New Subaru Forester Owners - Give Us Your Report!

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
edited March 2014 in Subaru
Congratulations on your new Forester! This is the place to let us know how much you love it!


  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    Well we looked and looked for a small car-based SUV, or small wagon, that could be had with a five speed manual. There are not very many of those out there. After eliminating a very few, there were three left that I was comfortable with, so I let my wife scratch the ones she didn't care for. She said no on the Volvo V70 (plushest, but $10k higher than the Sube) and the Mazda Sportwagon - she didn't care for the looks. Neither of these could be called an SUV of course. Both would have had to be ordered to get a five speed. So we settled on the Forester.

    The Forester was a car I had admired from afar for a long time. Actually the first test drive was before we had narrowed to three, early on in the looking. I personally did FOUR more test drives - three on the X that we wound up buying, and one on an XT. I didn't need the turbo, in fact our '06 (new by the way) Forester X has five big hp more than our naturally aspirated 2000 S70 Volvo, which has been fine - also with five speed.

    Why didn't SOMEBODY tell me I would LOVE this car??!?!?!! :-)

    I think I like every single thing about it - one exception see below - I love the size; I am six ft two and couldn't even reach the middle of the roof to wash it on one of those truck based SUV's. I love the quality. The transmission linkage is very good, not BMW quality but close enough. I have always preferred light steering cars, this has it as well as tight at center. Suspension is clearly better than a truck based ride. So........except for..........

    I HATE the Hill Holder. I might be able to live with it for the traffic lights on a hill deal, although I've been driving stick shift cars for 45 (!) years and pride myself on being to get a car moving in that situation. Problem is the darned thing works in reverse too. Our garage is flat, but just outside of it the driveway slopes down a little, and I am accustomed to getting the car moving till it starts down that little slope, then pushing in the clutch. This car stops when I do that, so I'm left with having to use the power of the engine to push against the brakes all the way down the hill. Unless I am missing something. I have tried to sorta blast out backwards, kick it in neutral before the brakes come on to stop it, THEN coast down in neutral. I don't care to have to perfect that maneuver over the life of this car. So.......

    Can the Hill Holder be disabled?

    Thanks for the help from this forum during my search for a car.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Member Posts: 1,640
    "This car stops when I do that"

    It should only stop if you put the brake on in the process. The clutch alone won't engage the hillholder, the brake needs to be activated first in order to seal the ball valve check in the master cylinder.

    I have learned not to activate hillholder when backing downhill in reverse. If you release the parking brake, start rolling, and do not apply the brake again, the Forester will not stop.

    The benefits of the HH, IMO, outweigh the constraints.

  • samiam_68samiam_68 Member Posts: 775
    Hill holder can be adjusted to be a lot less "grabby". Have your dealer do it - it's a free adjustment under 12/12 warranty. Or, you can search these threads to see how to do it yourself (fairly easy).
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    samiam_68 says Hill holder can be adjusted to be a lot less "grabby"

    Thanks. The salesman did say that it gets less grabby with time, right away. Having only had the car for 24 hours, I guess I need to calm down a LITTLE bit about this feature. It just seems annoying to deal with in so many situations (of backing, e.g.) where I really don't even get to use its benefit, but rather have to work around it.

    thanks for the info
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats, Kate just got her 2nd Forester, so you're in good company. :shades:

  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    thanks Juice, I recall you were helpful to me on this forum, over the last few weeks, with this decision. I liked it when I drove it home from the dealer, and it continues to grow on me.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    People still buy stick-shifts? :surprise:

    Goodness! Step confidently into the 21st Century! :shades:
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    People still buy stick-shifts? says terry92270

    Yep, it takes me back to the 19th century. Sittin' up thar on the stagecoach, ridin' shotgun maybe, nothin' but big sky ahead, lookin out for injuns while heppin' the cap'n by grabbin the brake lever when he says to. You got a real feel for your wagon when you do your own shiftin' :).

    The ladies seem to like it too, at least mine does - she will not have an automatic.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    LOL....glad you all have a sense of humor. ;)

    I appreciate a stick, like when I had the Viper, or another power car. Just have never found them more than a bother on low power ones, is all...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We have 3 cars in our fleet and all of them are manual transmissions. :shades:

    Though I will admit on one particular 10 hour trip from CT back to MD it was a bit painful and I did wish for an auto. For bumper-to-bumper traffic it's just easier.

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Well, exactly!
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    For any lurkers out there thinking about moving into the Forester, I thought I'd summarize my impressions so far.

    I really love the following:
    Overall size of the car - kinda small but holds plenty of stuff
    Steering - very light, incredibly quick and sensitive - better than our BMW 3 series
    Driver's power seat (we have the base x model but with the Premium upgrade)
    Styling is to my liking
    Headlight power is very good at night
    Interior look and quality - wish I could have gotten leather w/o turbo
    Manual transmission shifting feel - EXCELLENT, solid, reliable, easy shifting
  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    Accidentally sent message before I was finished

    Continued, 'what I love' list

    Quality of accessories: the bra for the hood and front end is a really good design,
    it fits very tight, almost too tight to easily install, no wrinkles, stable in wind, covers a lot of the car. I also like the rear rubber mat that I purchased from
    Subaru. Again, an excellent fit, high quality.
    MPG is not exceptional, but I am satisfied. It regularly gets 23 in town, 29 highway. I'm easy on the throttle.

    I don't care for the following:
    Hill holder feature. It would be mighty nice to have a switch on the dash to
    enable/disable the Hill holder.
    I am seeing the jerkiness near zero throttle, while in motion, that has been
    mentioned in another post or two.

    Really can't think of anything else that turns me off about the car. Really glad we purchased it. Also looked at Pontiac Vibe, Volvo V50, Mazda Sportwagon, '06 Outlander, Honda Element (close second to the Forester during test drives but am glad we went with the Sube). I will definitely consider purchasing another Subaru next time, if our experiences hold.
  • growler5growler5 Member Posts: 67
    Glad to hear you're pleased :) with the Subie F.

    Hillholder - can be adjusted so that it is activated only when you're truly facing an uphill rollback situation. Try a Google on something like "hillholder Forester". I found a posting (Subiemods and Peety also come to mind as keywords) with pictures that 'splained the adjustment process.

    When I first got my FXS, I found this feature to be a pain until I did my homework, held my breath and fixed it with a pair of metric wrenches. I suspect the hillholder is why I had trouble with my initial test drives in a Forester. The hillholder wasn't adjusted properly in the demo car, so I kept stalling the Subie when taking off from a dead stop on the slightest inclines.

    Jerkiness at zero throttle. Other makes of cars with stick shifts have this to some degree, some worse than others. The car that I replaced with the FXS (a BMW 525i) was a pain in stop'n'go in hot weather. After 10 minutes of bumper-bumper, it would develop a really bad case of the judders that would homogenize your innards.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Your post makes me want a new one and my '98 is still running perfectly. ;)

  • kate5000kate5000 Member Posts: 1,271
    They still are giving them 06 X's away at huge discounts...

    You can always justify it by saying that you want to break it in for Tati to drive later on... ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I want to see the '08 'beca, and maybe even the '09 Forester. The current ones are such a deal, though.

    It really depends on whether my brother pays me back or not, he said he would. I know, don't hold my breath! :sick:

  • applejfapplejf Member Posts: 40
    growler5 posted:
    When I first got my FXS, I found this feature to be a pain until I did my homework, held my breath and fixed it with a pair of metric wrenches. I suspect the hillholder is why I had trouble with my initial test drives in a Forester. The hillholder wasn't adjusted properly in the demo car, so I kept stalling the Subie when taking off from a dead stop on the slightest inclines.

    Thanks for the ideas. I have asked the local dealer's main Subaru service guy about having it adjusted (not during an appointment, just stopped in to get a feel for their service dept.). He popped the hood and expressed surprise when he looked at the device - it apparently has been redesigned, maybe only for the 2006 version; for sure since he last looked at one. I am about to get to where I can live with it. The only time in the last month when it bothered me was this week, backing out of a very tight space where I had to see-saw the direction about three times, and it was on an incline. On mine anyway, the clutch has to come ALL the way out before the HH will release, and I didn't have the room on that seesawing to let it all the way out without risking plowing into another car. I really do think an enable/disable switch somewhere is needed.
  • logtraillogtrail Member Posts: 74
    My previous Forester was a 1999S which had lots of problems during the first two years relating to stalling.
    When I bought the new one had a similar problem during the first month, but after repair car has been running like a top. Now has about 9000 miles.
    This car feels much bigger and much more solid than the 1999 even though dimensions are similar. And the increased horsepower is great. I can cruise at 80mph with no sense that the car is at its limit. The 1999 brakes felt a bit
    soft. Not so on the 2006. And while the 1999 had a twitchy
    acceleration from stop, the new one is as smooth as can be.
    Interior is nice. Fantastic, huge sunroof, and sunroof comes with a pop up wind deflector that makes it much quieter than the 1999. The LLBean has leather seats and a nice wood/leather steering wheel.
    So I am very happy with this car.
    Any suggestions for improvement. Minor. The switches for the interior lights and the sun roof are in the same location and have the same shape. Different design for one or the other or a lighted switch would help. And I would like a bit more thigh support (eg. longer seat) but I have found that since my 1970 volvo most cars do not have what I want here.
    And the color. It is a light green. I don't see many this color. Beautiful and does not show the dirt.
    This is my wife's car and she loves it.

    Paul D
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Paul, I so agree.

    My only regret is not getting the LL Bean one for the leather seats. :cry:
  • kenflorencekenflorence Member Posts: 2
    My wife and I bought a 2006 Forester a couple of months ago. I appreciated the $2000 cash back. I looked around quite a bit: items of interest included the RAV4 (new one is very ugly and I disliked the dashboard) and 2006 CR-V (which I liked a lot). Went in to buy a CRV a couple of times, but salesman friend was busy each time. Somehow or other, became interested in the Forester. We are very pleased with it. It is compact, yet rides very well. It runs smoothly (the least expensive model with an automatic) and has adequate pep for us (senior citizens). We find it quite comfortable, and I like the front seat legroom. We headed out on the road at 550 miles on the odometer. The tank was full. We got 31+ mpg on this first highway tank. The next gave us just over 32 mpg. We were quite surprised--and feel that that is excellent mileage. I checked a tank the other day in which we did more highway than intown (urban) driving and averaged up toward 30. Everything works smoothly and the car is a genuine pleasure to drive. I wish I had the money to buy another one. I got a Chase Subaru credit card and already have my first $100 certificate. I suspect that we will be able to pay for all of the service through these certificates. I have owned cars from many manufacturers. I like this one as well as any that I've had. By the time I've had it awhile, I wouldn't be surprised to like it better than any. I'm glad that we bought it. Ken
  • kavoomkavoom Member Posts: 181
    I wasn't intending to do it but now have a new 07 white X with the Premium Package(manual transmission)in the driveway. I loved my 04 in the dark green and am getting used to the white.

    I received the gauranteed trade in thing from Subaru (traded in my 04 Forester X) and they basically made me a deal I couldn't refuse almost coming out even on my 04. IT really is a deal...particularly if you are at the max miles to be eligible as I was.

    I am definitely noticing subtle differences between the two. The suspension and handling are different. IT looks like a subtle retuning. The rear end is not quite as tight as the 04 and the steering is not quite the same... I noted this on another board, but with the new looks (06) and the items I am noticing, it appears they were appealing to "soccer moms"

    I am not saying the difference is good or bad...just different. And I doubt most people would even notice. I will have to say that all the goodies in the premium package are nice. I love that sunroof. And I like all the safety items that plain X doesn't have e.g. four wheel disc, limited slip rear differential and I guess they all have the electronic force distribution brakes.

    Braking is improved as it the take off. The fly by wire throttle and perhaps the extra 8 horsepower over my old 04 must be behind that.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats to both of you, I'm a bit envious. Mine's over 9 years old and I just crossed 90k miles the other night...

  • safetymindedsafetyminded Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know whether stability control has been added as an option to the Forester recently. Insurance Institute gave top ratings for a Forester so equipped, but it is not listed as an available option on the Edmunds site.
    I purchased a 2006 because of top safety ratings -- strong passenger cage, side airbags -- and would have added stability control had it been available.
    Would also like to see Subaru upgrade to automatic 5-speed transmission.
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Subaru's term for it is VDC, which for the Forester is only available in the XT Sport, which is an automatic with VTD as well. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    5 speed and SportShift while we're asking for it.

  • solowalkersolowalker Member Posts: 118
    I just saw a new Forester on the road with this color... :surprise:

    ...I did not see this color selection offered on any other sites for new Subies....Are my eyes going bad or are they just starting to supply this color for the new Forester?

    ...It's the same light green color that is offered on the Impreza wagon...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Haven't seen it yet, maybe it's new for '07?

  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    He's talking about Evergreen Metallic/Urban Grey Metallic combo. ;)
  • bayarea_s40bayarea_s40 Member Posts: 19
    I am about to order a stick-shift Forester XT 2.5 with what Subaru calls the "Sports Package", which, my dealer tells me, is the only way to get VDC on a Forester. He also tells me it is definitely available with stick-shift, not just in an automatic.

    The dealer just got their first automatic XT Sport on the lot, so I took a look. The package consists of a) VDC, b) cloth seats (4-way manual adjust), and c) a redesigned grille. With this, the total price actually drops by almost $1000, due principally to elimination of leather/electric seats. Why Subaru would configure a VDC-enabled XT only in this manner isn't at all clear to me.

    More after I take delivery...
  • solowalkersolowalker Member Posts: 118
    Yes, Evergreen Metallic is available on the '07 Forester L.L.Bean edition "only"....
    It's a beautiful color with the Urban grey combo...and beige interior...
  • logtraillogtrail Member Posts: 74
    My 2006 Forester LLBean is an Evergreen Metallic. Very nice color and does not show the dirt.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I seem to recall that VDC was with the automatic only. Make sure you find out before you order it, if that's a deal breaker.

  • fyrecherdofyrecherdo Member Posts: 7
    I bought my red 07 xt at the end of October and am crazy about the car. I've never had a 4 wheel drive car and had to get used to the feel of the traction difference. The wagon is a freakin' missile. I had two of my fireman buddies with me (while on duty...) stepped on it and the front end came up! (not off the ground but it has been a long time since I had driven a car that acted like that) The power-to-weight ratio must be the best possible scenerio because it seems to compliment itself... I am glad I bought it and am becoming a bonified subie. I love the feel of the Boxer design. :P
  • terry92270terry92270 Member Posts: 1,247
    Welcome to the family! :)
  • bayarea_s40bayarea_s40 Member Posts: 19
    It's definitely stick-shift and will be delivered next week. Can't wait! :)
  • driver56driver56 Member Posts: 408
    That is what I read also. Automatic with VDC. It would only make sense to include stability control with both transmissions. I read also that the Sport has been lowered a tad. And is also offered with fewer color choices. Right?
    I don't know if this model will be available in Canada. Anyone?
  • kavoomkavoom Member Posts: 181
    I thought the XT sport irrespective of tranny came with them??? Or are they only autos...
  • fyrecherdofyrecherdo Member Posts: 7
    Thanks Terry, hey, would anyone out there be familiar with the installation process of the turbo boost gauge for the xt? I bought the gauge, the instructions look straightforward but have not attempted the install yet. Thanks for any info.
  • rebecca8rebecca8 Member Posts: 2
    While my Forester is an '03, I had to post my experience driving home yesterday. I have an automatic (couldn't get the leather/moonroof et. al. and manual in '03), the highway was packed with deep snow over ice, loads of traffic creeping very slowly, cars slipping and sliding Forester was AWESOME. :) I dropped it into lower gears several times to motor up an incline or plow around a stuck car/ handled amazingly. I can't speak highly enough about its handling and maneuverability in such challenging conditions. I'm convinced the AWD made the difference. I take it into the mountains a ton, but have never had to navigate through road conditions like yesterday. I took my time shopping and researching before I bought my Forester. I made the right choice!
  • bayarea_s40bayarea_s40 Member Posts: 19
    Got to eat a little crow here, but it's not all my faut!. You people are so darn smart! Two dealers near me swore that VDC was available on both stick and automatics XT Sports, so I ordered the stick. It's still in my garage, but going back to the dealer 'cause I really want VDC. It wasn't until I took delivery and read the sticker sheet that I questioned the dealer about not seeing VDC on the sticker. They literally didn't know themselves much about the Sports. The stick version they delivered was the first Sports Model on their lot. They had to check with their Sub rep to get the lowdown. Talk about bleeding edge! Anyway, I am excited about this vehicle. It's appearance is just different enought to get second glances from passers-by (plus I got the color I want: solid black). We still have our '99 Forester(115,000 mi), and I'm eager to discover the differences in driving the new creature. :shades:
  • desiputradesiputra Member Posts: 6
    I am finding it very difficult to decide between a Forester and the CRV. I have read that the AWD system in the Forester is far superior to that in the CRV............. but, with the CRV, options like 'Stability Control', 'Traction Control' and 'Brake Assist' are all standerd even in the base LX models.
    So, which is safer (base models ) and a better choice..?? Very difficult decision for me...........could somebody help......please..!!
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    The main reason Subie AWDs are consider superior is that they are full-time "proactive" systems. The vehicle has some power being sent to all four wheels—all the time. The CRV, on the other hand, uses an on-demand "reactive" AWD system. That means the CRV's front wheels have to start spinning before any power is sent to the rear wheels.

    The CRV also sometimes has difficulty determining when to send power to the rear on marginal surfaces such as somewhat slippery surfaces or driving in soft sand on the beach.

    I can't speak to the other items you mentioned in terms of "canceling" out the negatives of the CRV system. The new '07 CRV is much nicer inside from what I can see. Unfortunately a full-size spare tire is no longer available. I also don't like the new tapering rear-quarter window, as that cuts down on rear visibility.

    I haven't driven the new CRV, but my daughter has an '04 CRV, and we have an '01 Forester. The Forester handles better and is more fun to drive, but the CRV is much roomier, both for passengers and cargo.

    I think you would be happy with either. You just need to decide what's most important for you. I think the CRV is more practical and probably more useful on a day-to-day basis. However, it may not put as many grins on your face while driving as the Forester would.

  • fitbetfitbet Member Posts: 2
    Well, my Forester turned the 100,000 mile mark- absolutely no maintenence problems in the 5 years I've had her( and my car was hit head on by a larger vehicle 6 months after I bought it-my Subie saved my life and the life of my 6 year old son ,got the car repaired and it continued to drive like a charm)) I was faced this January with a decision-buy a new car?-I decided to look around and after examining Toyota, Honda,even Lexus I bought a 2007 Forester.I have loved driving the Forester so much that I knew I would miss the handling.There is nothing that drives like the Subaru on our mountain and I am really happy about the improvements in the 2007 model.I was able to purchase my car(X with premium and some extra's) for 15,450(transfer,taxes,etc. included) after my trade -in! I used the savings on my purchase to install a killer stero/nav system.
  • bayarea_s40bayarea_s40 Member Posts: 19
    I've got about 1000 mi now, and overall I am very pleased. It is a kick to drive, almost as much fun as our Volvo S40 T5 (but it's a stick-shift), and it is lights years more fun than our '99 Forester. I'm gonna start checking the mpg. I do a lot of freeway commuting, so I'm expecting it to be good.

    Two complaints:
    1) Wish I didn't have to pay extra for the crossbars
    2) There is a bothersome vibration in the driver's door speaker (not sure about the other door). Would like to know if it's tinny speakers or a repairable problem.

    Oh, and unlike some, I like the appearance of of the front end. It's different, and it double-take stares.
  • terrys5terrys5 Member Posts: 3
    Hi all -- I have a 2003 forester 2.5X auto -- and love it -- always had Range Rovers -- but due to fuel prices increasing have been forced to move to something with a few more litre's per K's -- and a bonus -- its just terrific to drive -- can not stay away from behind the wheel -- now the Question -- does the forester have a air conditioning filter -- if so where is it??
    regards terry.b
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    The good news -- it does have an AC filter.

    The bad news -- it's behind the glove box, and getting to it isn't exactly easy (note: I am a very infrequent and unskilled "mechanic". I'm sure others here will say it's not that hard a job.)

    Here's the other thing -- I had an 04 base Forester, and I know that that air filter wasn't standard equipment for that trim. A lot of dealers installed them as a default option, but mine didn't. So if the same was true in 03, you might not even have one in there right now. But it's a very easy part to get, and it comes with fairly straightforward installation instructions.
  • terrys5terrys5 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for that Smithy- re: air condition filter - as its getting a bit smelly cars done 120.000 k's --
    Can i get a copy of aowners service mnul that come standard off the web - it just shows you the satndard things that the car has or how they work
  • p0926p0926 Member Posts: 4,423
    If you buy a new cabin filter from Subaru (and you probably don't have a choice), the filter will come with directions on how to change it. You basically have to take out about 8 screws that hold the glove compartment in place.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    It's different on my '98 model, but sadly I've had trouble finding replacement filters for my odd ball model year. :(

This discussion has been closed.