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Subaru XT Turbo Forester



  • Now that you guys have driven them, and Jack has owned one for a while; I'd be curious to know how you think an XT auto, would be on a cross country trip? Mostly I'm concerned about comfort, and road noise. The OB's I've driven, were torture chambers for a big person, on a long trip.

    Cheers and Seasons Greetings
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 500
    Ok - In an effort to be more balanced. I've already fully expressed what I love about the XT. Here are some problem areas as I see them:

    1. Minor rattles when going over bumps.

    2. Climate control system with a mind of its own. I think I am getting closer to getting used to it or mastering it though.

    3. Weak key fob.

    4. Headlights. This is one I have not seen being talked about, as most seem to like them. The XT seems to have a more dramatic separation between high beam and low beam then I have experienced before. When driving in hilly areas in the country, the low is too low and the high is too high. Neither work well for me. Can that be adjusted somehow?

    5. Ummm - I guess that is it.

    Beyond the car itself, I would like to see better marketing and more equipment and color choices. Having said all that, the negatives are minuscule in comparison to the positives, and I give the XT a class leading 9.4 out of 10.

    Pat - I am a pretty big guy and the XT is comfortable for me on the highway.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Your comments make a lot of sense and I guess there's no question that the Vue Redline is probably a VG comparison for the XT at the particular price point....Now here comes the big "but."

    There are some deluded folks (:)), myself included, who shop for a car based on *some* basic requirements, but, in general, are looking for the best value in a particular price range when taking into account pretty much the whole universe of vehicles.

    I don't know if this is a significant part of the car buying public, but it leads us to compare, for example, the XT Premium with the new Solara 6 cyl. Crazy? Perhaps. It can lead to some bizarre cross-shopping (e,g., a Quest). But my goal is to find the best meld of performance, reliability, and refinement in a vehicle in the 24-27K range, not necessarily to find the best mid-SUV in that range. For someone like me, AWD is not mandatory, but a part of the overall equation, as is cargo space. We own an OBS because it was the best combination of features at its price point in the universe of smaller vehicles, not necessarily because of any particular feature. For that reason, I'm always mindful of the fact that an XT (and a Forester in general), shares in at least some respects (noise, fit & finish)
    a common heritage with an even less expensive car, the Imprezza).

    I'm aware that this may be an atypical approach, but we are out there.
  • I have to agree with Daniell (#2391) regarding the negatives of a vehicle being important to the prospective buyer. The good attributes of a new car will be pleasant surprises as they are revealed through daily driving, in the XT's case, the great performance and functionality. However, the negatives that reveal themselves over time will be disappointments and frustrations, and can cause one to doubt what amounts to a major purchase and longterm commitment.

    It's a heckuva lot like deciding whether or not to spend your whole life with ONE woman. She'd better be the right one!

    That's why I specifically queried Ballistic about the issues I know he has with his car.
    The fact that he can still recommend the XT only speaks to its overall appeal. This is my first new car purchase, and I tend to be a cautious shopper, especially when it comes to large expenditures. Once you drive it off the lot, it's yours for good. Can't return it like you would a pair of drawers.

    I WANT to know about things like the climate control not working well, and potential buzzes and rattles. Prospective buyers never used to have this info at their fingertips, but now they do, and I think it's great. Maddening, given the plethora of vehicle choices, but great nonetheless. Sometimes, too much info is a bad thing.

    Ballistic, thanks for your input; sorry it caused you to get run through the wringer. And everyone else, thanks also. This is a terrifically informative forum.

    The rest is up to me.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    At risk of bringing forth still more harrangues about repeating what I've said before: Pat asks a question and directs it at me, so I'll answer. If the hosts object to the repetition, they'll say so. Diatribes from from Frank and John, in particular, will be disregarded.

    I think the XT 5-speed is an good car for a cross-country trip (and I've taken several) - but I think the XT automatic is even better. Highway interior noise levels might impair your enjoyment of the stereo, among other things. The automatic XT I drove was very perceptibly quieter inside, and the difference can't all be attributed solely to the automatic's slightly taller overall top-gear ratio and correspondingly lower RPM. Perhaps the automatic transmission itself is quieter in operation than the MT.

    In either version, mountains cease to exist. Nothing else I've ever driven flattens long, steep climbs the way these do. It is truly astonishing, and the higher you go, of course, the greater the difference between either XT and mere mortal (naturally-aspirated) cars. Kinda makes you feel like Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

    On the other hand, the smallish gas tank combined with mediocre MPG means your range between fillups is anything but long. Not a problem if you travel with small kids who need to stop frequently anyhow, but otherwise that's a nuisance.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    JB: you often mention road/tire noise, but I think the Forester is among the better models in its class.

    Small SUVs are just loud as a group, I don't think it's fair to single out the Forester. In the last two C&D comparos it was the quietest both times!

    So what you call a negative is actually an advantage when compared to its peers. That's the type of thing I'm referring to. Of course a Solara is more quiet (see below).

    I think all Vue V6s use the Honda engine, but the Redline is of interest because they're supposed to tune out the slop from that suspension, maybe even improve the lousy seats, for the Redline package.

    If not I'm not even interested in the model. A nice V6 bolted to a mediocre vehicle still makes for a mediocre vehicle. Witness the Sterling (Acura engine).

    lumbar: Solara V6? Huh? Highlander maybe...


  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Some of my earliest comments, 'way back in June, were about the Forester driver's seat. The 2nd-gen Forester has a single vertical adjustment. As you raise the seat, it maddeningly also tilts forward. The seat (base) cushion is already none too long (front-to-back), and support under your knees and thighs is barely adequate. Then, if you raise the seat, the increased forward tilt just makes the seat base go even closer to flat, worsening the under-thigh support issue.

    Notwithstanding, I've found that the higher I move the seat, the better - because for any given requirement for driver legroom, a higher seat meets it while preserving a modicum of kneeroom for whomever sits behind you. The Forester's raised roof means that even quite tall drivers can raise the seat at least partway without running out of headroom. This (IMO) is the secret to maximizing what space there is in the back seat.

    The downside, though, is being left with not enough under-thigh support at the front of the driver's seat. I suggest you spend as much time as you can in an XT (or any 2nd-gen Forester) to see whether this will be a problem for you on long trips. The throttle on mine is too close when everything else is at the "right" distance, so the cruise control becomes mandatory for right-leg comfort.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Tis the season!

    It seems Frank and JB have been dipping into that fossilized holiday fruitcake, followed by eggnog chasers. Happy holidays guys. :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I found the new seats very comfortable and supportive. I have two small kids so rear legroom doesn't become a problem until the mother-in-law has to sit between the two kids, then it's a squeeze.

    I do know what you mean about the angle. I'd probably raise the front seat track, like I did with my Miata.

    The seats themselves are great.

    Go sit in a Vue, seriously, you'll almost fall out in comparison. Spongy, too soft, no support at all.

  • bluesubiebluesubie Posts: 3,497
    Don't forget that the Forester is based on the Impreza. Those looking for more room might be happier in a Legacy (slightly bigger next spring) or maybe the upcoming 7 passenger Subaru.

  • Jack and Juice: Thanks for your comments. I haven't been following this forum too closely, lately, so I'm not aware of whatever flame wars have been going on. Jack, your comments and answers have always been succinct and to the point, and for that I thank you. I'm fortunate, in that I have a very good relationship with the sales mgr. at my local dealer ( he says I've raped him twice already, so the 3rd time won't be so painful). He says I can take an XT on an overnite test drive, to include our mtn. My memory of the brief sit I had in a Forester, was that it was reasonably comfortable; plenty of leg room and head room, and not too difficult to get into and out of. I think I will take him up on his offer after the first of the year. I drove a Jeep GC Overland today, and was under whelmed. Steering was vague, requiring constant correction. The seats were too soft, and lacked back support. Overall, not a solution.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    JB: you often mention road/tire noise,

    To be fair, this is one of the more widely-echoed XT criticisms. In other words, on this count (even if on no others), it's not only JB.

    I don't tend to group the Forester with SUVs. While it shares some of their characteristics, I think of it as a car with a tallish body.

    In any event, I balance the noise levels (to some extent) against other qualities that I value, one of which is light weight. Other things being equal, it is more difficult to provide a quiet interior in a lightweight vehicle than in a heavy one. However, as others have said before, if Subaru is as serious about moving up-market as they say, interior noise levels must come down.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I do know what you mean about the angle. I'd probably raise the front seat track...the seats themselves are great.

    I'll eventually get around to shimming the front of the seat. I'm coming around to agreeing that the seat itself, in all other respects, is quite good. If only the $*&@! seatbelt would hold the hips snugly in place - but that's a complaint that applies to every contemporary car. I do not want the lap portion to decide how tight (or loose) it should be. Leave that to me.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    - needs longer wheelbase. Keep the same size, but increase wheelbase.
    - suspension - i personally think it does not take bumps well (think highway expansion joints), and at the same time feels too soft in handling. Check a Lexus IS300, or even a Honda, to see how it should be done.
    - too small for the price, at least here in the US...

    This is a prime example of how one person's steak is another's gristle. I have repeatedly complimented the Forester's ride, and one of the things I like best is how well they were able to accomplish that with the short (or, put another way, just-barely-long-enough) wheelbase. If you lengthen the wheelbase, then (for any given maximum steering angle) the turning circle gets larger, and the Forester becomes slightly less maneuverable in tight quarters. Would backseat space and ride quality improve with a lengthened wheelbase? Very likely. Would another attribute (one that I value) be diminished? Also likely.

    As with many other characteristics, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's not a question of right or wrong, it's a question of differing priorities.

    I don't correlate size with price at all. An excellent small car is worth far more to me than a merely average large one.
  • Yokohama Geolander get dissed as above. While there are better tires in specific traits (handling, snow traction, etc.) I am quite please at the all around performance.

    It is kind of like a Forester discussion--- all around a fantastic vehicle, but some of the specifics maybe not as good as another car. Pick what you like the most and go for it. But don't tear down a nice package because it isn't the ulitimate in all categories.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    For a few minutes there I thought I was reading I Don't Like SUVs. There seems to be some holiday stress in the air.

    If you're going to post or lurk in here, you are welcome to scroll past any messages you don't wish to read. Anyone is welcome to respond to anything posted here however.

    More eggnog anyone?

    Steve, Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think of it as a car with a tallish body

    OK, then let's just let people know you're holding it to a higher standard than the louder CR-V, RAV4, Escape, etc.

    I don't think the Forester moved upmarket ... yet. Street prices are actually lower than they were for my 1998! Now that is amazing, and part of my value equation.

    get around to shimming the front

    Get to it! ;-)

    It was easy in the Miata because the seat track is straight and level. The Forester's seat track tilts down at the front. Check it out, though.

    I think the Geolanders are a good All Terrain tire, let's just recognize what they are meant for - slightly tougher duties than a road tire. Gravel trails, stuff like that.

    If you want quiet, a good touring tire would be better.

  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    reasonably comfortable; plenty of leg room and head room, and not too difficult to get into and out of.

    Longer exposure will reinforce those impressions.

    I drove a Jeep GC Overland today, and was under whelmed. Steering was vague, requiring constant correction.

    I'm a fanatic about steering and road feel through the wheel, which is why I think the Forester's is boosted quite a bit more than even little old ladies would require. Not a lot of feel makes it through the assist. That leads me to wonder how a Forester driver can know what the front wheels are doing on snow or ice - the very conditions that otherwise best suit the car.

    Notwithstanding that, the steering is very precise and delightfully responsive. On balance, steering goes into the plus column.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I am quite please at the all around performance.

    Other than noise transmission, which is my sole nit, I agree.

    I've heard of some folk getting 50,000 miles out of them. The way I drive, they'll probably last forever.
  • corkfishcorkfish Posts: 537
    I'm not crazy about 1st gear, but the 444 axle ratio doesn't bother me at all. I know mileage is a sacrifice, but I saw the MPG sticker on the window when I bought it. The axle is fine, the transmission gearing could be improved. My Sentra revs at 3500 RPMs at 70 mph so this seems much less buzzy to me. The handling is not great and can feel a little tippy if you go around corners to fast, but I bought it for straight line performance ( after all, how many people push a car to its handling limits?). Interior is ok, but keep in mind, this is a $24,000 car ( which won't buy much these days). Yeah, the climate control is odd and oil seems to give a different reading every time I look, but I don't regret buying it. It won't handle like the WRX, but the lag in the WRX was so awful I got out of it and said "this car does 0 to 60 in less than 6 seconds?" It sure didn't feel like it. The XT does though. Perhaps it's a bad comparison, but it reminds me a lot of the Buick Gran National.
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 500
    This is off topic, but I had the same experience driving my friend's Jeep GC. Sucker was wandering all over the road needing constant correction, especially because of a strong head wind. I saw a discussion of this once in a magazine. Jeep says they do this on purpose so the wheel won't jerk out of your hand if you hit an obstacle off roading. So the vehicle drives like doo doo 99% of the time for the sake of the 1% of people who actually take it rock climbing.

    We are much better driving Subaru "soft roaders" that can handle as much off roading (forest service trails, etc.) as most people need without compromising the vehicle in daily driving. Did I sufficiently get back on topic?
  • darbowdarbow Posts: 30
    Just wanted to add my 3 cents after i have test driven the XT 5sp 3 times and only test drove the VUE v6 Auto just once, i like the payment of the VUE better ($50 less a month) and the SUNROOF (Subaru are you reading this) and the 17 inch wheels. I just dont like the floaty feel of the suspension (feels like a Buick) and vague steering feel. But the power of the V6 up around highway speeds was quick (downshifting at 75 shot up to 95 in heartbeat). Anyone else check out the new Hondaurn Vue??? watta think?
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    ...been reading the last couple of dozen posts, and thought I'd jump in with my .02.

    The way I see it is that the Forester is a "car-on-stilts". Other vehicles that I would categorize in the same way:

    --> Mitsubishi Outlander
    --> Subaru Outback
    --> Audi allroad

    Te wife and I will cross-shop it against the small "cute-utes" that are available (CRV, VUE, Escape/Tribute, RAV4). Each person has their own list of what's important and what's irrelevant about the vehicle they are looking for. No sense arguing about them here -- we'll never convince someone else that our list of pros and cons are the only ones that matter.

    These are forums that promote the exchange of ideas using a friendly, non-threatening medium. Disagreements are part and parcel of this kind of discussion -- without them, all we would hear is the sound of us patting each other on the back regarding the wonderful choice in vehicle we made!

    The comments (both pro and con) are very helpful to someone like me. When the time comes for the test drive, I'll keep in mind the things that I've read on this board, and mention them to the wife as well. Each car we buy is a study in compromise -- we can't get (read: afford) everything we want in a car, so we have to make decisions and settle in certain areas. For example:

    low ground clearance - tough to get through big snow drifts, poorer visibility (seeing over traffic)
    high ground clearance - probably more weight, less mpg, less maneuverable

    Each buyer will have to evaluate what is important to them (and spouse, and family) and decide accordingly.

    Happy Holidays to all!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    These are forums that promote the exchange of ideas using a friendly, non-threatening medium.
    Or should be.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Or should be.

    It will be! :-)

    tidester, host
  • ugly1ugly1 Posts: 52
    I check this forum on almost a daily basis but did a month just go by? Most of you must have the whole week off. Have a good one.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I think "greatness" is a pretty high standard at this price point.

    A car's price point (or value equation) plays prominently in my definition of 'greatness'. A Rolls is undoubtedly a very satisfying car for some people, but grotesquely overpriced IMO. Considering the value equation as I apply it, a Rolls is nowhere near true greatness, because I don't think there's much of a trick to building a superb vehicle when cost is no object. The challenge is to build a great car on a budget. Ergo, an XT is closer than a Rolls to greatness on my scale.

    However, the XT's price point has almost nothing to do with several of what I regard to be its most pronounced shortcomings. For example, it would have cost Subaru literally nothing, in terms of dollars, to specify 3.9 final drives instead of 4.44. By choosing the latter, they emphasized (I would say over-emphasized) one set of attributes to the detriment of others. Some buyers are thrilled with the result; I'm less so. Another example: They're already shipping XTs with 5MT/sunroof/leather to Canada. It would have cost essentially nothing to simply make the exact same combinations available here, just as there. The bi-level heat-low,cool-high heater mode I need is not at all uncommon on cars much lower priced than the XT. White-on-black instruments that quite a few people have said are difficult to read on sunny days don't cost an iota less than black-on-white dials.

    It is these kinds of omissions and design decisions that neither added nor subtracted from the cost to build the cars that cause the XT to miss my standard of true greatness. Correcting them would have had zero effect on the price point at which the car sells.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Whiteface guages are bling.

    Gear ratio? I think it's great cause you shouldn't be doing like 150mph in a Forester on the public roads, and everyone reads the stupid magazines that say "0-60 times are XYZ" so Subaru did the right thing in that they played to the marketing crowd, they've been not doing that for too long.

  • miamixtmiamixt Posts: 600
    My Sticker was $29K. Darbow, I think you should go with the Vue, after all the payments are cheaper!
This discussion has been closed.