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BMW X3 vs Subaru Forester XT vs Infiniti FX 35 vs Toyota RAV4



  • jmg35jmg35 Posts: 6
    Mr.Zman, Last January I purchased an FX35 for my wife. I get to drive it whenever we go out together. Visibility is not a problem for me nor for her. The mirrors work well when changing lanes and when reversing I've never had an issue (nor has she). We have the rear view camera and most of the time I forget to use it.
    As a side note we LOVE the FX35 and are extremely satisfied with the entire package.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hyundai - not really, the Santa Fe's blind spots are a lot worse than the Forester's. And they no longer offer a small wagon, so you're outta luck there. Even the Tucson has a very wide D-pillar.

    On the other hand, the 3.5l V6 option in the Sante Fe means it can probably keep up with the BMW X3 2.5l, but not the quicker SUVs in this thread.

    By the way, that's getting a bit old. Sure, even a bicycle will do, but that's not the point, we're comparing sporty SUVs. That's something Hyundai just does not build.

    For 2005, looks like the Forester XT will offer the Premium Package (huge moonroof) with the manual tranny. It's also getting the 3 spoke steering wheel from the WRX STi, improved climate control, and a better cruise stalk.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    It's also getting the 3 spoke steering wheel from the WRX STi

    It's an all-new MOMO(?) 3-spoke design. The airbag area is a large triangle. It looks very good. :)

  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Juice- Is that the whole premium package for the F-XT in the MT or just a moonroof? What about the X/XS? BTW, is this info posted somewhere?

  • petew4petew4 Posts: 71
    I stand corrected on the inside space Murano vs. FX. However, the FX does have more space in front leg room and front head room.
  • vsromanvsroman Posts: 95
    maybe he is standing :)
  • splurgersplurger Posts: 5
    I've driven my 1990 325 from new and have just loved its driveability and reliability. Now its a little long in the tooth and a little small, so sadly...

    The Forester L I bought my (now ex) wife was a pleasure to drive, almost everything I would have needed, but I want the sunroof and blue (perhaps you read my haiku?).

    I had such high hopes for the X3 (sunroofs in blue!) but on my test drive was really disappointed. It was heavy, and twitchy and no smile came to my lips:o(

    Now I'm having 2nd thoughts: is it possible that the X3 was set up incorrectly: wrong tire pressures / undocumented sports package, do I have to adapt my driving style to a performance car that isn't long in the tooth? I'll freely admit that I would prefer the X3 and would happily pay the extra 10k, but only if I can puzzle the mystery of that ride. Thoughts please.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    will now be available with a 5-speed manual. In '04 if you wanted a Forester turbo with a moonroof, you had to buy the automatic. Not so for '05. :)

  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Juice made the same observation re: XT-PP in the manual transmission. I assume that means both leather and the moonroof. Does it hold for the XS too? And when do you think it'll be available--after the new Legacies and Outbacks arrive in June? By the way, what's the source?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    My guess is they will arrive in May or June.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    XT 5 speed gets the whole premium package, yes. More info on the Subaru Crew - Future Models thread.

    An ex-dealer employee showed me a list of new models, I judged it as very reliable. He had no reason to lie - he was trying to sell me a CPO Saab 9-5 wagon and the news makes me even more likely to stick with Subaru.

    splurger: heavy and twitchy is no fun. Go back and specifically request a different suspension set up. Take a tire gauge with you, the whole nine yards.

    If you're thrilled with your Bimmer give the X3 a fair shot. Then if you still pick something else you'll have absolutely no regrets.

    Good luck.

  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    Fact- March was the best month ever recorded for
    BMW sales, one report in the Wall Street journal said up 5.6% and USA Today said 9%. Feb sales were up as well.
    You people that don't like the looks of BMW are obviously in a minority, a recent article I read said the Z4 was on pace to outsell the 350 Z and the new 5 series is outselling the old. This is all in spite of the effect of the euro which is killing BMW and all European manufactures. So go ahead Subaru owners what lame excuse will you come up with now for BMW continuing to kick butt, I'm sure it will be another total opinion packed answer not based on any reality as usual. And by the way, you can call the Forester an SUV but it looks like a station wagon that got stuck in the 70'S. If I want a station wagon I'll buy a station wagon. At least call it what it is, when I buy SUV's I want them to look like SUV's or SAV's in BMW's case.
  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    If this brand is so hot and the cars are as great as we are led to believe on this website than why are the sales flat. March 2004 17,606 verses March 2003 17,614. I remember the comments at the end of January when BMW had one down month that several of you and you know who you are said BMW was dropping fast and they had lost it. Using the logic from that discussion then Subaru must have peaked, I see a trend here. It must be the looks of the Subaru designers (thats what was said of Bangel). Hey, I'm just using your logic so you can see how crazy it sounds to use all opinion with no facts and to base judgement on one months sales. And Oh by the way, X5 sales were 2404 in March and X3 sales were 2551 units. Please don't tell me BMW sales were up because of Mini because Mini sales were only up 36 units verses March 2003.
    Just because the Forester XT is fast and cheap doesn't make it the best sport utility. If fast and cheap were that important I guess the Camaro would still be for sale.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "…and you know who you are…"

    That's funny.

    Scotth6… You forgot to mention that BMW Brand sales are down 8% for the first quarter compared to last year… a pretty bad figure considering the bold new direction and this new era of discounting which is unprecedented considering BMW's past.

    The BMW Brand sales is an indicator that points to the new designs. This number should be up and BMW knows it. This is why they are responding with the makeover of the 7 and the dubious Bangle "promotion".
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Scotth6… You forgot to mention that BMW Brand sales are down 8%"

    Yes they were down in January due to factory closings and re-tooling in January. I will acknowledge the sale of a $70K car to a luxury buyer is different than the sale of a $30-$35K car to a near luxury buyer, but I happen to like to new designs inside and out.
  • corkfishcorkfish Posts: 537
    "Just because the Forester XT is fast and cheap doesn't make it the best sport utility"

    A lot of people disagree, including Car and Driver who named it the best small SUV of the year. And of course, safety is nice too, Forester was named by the insurance institute as the safest SUV they'd ever tested.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    why are the sales flat

    Because the new Legacy and Outback are due next month and those are their volume sellers.

    You're just looking at one month that supports your (weakest yet) argument.

  • bgsintthbgsintth Posts: 16
    I still think that the OBXT will prove to be a more direct competitor than the FXT. As SOA releases more details on the OBXT, and 3.0 for that matter, the better it looks. I'm already leaning more toward the OBXT, sight unseen, but will wait until its out before deciding between the two.

    Glad to hear that folks are enjoying their X3s, and that there have been very little in the way of complaints. I was very impressed with it after my test drives, just hoping for a little more oomph from my next ride.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2005 Outback is more similar to the Volvo XC70 and Audi allroad quattro 2.7T. They all have turbo engines.

    I've driven the Volvo XC70, and compared to the Forester XT there is a lot more lag and the tranny is slower to shift. The auto Forester is quicker but the 5 speed manual Forester absolutely blows the XC70 away, no contest.

    Given the OB XT will have more power, more boost, I fully expect it will show the Volvo and Audi its taillights. Even in the twisties.

    I think we'll see sub 6 second 0-60 times, about 7 seconds with automatic.

    The Outback suspension will probably be dialed in for more comfort than the X3 or FX, but the Legacy GT (also available with a turbo) should even have a better ride/handling balance than the heavier SUVs.

  • bgsintthbgsintth Posts: 16
    Good Points, but the main reason I think the OBXT is more comparable is interior space. I could never consider the FXT because it has very limited legroom in the rear seat, which is why I'm looking to replace my WRX wagon. The X3 has a lot of room in the rear seat, significantly more that the FXT. Agreed that I have special needs.

    Both the Audi and the Volvo are way out of my price range. I believe the 4.2 Allroad is now in the $50K's? Though I do think the OBXT will match-up very well in terms of room, comfort, and performance.

    Oh, and I have not ruled out a GT limited wagon, though I'm waiting to see if it is somehow possible to get leather w/out a sunroof.
  • pon1pon1 Posts: 196
    No question the OBXT will steal sales from the FXT if the prices are close, which is maybe one reason why we in Canada will only be getting the OBXT in Limited form for 05. OBXT will offer similar performance, upscale packaging, maybe a bit less fun, a bit more grown up.

    More importantly for Subaru, they will also steal sales from Volvo, VW and Audi and the car based mid range and lux SUV world with both the OBXT and new revised 3.0R. Dont think the outgoing model was quite in that ballpark.

    I am cross shopping the MT FXT with the 3.0R auto, as in Canada the latter is going to be the "base" model for those wanting a bit more than the N/A 4 cyl 2.5i. Once we get to drive the cars should be easy decision because they are going to be very different (I have never driven the current H6). I'd say it is tougher in the US where a loaded FXT and base OBXT will be much closer in price.

    Getting further off topic, but wonder how many folks will be torn between the OB 3.0R and OBXT??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nope - Limited package gives you both leather and a moonroof.

    Have you seen the moonroof, though? It's massive, and now it's no longer split like it used to be. The front tilts up, the rear open all the way, leaving a gaping hole.

    Headroom on all Legacys is much better for 2005. Ramana Lageman, the US SCCA Rally driver for Subaru, is 6'4" and had room to spare over his head in a moonroof-equipped sedan. I'm 6" and even in the rear of that sedan I had a few inches to spare.

    If you don't want the moonroof for other reasons, what about aftermarket leather? Katskins or similar.

    The H6 is about luxury - it's quiet and smooth. At idle my wife didn't realize it was on and reached for the ignition. It's geared very tall for relaxed, efficient cruising.

    The turbo is geared short and will blow the doors off of anything in its class. It's not as quiet and not nearly as fuel efficient as the H6. I also think its character will be substantially different - all performance.

    Drive both and you'll have a clear preference.

  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    Readers choice Best Small SUV in the May issue of Automobile Magazine was not a Subaru it was the BMW X3. No Subaru named in all 14 catagories, Yawn. Best Mid Size was the VW Touareg.
    BMW sales are trending up through Feb and increasing through March. The ir was little or no 5 Series available in Jan and the X3 was not available. You Subaru guys can't stand it can you, just go ahead and admit that that the X3 is a success as well as the Z4 and even the new 5 Series. Yes, the 7 Series has a problem with electronics and a trunk but the looks are being changed for 2005. BMW says their brand sales will definitely be up for 2004 and I believe them a lot more than a couple of Subaru owners.
    And quit calling your station wagon an SUV. Probably the number one reason for buying a SUV is a high seating position and your station wagon does not have it.
  • clpurnellclpurnell Posts: 1,087
    Ok I went to the houston auto show and sat in the Subie to see what the fuss was about. I swore off this board about 700 posts ago but had to give my .02 now.

    The subie is not in the same class as the other vehicles here. First of all it is small and very uncomfortable. All you subie nuts say how much more utilty and visibility it has than an FX but what good is that if I don't fit.

    Second the interior and leather are nice for what it is and that is a 20k vehicle.

    Finally you know how many people were looking at the FXT NONE compare that to lines looking at the FX and X3. Yeah the subie is fast but so is the neon srt-4 don't mean you should compare it to a m3 or g35.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Which is kind of ironic when you consider who's driving the X3. Oh wait, there's a psychological term for that. Something to do with the male psychoses... Okay I'll behave ;-)

    Kudos to BMW for doing well with the reader's choice awards but personally I'd rather own a vehicle voted best by knowledgeable car reviewers (C&D and CR) than be chosen by the slave-to-fashion brand-conscious masses. But honestly, if a vehicle truly suits your needs, does it really matter if it wins any awards?

    And of course the FXT is really just a tall station wagon, as are the X3 and FX. All three are built on car platforms and none have a low-range transmission, both common litmus tests for being a real "SUV".

    -Frank P.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Do you have to work really hard at being such a bore, or does it come naturally?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Let's play nice and stick to the topic - which is not each other! :-)

    tidester, host
This discussion has been closed.