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Subaru Forester



  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Bill- In answer to your questions:

    1. There have been a number of interior and exterior modifications between the 03s and the 06s but yes, they are all fairly minor. I don't have the brochures handy to identify what's changed but most have been cosmetic or adding additional content (the space-saver spare being an exception).

    2. Subaru tweaked the engine to get a few more ponies out of it so yes there's a real HP gain although the avg driver would be hard-pressed to notice an actual difference in performance. MPG has also increased slightly.

    3. Yes the XT is sweet but does indeed come with the increased costs of ownership that you mentioned. Since that's a big factor, do yourself a favor and don't take one for a test drive.... otherwise you might be tempted into a decision you will later regret ;) In 2004 when I got my XT, you couldn't get leather and the moonroof unless you also got the auto tranny so I went aftermarket for both. I had the dealer install Katzkin leather before I took delivery and I've been extremely satisfied with it. The ability to choose from dozens of different colors and to customize the pattern certainly lessened the blow of not being able to get factory leather. I went with a charcoal color that almost perfectly matches the interior trim and got perforated light-grey inserts.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    MPG is up for the XT models, but MPG is actually down slightly for the normally aspirated engines he's considering. A fair trade-off for the few extra ponies.

    I don't think the 2006s are substantially different, but if you want to trade to get certain options or a different transmission then by all means, go for it.

    RAV4 got a lot bigger. So the first questions I'd ask, is, how much space do you need? If you have 3+ kids, or 2 kids and a large dog, the RAV4 will probably serve you better, since it's roomier.

    Forester has a lift gate that protects you from the rain and does not block curb-side loading. It has a better view to the rear, no spare tire to block your sight lines. The AWD is full-time, vs. on-demand. And it's a little lower to the ground, as you mentioned.

    If both meet your needs for space, which one gave you a wider smile? Fun-to-drive is an important aspect, let that be the tie-breaker.

  • My wife and I were stuck on the same decision and I agree with you on all of the counts. We thought that, in the end, the X Premium was a better buy by about 1500 than the RAV4. We didn't care for the cockpit area of the non LTD RAV4 (probably because our clever dealer sat us in the LTD first, but we were looking at that level to begin with) but really loved the extra space, the "quick fold" seats, etc. The LTD console is beautiful, but who really needs dual zone climate control...I suppose who needs climate control...I suppose who needs a lot of things, but regardless, it was overkill for us. The handling just wasn't as nice, the pickup didn't start until the revs were too high, and to get a reasonably comparable price, one had to forgo the AWD.

    After everything else, it came down to which we thought we'd enjoy the most, and it seemed that the bit more life that the Subie gave us while driving would be worth it (and we could spend the extra $1500 on an HDTV).
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    4 out of 6 cars recently owned had dual climate control. Maybe used that feature 4 times in total on all cars. I'm sure there are people who would rather give up power steering for dual climate control, but to me I never used it. Climate control however, I find a useful addition. The third rows seats in the RAV4 are useless, except for the tinyest of persons. All in all I'd rather have the Subaru.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Just be patient if you're shopping a RAV4, right now the prices are still relatively high, they'll come down once supply catches up with demand.

    People are talking about near MSRP for the V6s, which are still rare, and to me that's crazy. In a year the price will be $2000 less, I bet.

    I also don't think Toyota has a credit card like Subaru has with Chase. I've earned $700 in Subaru Bucks, already spent $300 worth of those. That's a big selling point for the Forester.

    If you can find a RAV4 for near invoice and need the space, though, go for it.

  • No so. The factory RECOMMENDS premium, not requires. I never put a drop of anything bbut regular in my 04 XT and it ran fine. But, alas , I dozed off last week and struck a tree head on at 40mph and totalled it. But the Subie saved my hide and will be replaced by an identical 06, which will also run on regular.

    Jeff P.
    Bethel, CT
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    According to the 06 manual, 91 octane or better is required for optimum performance. It advises that if premium is unavailable, 87 octane may be used temporarily but warns, "knocking, reduced output and poor accelerator response will result." The manual says the engine was designed for the higher octane fuel and in bold print says "Be sure to use premium unleaded gasoline of 91 AKI or higher for a 2.5-liter turbo engine model."

    I'm not an expert, but it seems careless to spend the extra money on the turbo and then not treat that investment accordingly, especially when we're only talking about a difference of around $100 per 10k miles you drive. I don't know if you will ever plan on selling it, but I'd imagine a lot of potential buyers would be skeptical about buying a used turbo that had been habitually run on regular gas, when premium was required.

  • sorry about your accident...glad you are safe. The Forester is a good car to (one of the best SUVs) for frontals.

    In case you hadn't heard, the '06 turbo has higher compression than the '04 thus you aren't likely to have satisfactory results with regular.

  • kumarikumari Posts: 72
    All this conversation about regular fuel in the XT has got my hopes up. I'm probably getting mine in March. Was planning on using mid-range fuel (89) because I mainly drive only a few miles (I'm talking 5 at most) from home and will not even be using the turbo unless one of those rare days I'm on the freeway (about once or twice a month at most, for under 15 miles); but everyone lectured me on how this is SO dangerous to the engine and here there's a guy who's used it for two years. My thought is that, if someone is driver with lots of freeway miles where you can open up the car and really haul, then you need that premium gas.

    Is the 2006 model THAT different? Will I do THAT much damage using mid-range fuel driving between 2500 and 3000 miles per year? I'm gettin the automatic and mainly getting the XT because it's the only way I can get a dark interior, factory leather and a sunroof in the same package. The light beige or grey interior in the standard models just wouldn't work for me. Plus, the extra power is a bonus.

    All of you out there are such major "drivers", that I'm not sure anything I read here will apply to me. But, I appreciate the input. For example, I read a lot of complaints about the noise factor in these cars, but when I took one out for an hour, it was the QUIETEST car I have EVER driven. It was the auto and I guess maybe the 5 speed is noisy, but I'm used to driving a very noisy, truck-based SUV.
  • jeqqjeqq Posts: 219
    Why pinch pennies on gas when you buy the most expensive engine? We've had this conversation before. The risks far outweigh the benefits. If money is an issue then buy the least expensive Forester 2.5 add "dealer leather" for about $900 (I know you need it and it can be done)and pump all the regular gas you want into it. The 2.5 has plenty of pep for your 3,000 miles a year. My other car is an Audi A6 3.2 and I have no speed regrets with my LL Bean.

    Only trying to give you friendly advise :) :)
  • dstew1dstew1 Posts: 275
    You've been a regular poster here for a couple of months now, and the more you elaborate on your needs and reasons for getting the turbo, the more I become convinced that you'd be better suited in the X Premium with aftermarket leather. Obviously you'll make your own decision on this, but you came to this forum looking for information and maybe a little input from other owners, and that's the most any of us can offer you.

    As jeqq said, we discussed premium vs. regular fuel before, and at 3000 miles a year the cost difference is going to be nil, considering you'll lose in gas mileage what you're saving at the pump, not to mention you could do permanent damage to your engine.

    Contaxs may have used regular fuel in his 04 but I believe Subaru was using the older variable valve timing (VVT) technology with that model year, and has switched changed to the active valve control system (AVCS)for better engine management and performance. The language in the owners manual has even changed from 91 octane being "recommended" to being "required." Not to mention contaxs may have had his 04 FXT two and a half years maximum, and there's no telling how it might have run after four or five years of being fed regular fuel.

    Alas, if the extra power is only a "bonus", and what you're really after is the plusher, darker interior and huge sunroof, then you'd save yourself a lot of money by doing what jeqq suggested and modifying an X Premium to fit your needs; it's still a fantastic car, and you wouldn't have the extra costs and maintenace associated with the, as you put it, more "driver" oriented engine.

    My advice, even if you've already driven both the X and XT, go back and ONLY drive the X. Take it everywhere the dealer will let you; busy surface streets, twisties, freeway, whatever. Ask if they can give you an estimate on leather, or a referral to a good local shop. After test-driving it a while in everyday conditions, I think you'd be hard pressed to say that it won't meet your needs. ;)

  • kumarikumari Posts: 72
    The point about the premium being "required" now in the handbook is well-taken. I wasn't planning on feeding mine "regular" (87), but using "mid-range" (89).

    BTW, you can't get the black interior in the regular Forester - it only comes in either light beige or light grey. I need the black interior (I think it's actually dark charcoal grey) - that's the first reason I went for the XT. I am well aware that I can get "after-market" leather, but it's between $1000 and $1500 where I live - and I couldn't put black leather in the standard model anyway because it would be too dark for the light grey carpets and door panel trim. You may laugh, but I will probably have this car for 20 years (with what it's costing, I'd better!) and those light interiors spot up and can't be sufficiently cleaned. My 14 year old car looks brand new inside!

    I drove the X first and then found out there was a turbo and went back and drove it. There is NO way I will buy the regular one now! Plus, I've read some reviews that say that the X has power issues going up steep hills and the turbo eliminates this problem.

    Hopefully it will get around 18-20 MPG in the city and then I won't care what gas I feed it. I'm currently getting 9.4 MPG in my current SUV and it takes regular gas. I will gladly feed premium, like I did for my dear departed Beemer, if it gets similar mileage. Also, where I live, Premium can be as much as 40 cents more than regular - so a fill-up can cost as much as $5-6 more. I guess I really won't know how it's all gonna work until I buy it and drive it for a few months. Others' MPG estimates don't apply to me.

    Unfortuately, the Forester XT is the only 4 cylinder car I like - That Chevy HHR is kinda cute, but I've read that it's not that great of a performer and the safety ratings suck! I just saw an ad on TV for something called the Maxda5, but I can't imagine it outperforming the Forester. The dealership is ordering an XT Limited stripped in the color I like, so I won't have to pay for all those extras (like, what is a security system shock sensor turbo, anyway). It should be here in March.

    Thanks again,

    Samantha :)
  • New to this board. Just bought a 06 Forrester LL Bean (3 weeks ago) for my wife. One thing she noticed is that the driver side rear is about 1/2 inches or so lower than the passenger side rear. For those that also bought a Forrester recently, could you post whether you have the same conditon? Can anyone confirm if this is normal or not? Thanks.

    Also, anyone understand why Subaru doesn't offer tinted windows as standard?
  • Also, anyone understand why Subaru doesn't offer tinted windows as standard?

    I wondered this myself. Here in Texas window tinting is almost as required as a/c. It's shocking when you see a vehicle that doesn't have it.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    the driver side rear is about 1/2 inches or so lower

    I assume you made those measurements on level pavement or in a garage but you may also want to use a bubble level to verify. Measurement of tilt with a yardstick or tape measure is notoriously prone to error.

    tidester, host
  • jpfkkjpfkk Posts: 43

    I hope you don't mind me venting just a bit... :)

    I try to be polite in forums such as this, but my gosh, every once in a while Subaru does something so dumb it makes me question why I would ever give a penny to such a dumb [non-permissible content removed] company. Okay, end of rant.

    Here's the bummer. Subaru announces that they have a deal now to include XM and Sirus radios in their cars in 2007. That's great. You could argue with the fact that it is three years behind the curve, but let's not be petty.

    Here's the rub. According to the announcement, the Forester will only be available with Sirius--not XM satellite radio.

    I am on my third Forester (I currently drive an 06 XT...and yes...I only use premium fuel). I also have XM radio. We upgrade our cars every two years. Now, when I go to get the new Forester, I can't get XM, the only option that I have is to switch to Sirius or continue to have an external radio sticking out of my dashboard. Why? Because someone decided that the Tribeca gets XM radio but Forester gets the Sirius?

    Are you kidding me? Why can't I pick one or the other?

    Add this to the list of truly maddening things you have to put up with when you decide to be a Subaru customer and it makes you wonder.

    Sadly, by 2007, I may, for the first time, buy a new car that isn't a Subaru.

    Okay, thanks for listening. Maybe we can put enough pressure on Subaru in these forums that they decide to do the right, customer focused thing, and let us choose our car and our satellite radio?


    It's too bad really, because I do believe that Subaru makes the best cars on the road.
  • kumarikumari Posts: 72
    That SUCKS! I'll betcha it's because the Foresters are made in Japan and shipped here. Maybe they have Sirius in Japan, and not XM - just a theory. If you really want to know, why don't you call Subaru - I did (regarding another matter) and no less than TWO people called me back with answers, so it's worth a try. Needless to say, I was impressed.

    Glad you like the car - I'm getting one in March. The radio issue doesn't apply to me, but I wish they'd put an an iiPod dock, which I also hear is coming, but not in time for me.

    Samantha :shades:
  • I love my XM radio. I agree....bring installed availability of either to the Forester...or stick to XM! I haven't heard of any company offering Sirius on one style and XM on another! Weird.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Perhaps Tribeca drivers are Stern fans and Forester owners listen to Oprah?

    As an Outback owner, I like to listen to the snow crunch under my tires. :shades:

    Steve, Host
  • jpfkkjpfkk Posts: 43

    You will not only like the car, you will love it. Again, I've always said that dollar for dollar, Subaru cars are far superior. I tested the BMW X3, the LandRover and a bunch of others against the Forester and felt it was a better car for far less money!

    Of course, that doesn't take away from the fact that Subaru is a maddening and god awful company to do business with. I've written in this forum numerous times that Subaru is truly a bizzare company--the do the big things incredibly well and the small things terribly bad.

    I did write to Subaru and got the same response that I always get when I ask them a question..."thanks for the feedback, sorry you feel that way, but we are a small car company." Argh.

    By the way, an iPod plug? My guess is that will come in 2012. :)

    Steve, I agree with you, but it doesn't snow every day. And, I so like listening to baseball on the radio! :)
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Also, anyone understand why Subaru doesn't offer tinted windows as standard?

    Foresters can't legally have factory tint because they are technically classified as cars for EPA and (tint) purposes. Only "trucks" which of course include all sorts of vehicles that don't even remotely resemble a truck (PT Cruiser for instance) can have factory tint. Fortunately, there's no shortage of quality after-market tinters and since the Forester looks like a SUV (aka truck), you can pretty much go as dark as you want and no law enforcement official will question it.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I tested the BMW X3, the LandRover and a bunch of others against the Forester and felt it was a better car for far less money!"

    Just for the record, I extensively tested an X3, and it is a better car for more money. It handles better than the Forester and has the anemities that I feel comfortable with. The Subie is a fine car, and the XT is blazing fast, but I wouldn't say it's the best vehicle money can buy.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Just for the record, I extensively tested an X3, and it is a better car for more money. It handles better than the Forester and has the anemities that I feel comfortable with. The Subie is a fine car, and the XT is blazing fast, but I wouldn't say it's the best vehicle money can buy.

    I completely disagree. The X3 "MAY BE" a little better in some areas (although Car & Driver didn't think so :P ) but there's no way it's even close to being twice as good. Which it would have to be to justify paying almost twice as much!

  • jpfkkjpfkk Posts: 43

    I absolutely respect your opinion. My comment reflected my personal opinion and I freely admit that I am not a car expert. In fact, far from it. I only drive on the weekends and am not really that into cars.

    However, I tested all of the cars that I was considering, including the X3. I thought it was different, had poor visibility out the back window, an advantage in some areas and a weakness in others. In a straight up comparison, I felt the Forester was a better car. I also think it had higher ground clearance and a better all-wheel drive system that has been proven over time. Again that is just me.

    I did notice that the "experts" at Motor Trend felt the Forester better, or at least it was a tie and the price difference offset their choice.

    But reasonable people can reasonably disagree. One thing I can tell you, if I would have purchased a BMW, alot of the silly things that one has to deal with as a Subaru customer wouldn't be happening. Again, great cars. Maddening company to be a loyal customer to.

    Let's shift the focus back to Subaru. What kind of bad management says, we will have this type of satellite radio for this car and that type of radio for this car. Shouldn't it be about choice? You choose the car, then choose the satellite radio service you want, then the radio and the dealer installs it?

    This is the same frustration I have every time I go to buy a new Subaru. You can't get a clear answer on accessories, you can't get the roof rack you want, you can't get window tinting, you can't get a navigation system and you can't have the radio you want.

    Okay, okay, sorry for venting, but someone at Subaru should think about the needs of the loyal customer and reverse engineer the car buying experience. Instead of saying here are our cars, buy them, leave the dealer and search the Web for any and all add ons and accessories, why not start with what car do you want and how can we help you get everything you need, make you happy--and, by the way, help our dealer make more money in the process.

    I go back to my original question. If you buy a Forester why should you be locked into one radio choice!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "I completely disagree. The X3 "MAY BE" a little better in some areas (although Car & Driver didn't think so :P ) but there's no way it's even close to being twice as good."

    We can disagree on this, but it handled as well as an E46. The Forester isn't close to that. Pound the gas on an X3 through a curve and then pound the gas on the Forester and there is a world of difference between the two.

    I could have gotten a $15K SUV and the Forester is not almost twice as good as a $15K SUV.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Well written post and as you noted it is possible to have a reasonable discourse. Having said that, each vehicle has their strengths and weaknesses for sure. I agree with you about Subaru and some of the frustrations.

    - frustrating climate control system, this has been talked about on this board
    - no DSC type of feature
    - no steering wheel controls (this drives me crazy as this is the only car in the last 10 years that does not have them)
    - no fifth gear on tranny (very bad mistake by Subaru for not including this on the Forester)
    - no option for HID

    I understand the Forester isn't a real luxury model and it does have its' positive points. However, if one wants the ground clearance and interior space there is no other model that has these specs.
  • jpfkkjpfkk Posts: 43

    Couldn't agree more. I almost forgot about the maddening climate system and steering wheel controls would be terrific too. I go back to my original point--why can this company do the big things well and the little things, which should be so easy, so badly? Drives me nuts.

    It is the little things that are starting to add up for me and the satellite radio is the straw that broke the camel's proverbial back.

    I have found the Forester's level of luxury enough for me. Leather is nice. Car is comfortable. Quality on the interior is very good. And, you are right, if you want reliability, all wheel drive and ground clearance, hard to beat the Forester, despite Subaru's best efforts.

  • kumarikumari Posts: 72
    Just for the record, I extensively tested an X3, and it is a better car for more money. It handles better than the Forester and has the anemities that I feel comfortable with. The Subie is a fine car, and the XT is blazing fast, but I wouldn't say it's the best vehicle money can buy.

    I had barely heard of Subaru when I test drove the Forester - in fact, I only saw them in the lot while on the way to the Honda Dealership! I also drove the X3 - after testing the Forester - and I was so worried that, having driven a BMW for 14 years, I would HAVE to have the X3 which cost so much more $$, but I liked the Forester XT MUCH better. Granted, the BMW is a luxury car, but I don't need a luxury car and I liked the way the Forester handled better! The Forester was also smaller, had a lower center of gravity (better for cornering) and a 4 cylinder engine.

    Comparing the BMW's 6 cylinder to the Forester 4 cylinder XT is just comparing apples and oranges. They are both good and both fast - the Forester, however gets better gas mileage.

    With regard to the extras that are available when ordering, I agree, there should be more options, but remember, the Forester is manufactured in and shipped over from JAPAN, so I believe that is the reason we can't get all the goodies in a pick&choose manner.

    Getting my XT in March - can't wait - will let you all now if it's all I expected!

  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    Other way 'round, Steve!
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