Subaru Forester MPG-Real World Numbers



  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I have a similar's part of it ('98 Subaru Forester, 5MT):

    13-Jan 248.4 10.075 24.65508685
    19-Mar 330.4 14.136 23.3729485
    27-Mar 229.1 9.214 24.86433688
    10-Apr 334.9 13.389 25.01307043
    6-May 323 12.744 25.34526051
    8-May 217.6 8.299 26.22002651
    20-May 207.8 8.657 24.00369643
    20-May 282.2 9.999 28.22282228
    30-May 270.2 10.161 26.59187088
    31-May 280.2 10.1 27.74257426
    12-Jun 316.4 12.688 24.9369483
    19-Jun 375.2 13.607 27.57404277
    26-Jun 293.8 10.96 26.80656934
    10-Jul 330.1 13.32 24.78228228
    18-Jul 331.1 13.878 23.8579046
    22-Jul 244.8 9.584 25.54257095
    29-Jul 354.7 14.043 25.25813573

    average: 25.07290953

  • kavoomkavoom Member Posts: 181

    I have three 3K mile trips towing a 1900 lb pop up camper. I'll put some stuff together.

    But I have consistently averaged just over 21 mpg for those trips including side trips sans trailer. I have been very pleasantly surprised.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I tow as well, and got something like 17.3 mpg last time. Fuel efficiency really tanks.

    But then again, paisan told me he used to get 10mpg towing with his Trooper (heavier load, to be fair).

  • phc0059phc0059 Member Posts: 2
    Hi, We just purchased a 2003 Forester XS with 26K. After running four tanks of fuel through it we are averaging 21/22mpg. This is at least 80-90% highway driving (65-70mph). All filters are new and fluids freshly changed at the dealer. I contacted the dealer and was told this is due to cold weather and fuel that is a "winter Blend". We live in Kansas City and have been averaging 50degree days. Does this seem normal to anyone else?

    What kind of fuel economy are other members seeing out of the Forrester XS? Model Year? % city/highway?

    Is this "Winter Blend" gasolene for real? More alcohol content during certain months?

    I just want to know if I should settle for this or keep pushing the dealer to do something about it. We have owned the vehicle for three weeks today.

    Thanks Everyone!
    - Patrick
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    With the winter-blend of 10% ethenol, you will see a decrease in fuel economy by as much at 10%. 21-22 isn't bad for mixed driving.


    PS: Your milage will increase steadily up to 10k miles which is when a Subaru is broken in fully.
  • phc0059phc0059 Member Posts: 2
    Paisan: Thank you for the input. I will keep close tabs on the numbers and post updates to the thread. Do you have any knowledge or thoughts on when the "Winter Blend" fuel is typically replaced for spring with the non-ethenol enriched type?

    Also, you mentioned a break-in period, this is actually a used 2003. It was purchased with 26,000 miles and now has 28,000. My economy observations are for this mileage range over the past three weeks. Mainly Kansas City with one trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma as far as driving conditions.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    - Patrick
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Well you might try re-setting the computer and give it about 1k miles to re-learn your driving style, that can improve the milage as well (disconnect the (-) battery terminal and hit the brake pedal a dozen times.

    As for winter blend of 10% ethenol, depends on your area there should be a sticker on the pumps denoting the 10%, here in NY/NJ we have "winter" blend year round.

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    I have had my '03 XS since new, now with 61k. My average tank is 27.5 mpg with 70% hwy, 30% city.

    Best tank was 31 mpg, all highway.

    Two keys--this is an MT, and keep the tires uniformly inflated between 32 and 35 psi. With an AT, lower tire pressures, and high city driving it will only get you what you are seeing.

  • 204meca204meca Member Posts: 369
    03 XS, stick, average 22-23 70% city driving. Goes up ~ 2 mpg in warmer weather. I have not done many long highway trips, but have gotten 27-29. I generally drive with a pretty light foot, tires at 32-35 psi
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Member Posts: 775
    This is the first year that 10% ethanol blend is used in NJ. The mileage on my 04 FXT MT has never been worse. My winter average used to be 21+, it has now dropped to the 19.5-20.5 range. I never got below 20 until now.

    I normally attribute winter conditions to a 5% MPG drop compared to summer driving. This year, it's 10% - 5% due to colder temps, and another 5% due to ethanol. This makes sense as ethanol makes up 10% by volume and has slightly over 1/2 the energy content of gasoline.

    The governement has found yet another way to screw the consumer - our taxes are paying for ethanol subsidies AND we pay more at the pump due to lower MPG.

    Life is grand... :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Stinks - even my Miata is faring worse. I used to go 300 miles on a tank, now it seems like I hit 260 and I have to fill up. I'm sure the cold weather is also contributing, but I hate having to get gas so often.

  • jay_24jay_24 Member Posts: 536
    I've been using the ethanol for years in my 2001 OBW and have noticed little difference in MPG. Minnesota has required 10% ethanol for the past 5 or more years. Wisconsin does/did not. No noticable difference.
    Cold weather affects my subie the most. Global warming has hit this year big time. Most years my mpg goes from 27 summer to 23ish winter. This year it has been 25mpg. Except for 2 weeks when it was near zero everyday. Then it was 24mpg.

    Perhaps Ethanol and cold weather has a bigger effect?

    I have changed to Shell gas this year due to my work office moving. Maybe the "Tier 1" gas that GM and Toyota recomends is better? ethanol or not?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    With pure ethanol the flex-fuel cars tend to get about 40% less range. So figure with E10 it's probably about 4%, which may not be enough that most people will notice.

    Come to think of it, that's not nearly enough to cause the drop I've seen, so I'm sure it's the cold weather we've had lately.

  • jim314jim314 Member Posts: 491
    According to the Wikipedia entry on gasoline, the 10% ethanol fuel (aka gasohol) has about 97% of the energy content of straight gasoline. On this basis you'd expect less than 1 mpg drop in mpg for vehicles getting less than about 30 mpg with gasoline.

    Also since ethanol is an octane booster it ought to allow the fuel producer to dispense with other octane boosters and save on costs. Of course, ethanol is expensive to produce and is subsidized. Also it is more expensive to transport since at present 10% ethanol fuel cannot be transported by pipeline. As I understand it the gasoline base is shipped by pipeline and the pure ethanol is shipped by tanker truck. The two are mixed at the wholesale distribution point.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    3%, 4%, I was close. ;)

  • philj5philj5 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased the above manual transmission Forester almost 11 months ago. It currently has 12,000 miles. Combined driving (approx. 50% in town and 50% highway) is right around 27 mpg (non-ethanol gasoline). Highway mileage is 30 mpg. Since much of my driving is short trips, the 27 mpg is a pleasant surprise. I thought highway mileage might be a bid higher, but I tend to drive 70 mph. I need to do some testing at 65 mph to see if there is a significant difference. Compared to other vehicles in its class, the Forester 2.5 gets good gasoline mileage and it's a solid little car to boot!
  • kavoomkavoom Member Posts: 181
    I just came back from a 2400 mile trip towing my 1800 lb pop up camper. About 2K of the trip was towing. Without the trailer, I was right at 28 mpg. With the trailer it was right at 17 mpg. The total avg mpg was 19.7 mpg. About 25% of the gas was ethanol (South Dakota and Nebraska).

    Not bad for pulling a trailer these days... Oh, I have an 07 Premium Package MT. This does compare to my 04 X where I averaged 21 mpg on the same trip twice. They changed the torque power ratios and not for the better in 06.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's about what I got towing a trailer with my non-turbo. It really kills mileage.
  • pbaipbai Member Posts: 7
    21 MpG for the first tank
    07 Forester, 2.5X, auto, 240 miles :)
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAMember Posts: 116
    Now that I've made a habit of cruising at 70 instead of 74 whenever I'm not in (so much of) a hurry, I find myself getting around 25-26 mpg in 60/40 freeway/street driving. Windows and sunroof stay open except on freeways, no AC whenever possible, tires only slightly overinflated, and moderately conservative driving habits - to match my politics. ;)

    Reality check: lowest 87 octane gas now selling in SD area for $2.90 a gallon. :)
  • logtraillogtrail Member Posts: 74
    I usually associate those driving red Buick Regals as
    retired, white male Republican conservatives. So you are crossing boundaries.
    But my driving this past week was a bit more liberal. On a trip from Nantucket to Baltimore I averaged 27 miles per gallon, often while driving 80-85 mph. It has been a while since I have been on the NJ Turnpike and I am amazed what the average speed is on that road. My 80 mph was not unusual.
  • gmginsfogmginsfo San Diego, CAMember Posts: 116
    Logjammer, Your stereotyping reminded me of my 1990 vacation to Canada. I'd rented a Corolla but its tranny died the first day out. When I took it back to the rental center at DTW, a friendly agent exchanged it for a souped-up red Regal Gran Sport with the big engine and everything else. I drove that car - most unconservatively - all over Ontario, to Montreal and Quebec, and then back to Chicago for my HS reunion and had a blast - and got decent mileage to boot. So yes, I crossed some boundaries then and continue to do so, even if not yet retired - although happily on vacation this week! If it's any consolation to you, my Forester is red, too, but my politics are True Blue. All of which leaves me a whiter shade of purple. ;)
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I hope if you were doing 80mph on the NJTP you were in the right lane with your 4-ways on! ;)

  • logtraillogtrail Member Posts: 74
    You're right there paisan. I did have to move to the right several times. Even though I am a fairly cautious driver most of the time, my theory is that the safest highway driving is in the passing lane and doing the passing most of the time. I'm afraid of some of those cautious drivers in the slower lanes. This logic eludes my wife however; I can't understand why!! :)
    I wonder what my mileage would have been at 60mph??
  • ktqktq Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone know if there is any Forester available that (1) has stability control (VDC in Subaru speak) AND (2) qualifies for EPA SmartWay (PVEZ)?

    (EPA SmartWay designations show up EPA's on-line Green Vehicle Guide, but it isn't clear which Forester trims, etc. they refer too.)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I don't think so. I think only the Sports XT has stability control and the PZEV models are the base 2.5l engine.
  • 204meca204meca Member Posts: 369
    I find it a challenge to meet or beat the EPA figures, but in the two years I have had my 03 Forester XS 5 spd I have never taken it on an extended road trip.

    In August I took it on several trips & kept track on mileage. My goal was to beat 30 MPG highway mileage. I drive with a light foot, usually shift between 2,500 - 3,000 RPMs, usually do not downshift unless it gets below 1,800 RPMs, overall drive conservatively with a light foot, tires are 34 front 36 back, use semi-syn oil, usually car racks are off.

    In between trips, I checked my urban mileage (around small city with short (2-6 mile trips on freeway) & got 25.9 mpg on single tank.

    445 mile trip from NW Idaho to WA coast including crossing 3,100' Cascade Mt pass, roof racks on, 5 people with light luggage, ~ 70% freeway, speeds ranged from 50 to 75, probably averaged 60 mph, AC on 60% of time = 29.9 MPG.

    729 miles from NW WA to NW Oregon coast & back, 3 passengers + Lab retriever + ~120 lbs gear, racks off. Southbound, 90% highway (of which 60% was freeway), 10% urban (included a 4-5 short trips going to beaches, meals...), AC on 35% of time, ave speed estimated 55 mph - 29.1 MPG

    Northbound cargo, same route, but 98% highway, about 10 miles of 0-30 mph on clogged freeway, no AC, ave speed about 60 mph = 33.1 MPG! Trip average = 31.1 MPG. :D

    Conclusion: The NA 5 speed Forester can beat the EPA estimates! I am very pleased with my Forester's mileage, but apparently it can't beat our A4 1.8T CVT (not quattro) which has gotten up to 36 MPG.
  • kavoomkavoom Member Posts: 181
    The XT sports has the VTC also as does Outbacks. I thought all the Foresters at least were "green."
  • hypovhypov Member Posts: 3,068
    2007 base model 4EAT loaner for 2 weeks. Not even broken in yet - 3.2k miles on the ticker.
    Lead foot mostly highway 72 - 87 mph and 20% city also lead footed. Using 89 oct. and 93 oct [by mistake from habit].

    Yield 24 mpg. with either.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Cool loaner, Dave!
  • chelle26chelle26 Member Posts: 8
    that reminds me when i had my first car, '02 Impreza 2.5..for about a year, subaru catalytic converter started to go bad.the emissions are starting to develop so, well goodluck to us.
  • pbaipbai Member Posts: 7
    2007 Forrester X, Auto
    Date mileage brand gallons MpG
    5/30/2007 6 n/a n/a n/a
    6/10/2007 240 Costco 11.11 21.06
    6/25/2007 517 Costco 13.265 20.88
    7/8/2007 796 Costco 12.439 22.43
    7/21/2007 1048 Costco 11.828 21.31
    8/8/2007 1294 Costco 11.457 21.47
    8/19/2007 1535 Costco 10.808 22.30
    8/31/2007 1695 Costco 7.623 20.99
    9/3/2007 2036 Shell 13.961 24.43
  • dcwestbydcwestby Member Posts: 29
    Generally I fill up around either 3/4s full or half tank... I generally drive about 25 miles each way to work and back, takes me about a 30 minute drive, 5-10 minuts getting to freeway then 15-20 min on freeway. So generally I'm filling up every 2-3 days.

    I fill up at my place of work, where gas is about 3.11/gal [cheapest in the area as far as washington state people see it] I'm very sure its about 2 gallons a day I use.. Old car I'd use over 2 gallons a day..

    I'd say about 25-30mpg avg
  • johnvjohnv Member Posts: 40
    First measured tank.
    Odometer just rolled over 700. 5spd MT.
    328 miles into the CA foothills: 0 -> 2000ft -> 1500ft -> 2000ft -> 0 twice + lots of 80mph freeway, some with sunroof open.
    26.1 mpg
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Sounds great - and it should get better because the engine is still very green.
  • leo2633leo2633 Member Posts: 589
    My wife and I just returned home to New Jersey from a 1300 mile round trip to North Carolina. We took my 5 speed 2001 Forester, which now has 176K miles. On the trip down, I got 30.6 MPG, which was great, considering all the stop and go traffic we encountered along I-95. Coming home, when traffic was much lighter, I got 34.5 MPG and 450 miles (exactly) on one tank, which took me from Belmont, NC to Annapolis, MD. That was the highest MPG and longest distance per tank I've ever gotten, and I've tracked MPG for every tankful since purchasing the car new 7 years ago. Upon refueling, I still had 2-point-something gallons left, which gave me a (theoretical) cruising range of over 500 miles. Not that I would ever take it that low, but it was interesting to see that.

    Speeds were kept at 60-65 MPH for most of the trip, cruise control was used whenever possible and the A/C was on the entire time. Not too shabby for a car that was rated about 28 MPG on the highway when new.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    176k miles and it's still able to get 30.6mpg? Wow! :shades:
  • peteshawpeteshaw Member Posts: 1
    Our 2006 Subaru Forester with AT and no Turbo, gets exactly what the sticker said it would 23 town, 28 hwy. That is driving right on the speed limits, and driving sensibly. -- PeteShaw
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    21mpg low, 34 mpg high, so far.

    Average is usually 22-26 or so, though the wife drives mostly around town and in traffic.

    We use our minivan for long trips and highway miles.
  • aathertonaatherton Member Posts: 617
    "Our 2006 Subaru Forester with AT and no Turbo, gets exactly what the sticker said it would 23 town, 28 hwy. That is driving right on the speed limits, and driving sensibly."

    I think our cars are physically identical, yet the sticker on my 2008 Subaru Forester with AT and no Turbo says 20 town, 26 hwy.

    Driving at the limits and using gentle accelerations, I am getting 26 around town (mixed suburb and city) and 28 on highway.
  • jim314jim314 Member Posts: 491
    The EPA did revise the formulas it uses to calculate the estimated mpg's from the dynamometer tests (which I think were not changed). I think 2008 was the first year of the new calculation procedure.

    There could be a difference in the transmission between '06 and '08 (maybe just the software settings for control), or the engine con trol software.

    Are the tires the same on the '06 and '08?

    Then there is the possibility of variation in performance of identical cars.
  • phil53phil53 Member Posts: 54
    I am considering the purchase of a 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited. Before I do, though, I'd like to get input on what type of mileage folks are getting in the real world. It would help to know what type of driving you do (% city/suburban/highway), how you drive (cautious, average, aggressive), city/combined/highway mileage and how many miles you have on the vehicle.
    Since the engine and transmission (4AT) have not changed recently, I would also welcome input from owners of older models with the same drivetrain and how it has fared long-term. Overall impressions of the vehicle would be welcome as well.
    A bit about me. I'm getting rid of a 2000 Beetle TDI that gets 42 mpg average. So, obviously, mileage is a big consideration. My wife wants something with 4WD or AWD for the winter. I'd like something with a great deal of utility so I can park my 2004 Avalanche whenever possible. At the same time, I'd like something with the same level of luxury I enjoy with my Avalanche (pretty loaded up). I am an aggresive driver - not in the sense that you see used by law enforcement. But I accelerate quickly, I drive 5 or 10 over the limit and I don't over-inflate my tires or use any hyper-mileage tricks. I don't baby my vehicles (but I do take care of them). My commute is a little over 30 miles, about 70%highway/30%suburban traffic in a midwest metropolitan area.
    By the way, I'm comparing this against a Nissan Rogue SL AWD.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A Forester Limited like ours should be pretty close to what you want. We have an 09, and I had previously owned a 98.

    My wife drives it, mostly around town. She tends to get 24mpg or so, but that's mostly in town driving, almost no long distance trips (we take our minivan on trips).

    We've seen mileage from 22mpg (all city) to 34mpg (an all highway jaunt). We only have 1000 or so miles on it now, so I suspect that will improve as it breaks in (my 98 did).

    I think you can realistically expect an average of anywhere from 23-28mpg or so, depending on your driving habits and especially the type of driving.
  • phil53phil53 Member Posts: 54
    Thanks. The averages you mention seem to track with what I've been told by a couple of people I've talked to (25 - 28). That beats what I'm hearing on the Rogue. I've also gone back and read previous posts and see anywhere from 20 to 34. So that's not bad for a small SUV. Just wish they'd improve on the 4AT. Rogue's CVT with paddle shifters beats it hands-down. The 4AT seems to hunt and shift a little rough on the one I drove.
    I'd be interested to see if anyone's taken a roadtrip with one of the cargo carriers on top. I'll need to do that once or twice a year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I did with my old one, a soft carrier on top of a 98. My guess is that cost me an MPG or two.

    Forester may get a CVT next year and I bet they'll use the same supplier as Nissan. My buddy has an Altima and that CVT impressed me, much better than, say, the one on the 2.4l Outlander.
  • bbthomasbbthomas Member Posts: 24
    I commute about 32 miles one way, 15% city/85% highway. With 1500 miles on my 2.5X Limited, I average around 27.5 mpg. Depending on traffic, I've seen as high as 30 mpg. I consider my driving style average, though I do over-inflate my tires by a couple of psi. For highway commuting I find the 4AT fine, only on hilly back roads do I wish for a 5AT (when I used the manual mode).
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,030
    The cargo carrier is going to hit it rather hard. With just my soft carrier on my '96 Outback, I would lose a couple MPG. With a cargo carrier on my '08 Outback (the Subaru-branded Yakima Load Warrior) and loaded, I lost 6-8 MPG (was getting 28-30 without the carrier, and ran about 22 MPG with it) consistently. It was brutal considering the distance traveled with it on top (about 4000 miles on a 5500 mile trip).

    This summer, I drove my minivan on a trip to the Kasilof river (about 500 miles from home). I had the same cargo carrier on top. I got between 17 and 22 MPG depending on whether I ran 70(+) or kept it at 60. I get that much around town (average 20.5 MPG) and managed 25.5 out of it (3.8L V6 in a '98 Caravan AWD) on a recent 400-mile round trip to Tok. At $4.50 a gallon, that was an expensive way to carry a little extra cargo. :cry:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • buckhuntrbuckhuntr Member Posts: 11
    I just took my family on a 3,400 mile road trip in my brand new 09X Premium, and with the Subaru OEM long cargo box (aerodynamic) we got 24mpg for the trip. The Foz had less than 500 miles when we started. When we got to Florida, the box came off and spent the week in the condo, then was reinstalled in about 5 minutes for the return drive.
  • phil53phil53 Member Posts: 54
    Thanks for the input on the cargo carriers. Sounds like the OEM solid box is the way to go. Of course, I'd rather not carry any. But I take one or two trips a year when my Avalanche is pretty loaded. The Forester can't come close to carrying that much without either a car-top carrier or a small trailer.
    buckhuntr - 24 doesn't sound that bad, but you don't say how fast you were going. Out here in the midwest, 75 on the interstate and 65 - 70 on the 2 lanes is pretty common.
    xwesx - 17 is pretty discouraging, so I'm hoping buckhuntr is closer to what I might expect. I can haul everything I might want with the Avalanche and still get 17 mpg.
    ateixeira - thanks for the info on the CVT. Just not sure I want to wait until next year.
    Also - thanks to bbthomas for the input.
  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    24 doesn't sound that bad, but you don't say how fast you were going. Out here in the midwest, 75 on the interstate and 65 - 70 on the 2 lanes is pretty common.

    On my 04, the mileage really drops when you get up around 75 to 80. I'm pretty sure the combination of the boxy shape along with the short gearing (higher revs) is the culprit. When I moved across the country, I was amazed that my wife's Grand Cherokee actually got slightly better mpg than my Forester :surprise: But then it had a bigger engine (6-cyl), RWD and was turning about a 1,000 rpms slower.

Sign In or Register to comment.