and have narrowed it down to two: the forester and outlander. Does anyone have advice for me, on which one is the better deal? Could I go wrong with either of them? I like that the forester comes with more features, but the outlander's exterior appeals to me more being more sporty and all. Can anyone help me out??


  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    You may want to look at the availability of dealers in your area that can service these. In my town, we have an ample number of Mitsubishi and Subaru dealers around. I have heard that in other towns (smaller), it can be difficult to find a Mitsu or a Subaru dealer within several miles.
    The Forester is a better performer than the Outlander, and also holds its value better. Personally, I own an Outlander. We needed an inexpensive AWD vehicle for my wife to drive to work in bad weather (she is in the medical field and has to go to work regardless of weather), and for us to haul the canoe and dogs to the lake in. I bought it as a 1 year old vehicle with 10K miles on it, and paid right around $13,000 for it. I plan on keeping it until the wheels fall off of it, so in my opinion, it was the better deal for me.
    My Outlander now has 30K miles on it, and has been trouble free. We also get 24-25mpg around town, and have gotten close to 30mpg on the highway - not bad for a full time AWD vehicle. I have also established a pretty good relationship with the service advisor at one of our local Mitsu dealers, so I am also pleased in that regard.
    My advice to you would be to shop both. See which one you fit most comfortably in, and see which one fits your budget the best. If you plan on trading the car in a couple of years, I would definitely reccomend the Subaru as it will hold its value better. As I said before, the Subaru is also the better performer, so if that is your main priority, the Subaru would again be the way to go. You said you prefer the exterior of the Outlander. Remember, you have to live on the inside of the vehicle, so make sure which ever one you get you will be happy with the feel of the seats, ergonomics, etc...
  • deskdesk Posts: 20
    I've been driving my '98 Forester for years with no complaints, only compliments. I love the size of it. I can fit tons into it. It is easy to drive. Gas mileage is good. It's reliable and I've had no problems with maintenance. I drive it long distances and find it very very comfortable. I have 127,000 miles on it now and am trading it for a new Forester because I'm lazy and I want a new car, even though I am sure this one will last another 100-200,000 miles with no trouble. But when I started looking it became clear to me that I wanted a car the size of the Forester, one that handled like a Forester, one with good mileage, good reputation, comfort, one that inspired confidence in bad weather and one that I enjoyed driving and felt that it was built just for me - in other words, I just wanted another Forester.

    At my place of work there are about 70 cars, and 11 of them are Subarus, 6 of those are Foresters. All the Forester owners I know just love their cars.

    Good luck in your search and have fun.
  • I have never driven a Forester though I am sure they are good vehicles. My wife and I do have an 04 Mitsubishi Outlander, it is mostly driven by my wife, and we like it very much. Fuel mileage is quite good for an AWD plus I like the sportronic automatic transmission feature. My wife doesn't use it but I like it in town to downshift and save wear and tear on the brakes. A 5 speed stick is also available. Our vehicle has just under 20k and absolutely trouble free.

    I would disagree about the Mitsu having a lower residual value as they have significantly reduced fleet sales in the last 2 years and thier worth is increasing. Also, they have a tremendous warranty. 10/100,000 engine-drivetrain, 5yr/60,000 bmpr-bmpr. They also have a 45,000 mile free maintainance program. All of that is transferable also.

    If you like the looks of the Outlander better (ours is electric blue) and the driving experience is about the same I'd say, based on the warranty, the Outlander is the better value.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Be sure and look at Edmunds long term road tests. They have a long term test file on the Outlander and Forester with lots of good info on both:

    I think either one could serve you well.

    I owned the predecesor to the Outlander, a Mitsu Expo with the 2.4 L engine. It was a comfortable, economical little hauler that we drove for 80,000 miles. The only problem I had was the auto tranny died at about 72K. I did a fair amount of towing with a 2,000 lb boat which I strongly believe resulted in premature transmission death. I also owned to Mitsu Mirages. I believe that Mistu makes great cars, but they have not done very well against their competition in the the U.S. as they are not quite up the the standard (at least historically) of other Japanese cars

    I recently bought a used 03 Forester. I looked at but did not drive the Outlander. I got the Forester because of superior performance and the fact that there are many more Subie dealers & cars on the road. Mitsu has been struggling for many years & I was concerned about the long term availablity of dealers & parts & the fact that that the Forester has a much stronger following.
  • Hey Silver.

    My husband told me about your question & it was like deja-vu because the Mitsubishi Outlander was my first car less then a year ago. I was pretty settled on a Mitsu because my dad had a Galant, about a 92 I think, & he said it was the best car he ever had. I did some checking myself & found out that the first Outlanders from 03 were a little underpowered for the USA & they put a more powerful 4 cylinder in them. My 05 cranks out about 160 hp which is good because I have a custom interior painting business & carry about 300 lbs of equipment with me most of the time. As you can guess, the back seats are down flat most of the time. Fuel mileage is great, I average about 26/28 with an auto & AWD plus the extra weight. I got it in November & have almost 35,000 on it. I know that's a lot but it is my only vehicle for business & pleasure. It has run great in fair weather or foul, plows right through the snow & muck. The only problem I had about 2 months ago was the plastic container that holds the windshield wiper fluid had a crack in it. I thought it had a radiator leak but that was all it was. The dealer put a new one right in. This car has a great warranty but I think I'll hit the 100,000 before the 10 years is up.

    The best thing I like about it, not related to driving, is the looks. I got an all white Outlander & a friend who worked at an autobody shop put some cranberry colored stripes on it. It looks fantastic & every customer I had I think has asked me about it. A real eye catcher.

    I don't know about any problems with Mitsubishi here in the U.S. My dealer is adding on to his shop area next month & has been doing pretty good I guess. I am real interested in the new Mitsubishi Spyder convertible & he says he will be getting them in early spring. If my business stays good I am going to be taking a good look at one of those, hopefully.

    The only other advice I can give you is to save the copy of every bill when you have it serviced & staple them together so you can show it to the service manager whenever you take it in. I keep mine in the glove compartment.

    Well, hope this helped you out. I don't know about Subaru but I don't think you can go wrong with a Mitsubishi. Just follow the service manual & this SUV will do the rest.

    See ya on the road.
  • Briefly-- I test drove both, extensively.

    The 2005 Outlander is what I just bought, so I guess that tells the tale from my viewpoint. It is far better than I imagined it would be.
  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    One thing to consider is that the Outlander is scheduled to be redesigned for the 2007 model year. You can read about it on the "future vehicles" section of this site. The redesign will mean that a 2006 Outlander will look sort of outdated after a year and may depreciate more quickly than would otherwise be the case. The Forester got a moderate redesign a year or two ago, and therefore should remain much the same for the next few years.
  • As well as a few more horses under the hood for both the turbo and N/A motor, better fuel economy, updated interior and revised trim levels. Someone could post a link to some edmunds info in it to see full details or go to Subaru's website.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just got a face-lift for '06, so a new one won't arrive until '08. They're up to 173hp now, 230hp for the turbo.

    Compared to the Outlander, Forester has less rear seat room but more cargo room. The Mitsu has bigger rear doors for good ingress/egress.

    I drove the old 2.0l Outlander, and found that engine noisy and a bit underpowered, but the 2.4l should be better.

    The warranty is great but I worry about Mitsu's financial condition, if they'll even be around to honor that warranty given the red ink they're bleeding right now. Just take that into consideration.

  • Where did you drive a 2.0l Outlander? In the US, they have had 2.4l since their inception. 2003 was the "non MIVEC" 2.4l with 140some hp. In 2004, the 2.4l incorportated the MIVEC technology and went to 163 (I believe it is 163).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For some reason I thought the displacement got bigger, I guess not. My bad.

    I drove an LS back in summer '03, pre-MIVEC updates I guess.

    Consumer Guide says it's 160hp for the '05 model, might be more or less under the new SAE guidelines.

    Mitsu should put the EVO powertrain in this thing for some real fun, but I doubt they will given Japan now has an EVO wagon.

  • was the Outlander vs the Suaru and what Subaru trim level was it comparable to. We are also considering a Forester. Everytime I see it though it just looks so small. Maybe because it sits 4" lower than all other mini-SUvs. I am driving one this week but alsolike the looks of the outlander. In fact we looked at an 05 Outlander early this summer but it did not have mist of the safety feature of the Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think they are sized similarly.

    Basicallly the Mitsu has a longer wheelbase so that creates a bigger back seat, but slightly smaller cargo space.

    Forester is the opposite - more cargo space.

  • Mistu has a lot of hidden fees. Some refere to them as Mistufeeme. I own a Forester X-Premium, and for the money, it is the best vehicle on the market.
    This is from carbuying
    "Mitsubishi Dealers
    Mitsubishi has insanely high fees. Their dealers charge you for holdback and floor plan assistance, double collecting. It's even itemized on their invoices. This is unfair, and unacceptable. Any dealer who pulls this on you does not get your money. Here's what you might see on a typical Mitsubishi invoice such as one I have for a 1998 Eclipse GS, with a base invoice of $16158, and base MSRP of $18580:

    Sales Promotion Fund $100 per vehicle $100
    Dealer Advertising 3% of base invoice price $484
    Dealer Holdback 2% of base MSRP $371
    Floorplan Assistance 1% of base MSRP $185
    Grand Total (Usually at least a grand, anyway) $1140!

    You buy an $18580 Eclipse, they want you to pay 6.13% more in fees? This is why I call them Mitsufeeme. Their ad fee is about $600. Many Toyota dealers only charge a $250 ad fee. So why is Mitsubishi's ad fee double? Do they spend more on ads than Toyota? I doubt it, I can't even remember any Mitsubishi commercials."

    Good Luck!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not all dealers are the same. I'd say just shop around. Fees like that are ridiculous, and in this buyer's market noone should accept them from any dealer, for any brand.

  • Another source to consider is Consumer reports. They recommend the Forester as a "good bet" based on overall reliability.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Detroit Free Press just had an article about CR and I believe both these models were listed among the most reliable small SUVs. Good news for all.

    What do the Outlander owners think of the new model just unveiled in Tokyo? It has that swept D pillar like the Murano now.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    And from that:

    Small SUVs
    Toyota RAV4
    Honda CR-V
    Honda Element
    Subaru Forester
    Mercury Mariner
    Mitsubishi Outlander

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    The new Outlander will be a good vehicle if done correctly when it comes to production. What I mean is - the Eclipse for example was an awesome looking concept, but then it comes out with either the 2.4L normally aspirated engine (too weak for this car's image), or the 3.8L (too heavy for this car IMO).
  • Dear silver909,

    I have no idea if you've made a decision yet, but I'd like to talk from personal experience . . .

    I live in New England, an area where Subaru's adaptability is beyond measure. I own a 2002 Forester, which I have put on 96,000 miles since August of 2001, and I have not had a single major mechanical problem. I drive a lot of miles every day, 70 miles round trip to be exact, and I never have a problem during commute.

    I know that Mitsubishi has had quality issues in the past; Subaru has always stood by their quality as #1 priority.

    Just my two cents . . . xnewman1 :)
  • Hi Silver,

    I own a 2002 Subaru Forester, I love the AWD system, and the car was flawless for the first 78,000 then it aquired a head gasket leak, known problem. May you have a same situation in yours? maybe.. service guy says its common the way the engine is designed for this to happen... but there are people that go 150K to 200K and I don't think have the issue, its hit or miss, but the car has been wonderful, fun to drive! I dont know if a Mitsubishi will be as good, subaru has proven there AWD system to be ultra reliable. would I buy a forester again? probably cause its great in the winter, or on even any condition. I like the outlander exterior, but I dont know if other companies can make a AWD that will not have problems, I think AWD is something new to Mitsubishi, Subaru has been doing it for many many years.. just my input. Ron
  • First of all AWD is defiantly not something new to Mitsubishi since they have been building them since 1934 compared to 1972 when the first AWD subaru was built. Mitsubishi has had AWD in many vehicles including the most obvious the EVO which being based on the Lancer platform shares a similar (if not the same) AWD system as the outlander (also based on the lancer platform)

    I would go as far to say that Mitsubishi probably has the most reliable and technically advanced AWD system for passenger vehicles. Towards Mitsubishi's reliability is the fact that they have just won for the 11th time the Paris-Dakar rally which is recognized to be one of the toughest if not the toughest tests on the competing vehicles. Mitsubishi have also won the Safari Rally (known as the car breaker) at least 5 times. My Dad also owned an RVR Turbo (previous generation Airtrek which is what the outlander is called where i'm from)which he had no problems with reliability wise (as petrol increased though he had to get rid of it as it cost too much to run) and dealt with our icy conditions with ease.

    The Subaru AWD system I have much less faith in as I have heard from some friends in Australia that they seem to go through clutches pretty quickly and the gearbox isn't the strongest. The AWD system isn't the problem if you were to go for a subaru though (not just the forester but any with the EJ- series engine)it is the engine which is very complex (quad cam and it needs two heads) meaning maintenance and repairs can be costly as it can easily take over an hour to do something as simple as replacing the spark plugs (my friend who was having trouble with his legacy wagon where he had to do this often got it down to 40mins).

    The reliability of the engine I don't have much faith in either because when my friend who was working as a mechanic at the subaru dealership got told by his boss that if he was to buy a subaru that he can pretty much chuck it out as it gets to 100,000km (60,000 miles) because at that stage they will most likely need a rebuild. Also from some people I know that had Subarus they didn't last very long including my Mothers boss who had an almost new Legacy RSK B4 which in the space of a year had the gearbox break, then the turbos broke and after that it blew a head gasket, over heated and did internal damage to his engine.

    Personally I would go for an outlander but wait for the 2007 version, 2.4l 4 cylinder or 3.0L V6 depending on your needs but even though what I've heard of the V6 is tempting for a first car I could only recommend the 2.4 as it still has plenty of power (multiple times more than my 1st car)

    I have to say though that I have limited 1st hand knowledge of subarus (driven a WRX, Justy and a Legacy) and maybe they have sorted their reliability (which may be environment related as I live in a reasonably cold part of NZ and our roads aren't the greatest) and the subaru may be what you want which is what it all comes down to. You should test drive both and see which you prefer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're talking about 4WD, not AWD, both in terms of heritage and the Dakar Rally. They have little in common with the AWD system in the Outlander. Nothing, actually.

    AWD didn't appear until Audi pioneered it in the early 80s.

    Plugs on a Legacy are very easy, I can do them in less than half that time. Your friend has it completely backwards, the plugs are harder on the Forester, since the engine bay is more narrow. It still doesn't take nearly 40 minutes, though.

    Your post contains a lot of other mistakes so I don't even know where to start (DOHC was only up to '98, Forester has been SOHC since then).

    Pick up a copy of CR and you'll see that the Forester is well ahead of the Outlander in reliability. In fact, Forester is one of their Good Bets among used cars for consistently being among the most reliable vehicles on the road. Outlander has never made that list.

    That data is a lot more significant than the empirical data you present.

  • That really Depends on your definition of AWD then doesn't it? as AWD describes A whole bunch of Different drivetrains and many people give you different definitions and is really these days a marketing tool.

    but.. if you mean AWD being a full time system then your post would contain as many mistakes as mine as Audi wasn't the first to use AWD as you suggest. Audi pioneered AWD in rally cars yes (notice that some people call the first group B Quattro 4wd) but AWD vehicles had been on the road before then (in 1966 the Jensen FF is known as the worlds first AWD production vehicle). Then in 1983 mitsubishi would have built an AWD vehicle in the Group B starion (could have made some before that but I don't know) and still are known to have considerable experience in AWD through WRC.

    When I mentioned Paris-Dakar in my post It was talking about Mitsubishi's reliability in general in which the outlander does benefit from the competition. Below is a quote from an article which shows how it benefits from Mitsubishi's Rally/Raid experience.

    "It speaks well for the Outlander that its chassis is stout enough to handle a 240-hp turbocharged engine in a version of the Outlander in Japan called the Airtrek. Mitsubishi has done exceptionally well in international rally and endurance racing, with the Lancer Evo and with the Pajero (sold in North America as the Montero) sport utility vehicle that has dominated the Paris-Dakar marathon race for so many years. The Outlander benefits from such body-strengthening techniques as MASH seam welding and what Mitsubishi calls its RISE design (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution). The 2002 Lancer sedan on which the Outlander is based earned a Good rating, the highest possible, in the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety crash-testing program and was listed as the best pick in the small car class."

    Plugs on a Legacy are Very Easy?? I don't think so even if you can do them in around 20mins I would hardly call that Very Easy as it only takes me 5-10 minutes, now I would call that easy.

    I did not know that the forester was SOHC but the engine is still complex for a 4 cylinder and towards the end of my post I said that the reliability of the forester may be good and subaru may build reliable vehicles I was just commenting on my experience and my friends experience with their Subarus (mostly legacys).

    I'm sorry but I have no Idea what a CR is so I can't really comment on the results but I can on the last line of your post. Whether that data is more significant is subjective as that data (i'm assuming some motoring magazine or survey) is also empirical (as pretty much any data you could get from a vehicle is :D )
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    CR = Consumer Reports

    tidester, host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I guess what I look for, when you reference racing, is some sort of commonality with the street cars. So the Impreza WRC car may have little to do with the WRX, but the Group N rally car is actually very similar, basically an STI with a roll cage.

    Subaru used the Forester in Reconnaisance runs for their toughest rallies, specifically Kenya. Just this year they moved to Tribecas. So at least there is some history there. Foresters also run in SCCA Rally Cross all the time.

    Audi was a pioneer whether they were first or not, because they pushed the envelope and popularized AWD cars.

    Outlander gets 17/20 total stars in NHTSA tests, while Forester gets a perfect 20/20. Forester also does better in IIHS frontal and offset tests (Good and Best Pick, respectively). So the MASH and RISE acronyms really aren't that significant.

    Plugs take 20 minutes if you use anti-sieze and a torque wrench to do it to exact specifications. That's not something I rush. Besides, I don't use a stop watch, since I'm doing a lot of other things at the same time (air filter, fuel filter, oil change, etc).

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I looked at both of these when I purchased my Outlander and I really liked both. I am a huge fan of Subaru, but didn't purchase one mainly because the Subaru dealer in my city is about 20 miles from my house, on the busiest road, and not in the best part of town.

    We actually have 3 Mitsubishi dealers in my area (at least for now), and one happens to be right down the road from my workplace. The one down the street from my workplace has been around for many years, and is known in the community for having an excellent service department. The other thing I like about the Outlander is the 2.4L engine. It isn't the strongest engine in the world by any means, but it does well. I know 2 other people that have owned Mitsubishi products in the past with this same engine, and both people kept them for over 125,000 miles with no problems (and these individuals are pretty slack when it comes to maintenance).

    Regarding the AWD, most of my driving has been on normal roads, but I have had it on mountain trails before and had no problems. Not once have I felt the car lose traction on any surface, nor has the rear gotten squirrelly.

    If the Subaru dealer network in my local area was better, I may very well have purchased the Subaru. However, I believe no matter what brand the car is (even Honda), warranty issues will probably come up, and I don't want the added inconvenience of having to drive a long ways to get it to a dealer.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    If the Subaru dealer network in my local area was better, I may very well have purchased the Subaru. However, I believe no matter what brand the car is (even Honda), warranty issues will probably come up, and I don't want the added inconvenience of having to drive a long ways to get it to a dealer.

    Well I hope for your sake that Misubishi works thru its financial issues and stays in business for a while longer :D

    FYI, I've been a Subaru owner for 6 years now and during that time, I've only had to make 2 trips to the dealer for warranty work.

  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    "Well I hope for your sake that Misubishi works thru its financial issues and stays in business for a while longer "

    My Outlander is out of warranty now, so I really don't care what happens to them. I plan to keep the car until it dies (will be used as a 3rd car for lake trips and bad weather driving), so resale doesn't concern me. Thanks to the internet, I should always be able to find any parts and instructions needed for repairs (and I am lucky to have been born with at least a little mechanical ability).

    I just find it pretty sad that in my area, I can find 3 Mitsubishi (poor old struggling Mitsubishi) dealers within 15 miles of my house (in 3 different directions), but yet there is only 1 Subaru dealer, and it is 20 miles away in a crappy location.

    I am glad that you have only had 2 warranty issues in 6 years (I really am happy for you, and not trying to be sarcastic). However, I have a relative that has had multiple issues in 3 years with his WRX. That isn't to say that I believe all Subarus are that way (again, I like Subaru), I just believe that with ANY make, it is a crap shoot with what you are going to get. I guess I am just a "glass half empty" kind of guy, so I try to buy my vehicles from dealers that are convenient to get to for any warranty work that may arise.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I agree that regardless of manufacturer, there's always a chance you'll end up with a :lemon: However, I think you can minimize the odds of that happening by choosing brands with proven reliablity track records.

    As to why there are 3 Mitsu dealers near your house but only one Sube, I can only hazard to guess that you live in an area that doesn't fit the Subaru demographic (either the snowbelt or mountains).

This discussion has been closed.