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2009 Subaru Forester



  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Local dealer has one '09 which they can get from another local dealer; car is close enough to what I am looking for but has some stuff I don't need.

    However, does it make sense to wait two months (the amount of time it takes to order an '09 forester from Subaru, I was told) ?

    These ones here are the first run, I assume. And I well remember what has happened to other first run cars I have owned (on my '04 Maxx, I missed several key safety improvements by a month - none were retrofittable). Waiting a couple of months gives Subaru some time to make some tweaks.

    On other hand we have raging commodity and oil price hikes going on, which sooner or later Subaru is going to pass on to us as form of price increase.

    Buy or wait ?? :confuse:
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    In the past we have seen them bump up the destination fee a little to cover rising costs, but no way they'll raise the price in the next few months. You could wait a couple months & see if they offer a $500 rebate by then, but I don't think they'll offer any rebates for at least 6 months, and I think Forester will be well received enough that it may not require rebates at all the first year. (Though the non-WRX Imprezas have been selling at a brisk pace and Subaru still brought a $500 rebate for those.) As far as ordering from the first batch - mechanicals and chassis are already proven, interior's essentially a carry-over from Impreza, they've got the safety thing nailed. Give it a good once-over for body panel alignment and interior fit. Tranny is the only thing I could see them changing mid-year (if they determine that's really holding back sales), but it sounded like the 4-spd drove well for you, so probably not an issue. Subaru probably hopes to keep using the 4-spd AT rather than 5-spd AT until their CVT is ready.

    If it were me, and I wasn't in a rush but wanted to own a new Forester sometime before mid-summer, I'd place my order now to get one just how I want it. Only reason I'd wait would be to have the All-Weather Package (avail. in June) if I were getting a Premium.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    what's in the all weather package, jeffmc? If it's better defrosters and stuff, then yes, I will wait. I can use those here in Portland.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    Well, that's not a fair comparison though..2006 CR-V is not the current generation, there was a new vehicle for 2007 that is substantially more polished. You have to compare that car to the previous gen Forester.

    I don't know which one is better between the 2008 Honda and the 2009 Subaru. I stand by my observation on the interior, though.
  • tkaytkay Posts: 99
    You are right on the 06.But I made a mistake in saying it was an 06. It is an 07 get confused with 09 coming out in early 09. Seemed like my CR-V was older, but one thing that I dislike is how the rear seats fold up,takes away room that I need. But the CR-V is a great vehicle, and Forester new design,longer wider seems to help the ride. Tuff Call!!!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Comparisons to the CR-V are inevitable. That and the RAV4 will probably be cross-shopped most often.

    I did notice some cost cutting, like the mouse fur headliner, the plasticky sun visors, and thin carpeting on the 09 Forester I test drove. For the most part, though, that's par for this class.

    Also, I wonder if the LL Bean and XT Limited models will get some upgrades in that regard? I've seen pre-production models that indeed had different materials in those places.

    So as far as interior material quality, just because you've seen one model, don't assume that all are the same. Check out the specific model you are shopping for.

    I'll have to check out the CR-V again to compare the interior. I doubt it hurts that they use the platform for the RD-X, but then again, the CR-V is a de-contented RD-X, if you look at it that way.

    One pet peeve I have with Hondas is the dead pedal - or more precisely the lack thereof. Does the new CR-V have one? The old one didn't, nor did the Odyssey IIRC.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    I don't remember any dead pedal being in the '08 CRV I drove.

    As for interiors, the '08 CRV seems a little more refined than the'09 ForesterXT, and a __lot__ more refined than the '08 Forester.

    As for responsiveness while driving, both '08 CRV and '09 Forester XT responded quickly to accelerator input (the CRV shifted more quickly), but the "09 Forester, while it didn't make a fuss about it, accelerated very quickly as well.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's almost an entirely different seating position for some Hondas. You sit like you would on top of a bar stool, with your feet pointing down.

    On most Subarus your feet are out in front of you. I guess a dead pedal is more necessary.

    Still, my Toyota van has a Honda style seating position (very upright) yet it still offers a nice dead pedal.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Subaru's all weather package (AWP) consists of heated side mirrors, heated seats and heating element in the windshield.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Subaru CAN'T get the climate control right. Even in 2008, it's still crappy. You're better off without it.

    The version in my 92 SVX worked flawlessly
    The version in my 05 LGT works flawlessly
    Never had a problem with the HVAC in any of my other subies either:
    94 Legacy Turbo (Took out the AC when we converted it to a race car last year)
    96 Impreza L (Took out the AC when that was converted to a race car about 6 years ago)
    88 XT6 (Working when sold at 150k miles)
    91 XT6 (Working when sold at 135k miles)
    97 Legacy L (Working when sold at 120k miles)

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I'm not a fan of automatic climate controls, probably because I hate it when the fan is on full blast (too noisy) which seems to occur often with those systems. In any case, I'm perfectly happy manually operating the climate controls :P

  • Does Navigation have rear view camera function?

    I am considering Honda CRV & Forester.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm not a fan of automatic climate controls, probably because I hate it when the fan is on full blast (too noisy) which seems to occur often with those systems. In any case, I'm perfectly happy manually operating the climate controls


    Roll up windows too?
    Rear Drum Brakes?
    Automatic Transmissions?
    CD/Tape/MP3 Players?

    Hee Hee, automatic climate control is coming and will eventually be as common as Air Conditioning in cars....

    Heck the nice thing about the subies is you can manual control the automatic settings so it's not really an issue.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Roll up windows too?
    Rear Drum Brakes?
    Automatic Transmissions?
    CD/Tape/MP3 Players?

    Apples and oranges for the most part... except for automatic transmissions. And of course I insist on only driving manual transmissions :P

    Heck the nice thing about the subies is you can manual control the automatic settings so it's not really an issue.

    Which is exactly what I do ;)

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Why not roll up windows? That's even an HVAC issue :) And heck the switches and motors are more likely to break than a crank up window!


    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    ..compared to the Forester, that is...

    Wrt turbos, the Forester turbo seems quicker _and_ gets better (or at worst the same) fuel economy.
    It has VDC and most of the other features of the Outback Turbo.
    It has auto climate, power seat,etc.
    It has more passenger room.

    So I wonder what the remaining selling points of the Outback are? All I can think of is nicer interior and different styling.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    At first glance it doesn't seem like much, but then it starts to add up... if you're comparing XT Ltd models, in addition to your points Outback has longer cargo area, engine temp gauge, SI Drive, 5-spd AT, availability of manual tranny, turn signal mirrors, power passenger seat, aluminum sill plate covers for all 4 doors & the hatch, halogen projector headlights, greater tow rating, rear LSD, and woodgrain trim (though that feature could be a negative just as easily).
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  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Good points, and at least where I am shopping, the Outback XT is selling for about a grand more than the Forester XT. Not much difference in cost.

    other differences (comments?):

    Framed glass in Forester, open glass in Outback
    A bit more room around the Accelerator pedal in Outback than Forester
    Cleaner underside on Forester than Outback.
    No tail-happy handling on Forester .vs. Outback
    Different front seats and seat padding (I'm not sure where the Forester Power seat came from - it seems pretty comfy, possibly better than Outback's).

    As you mentioned, Outback has SI controls (Japanese Foresters apparently have this too). But not sure what benefit it is... SI either neuters the car (why does intelligent mode __cut__ maximum power rather than just roll off response?), or makes it hair-trigger (Sport Sharp). And yes Outback headlights are projectors, but their sharp cutoff is annoying rather than helpful.

    Not an easy choice, but for me, decider will be if Outback proves less responsive than the Forester (by responsiveness, I mean the drive system responding to the driver's input (pressing accelerator, shifting trans)) then the Forester will win out.
    I don't want the car taking a while to make up its mind when I have to pass somebody!

    Would be really nice if some folks from Subaru would join in the chat. I saw the last chat like that's dated around 2002 - a long time ago.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I asked, and nope. A mistake IMO.

    Even though rear visibility is excellent, i.e. the low rear window line lets you see everything in traffic, it would still be good to have a backup cam to help me line up a trailer, for instance.

    Not 100% necessary, but it would be nice, and it cannot cost more than $100. That's what they're sold for when sold seperately.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The OB also has the twin moonroofs, while the Forester has the single big one. I prefer the latter, though.

    Some people may want a vehicle that is lower to the ground. The Forester is a lot taller now.

    Keep in mind the 2010 Outback is likely to grow. I expect it to be as big as the Tribeca, then the new Tribeca will get even bigger.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Also some folks "won't be caught dead in an SUV" so those folks might want the OB over the forester.

  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    a Premium Package tonight.

    I'm just not impressed for a 25k 'upmarket' vehicle. No leather wrap steering wheel or shifter! Seriously! No more power drivers seat. No more fog lamps.

    They REALLY decontented this thing. I would have rather not seen a price cut, because the features I mentioned, in addition to the deletion of climate control, are not available as have to get the LL Bean which is really TOO upmarket for a lot of people budget wise.

    I think Subaru really dropped the ball here in terms of packaging. The vehicle itself is impressive, the safety feature additions are neccessary, but if you currently have, say, a 2.5x Premium, and you want to trade it in for the same thing in a 2009, you now are losing quite a few features over what you have. That's not a winning equation for Subaru, especially because historically people just haven't wanted to pay extra just for safety, even though they should.
  • How much does that filter cost? How about the oil? It must be expensive?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    So I took two test drives tonight in the rain in Oregon City, one loop in the Outback XT and a repeat with the Forester XT.


    More interior room in the Forester and easier to get in and out of (banged my head on the roof sill on the Outback, and I'm only 5' 7"). Forester had ample toe and leg room in back while Outback had very little (I have short legs). However, Outback has a more intimate feel and gives a little more accelerator foot room.

    Interior fit and finish is nicer in the Outback. Carpet and trim seem of higher quality. However, Forester has much more storage space in center and doors.
    I also heard a few rattles in the Outback, but none in the Forester.

    On a near 45 degree soaking wet asphalt road hill, the Outback accelerated up the hill with no drama whatever. The Forester, however, went into a crazy dance on that same hill as all 4 wheels began skittering and clawing for traction - only when I let up on the throttle did it calm down.

    The Outback proved the quieter of the two on the road (far less road noise), and seemed to have a more supple ride. The Forester was harsher on small bumps but not uncomfortable - it also cornered flatter and its handling responses were sharper.

    In Sport Sharp mode the Outback throttle response had touchy tip in but it wasn't all that much more responsive than in Sport mode. Both Outback and Forester had "two stage" acceleration (initial followed by turbo surge) - Outback's was far more obvious and came later in the rev range.

    I like the Foresters responsiveness and greater practicality, but the skittering on the hill is very worrysome. My __guess__ is the Forester, being 80% FWD balanced, lost front wheel traction on the hill and then went into a frenzy trying to either brake the spinning front wheels and send power to the rear wheels. The Outback, being 55% RWD balanced, was perfectly set up for that situation.

    Any comments are welcomed as I plan to decide tomorow (trade in was very reasonable and the sales staff is forthright).

  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Did you note whether VDC was turned on or off on each? It might be interesting to try the same incline test in the Forester with the VDC set the opposite of whichever way you tried tonight. Those reviews from the Catalina Island press days seemed to indicate pretty good offroadability from the new Forester, so I'm a bit surprised it would act like that. Is it possible the OB's tires were "warmed up" a bit more?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    wrt VDC, not sure. I suspect it was on (default mode) as I did not change any switches for that during the drive.

    I suspect on soft road surfaces the "skittering" would not be as noticeable.
    I was on hard, wet asphalt. Both cars were "cold tired" (engines were warmed up, though) when they tackled the hill.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think $25k MSRP is "upmarket", in fact isn't the average transaction near $28 grand nowadays? That's still a below-average priced vehicle. Edmunds' RAV4 cost $33.7k, for reference. A few other small SUVs break the $30k barrier, and I'm talking from mainstream brands.

    The AWP option arrives in June, it's just sold seperately now.

    The Premium model is what I would call value priced. The base X is the price leader. The LL Bean is upmarket.

    Good points about the dropped features, I noticed the plastic steering wheel, too, though I want the LL Bean, which has it. Just keep in mind they added a more sophisticated rear suspension, Sportshift, windows frames, VDC, and side curtain air bags. Those are expensive additions.

    Perhaps it did not bother me because I'm looking at an LL Bean. By the way, with VIP pricing it's right around that $25 grand price you mentioned.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would guess that the tire choice for the Forester was another factor in that scenario. Maybe even tire pressure.

    I didn't notice, but what tires are mounted? In the past they've used SUV tires that definitely aren't as sporty as what's used on the Outback.

    You noticed the lack of body roll, too. That impressed me also.

    The Outback's AWD system is superior, push come to shove, plus the better tires are what you probably noticed.

    I think the Forester would shine if you had tested it on a hilly, gravel road, where the angles of approach and departure are better than the Outback's. Maybe climing a dirt hill, too, with the all terrain tires.

    Tough call. If you stay on pavement you could get pavement-oriented tires for the Forester when it's time to replace the OE ones. My guess is that would nearly level the playing field.

    Do you like sitting up high? In my van I can see traffic up ahead. In my Miata I can actually see the underside of most cars, so I can check out rear suspensions and rear differentials (if present). :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Cool, my buddy over there just e-mailed me to say they got their first Bean in stock. Not the exact color we want, but I may go check it out to note the interior differences, and maybe check out what tires it has now that Kurt brought it up.

    Perfect timing. :shades:
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