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Buying 04 Forester XT;performance Question;

brianalexbrianalex Posts: 9
edited August 2014 in Subaru
A customer of mine is selling his 2004 Forester XT so I went to test
drive it today and was very disappointed in the power.It felt like the
regular Forester I drove at the dealer. Going up a hill at about 25 in
Drive I punched it and it slowly sped up to 35.No excitement AT ALL
and I was expecting neck snapping performance. The reviews said 0-60
in 5.3 seconds.

>>So I took it up another longer hill and tried it again.After about a 2-3 second lag some power did come on but still nothing great.I announced my dissatisfaction and he said he downshifts to 3d when he needs real acceleration so I tried that and after a long time,maybe 4-5 seconds,I finally started feeling some real power,but by then it was time to shut down.

Does this sound normal? Does this suggest to any of you a problem
that could be easily fixed or should I just pass on the car? He is a
great guy and has taken very good care of it and kept all records.
Much thanks.-Brian

Oh,It's an auto transmission (4spd?).


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    5.3s was the for the manual, which is much quicker than the auto, but even the auto was clocked in the low 6 second range.

    You felt some tranny hesitation but my guess is his tank was not using premium fuel, and not making peak power. Something is off. Even the auto feels at least quick.

    If you want neck-snapping, get the manual.
  • brianalexbrianalex Posts: 9
    Thanks a lot for the input. I really have the "hots" for this car and love is blind but I really was disappointed.I'd gladly settle for low 6 second range. It sort of seemed that it was not down-shifting right.When I actually got it into the middle RPMs (?) it started to really take off,but by then we were going too fast for the conditions. Anyway I have decided to test drive a new one and then go back and spend some more time with it,alone.It is an absolute "cream puff".BrianAlex
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The trans does have adaptive logic, i.e. it would try to "learn" your driving style, but if it's that far from what you want, I'd look elsewhere.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    If the current owner never drove "spiritedly" then that could explain why the adaptive logic might have retarded down-shifting and acceleration. Doesn't disconnecting the battery reset the adaptive logic to the factory defaults?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yep. Gas mileage will be lousy for the first tank but that's the only other side effect I know of.
  • brianalexbrianalex Posts: 9
    Great.That's the info I needed.I imagine he'll lose his pre-sets etc.too but if he really wants to sell, it shouldn't be a biggie.Much Thanks-Brian
  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    As noted, something isn't right. A lot of people say the 04 is the best of the lot as it has an STi engine vs WRX after that. So, at the core it is OK, but that "no power" thing isn't good. I hope that person didn't run it on regular gas as that isn't good for the engine. Perhaps there is a turbo problem?
  • brianalexbrianalex Posts: 9
    He did mention that he has run it on mid-grade (89 oct around here)but that the mileage suffers so there is no gain in doing so. I'll try it again and see if it performs OK when the transmission is manually selected in the lower ranges.The turbo DOES kick in nicely when you finally hit about 40-45 but by then I had to shut down on the little road we were on.Thx.Brianalex
    p.s.Interesting about the STi motor,I didn't know that.
  • jef123jef123 Posts: 3
    Dont do it period! I have owned one since o5, and been through two turbos and engine rebuild. Find a regular 2.5 eng. model. Around town car drives great, it should have great performance at any speed, normally. I love the way it drives, but it is not reliable on trips. Four strikes and I am out. But if you still want one, come get it, I will give you a great deal!!!!
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Your advice is about 30 months too late :P

    Or were you just generally warning potential owners away from getting a used XT? In which case there needs to be some perspective. My 04 XT just turned 6 years old and I haven't had to fix a thing.

  • I decided against buying it anyway.
    I looked hard and long at buying different Subarus but in the end, I wasn't convinced that the reliability,at least in the used examples I was interested in,was up to par with some other Japanese brands.This and the performance level of the naturally aspirated models ultimately turned me away. Plus I don't need AWD in Los Angeles and I don't travel to snowy areas and was concerned about the liability of this complex system and the MPG effect as well.\ thx for all the replies. BrianAlex
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thanks for reporting back. Good luck with whatever you end up purchasing.
  • FWIW,
    Our 04 XT auto is approaching 100K miles. I do the oil, filters, fluids, tires , battery (5 years!) and bulbs; the dealer does the major service intervals. ZERO repairs required.

    It still runs like a cheetah when you hit the gas. Biggest problem: my wife loves the car! The visibility, the pick-up in town and in the mountains, the cargo room, the giant sunroof. Its been her primary driver since it was 6 months old .
This discussion has been closed.