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2009 Subaru Forester



  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Wrt 0-60, Can't tell as there is no test track handy, and mine's in break-in period for another 750 miles, during which Subaru frowns on over 4000 rpm during that time.

    However, other than a bit of sag between initial throttle response and followup turbo response (one review called the engine's power delivery "patchy"), it seems peppy. It also doesn't attract a lot of attention to itself when accelerating (no torque steer, no squealing tires - it just goes).
  • jdc47jdc47 Posts: 4
    In looking at the dealers inventory in Western PA, I have found only two 09 XT Limited, no regular XTs. The LL Beans seem to be somewhat more available, but most 09s showing up in inventory are either plain Xs or Xs with the Premium package, is this a reflection of what is available nationwide, or just a temporary blip in the supply line since it is a new model?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    According to one major Subaru dealer in Washington ( , only 3% of all Foresters will be XT's while 6% will be XT Limiteds; 9% of Forester inventory total.
    At Lithia Subaru, they had two turbos, both of which were gone in a matter of days. Mine had to be dealer-traded in from Salem.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If anything the Forester seemed a bit quieter than either the CRV or the RAV4 I drove in comparisons.

    My impression is exactly the opposite. The RAV4 and CRV are both much quieter than the Forester at highway speeds. Let me say my Forester. Because I may have a noisy one. Either way the CRV I took on the roadtrip, ok this may be a quiet CRV compared to some others, there was virtually no road or wind noise. Different impressions I guess.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wifey collects speeding tickets like some people collect stamps. :sick:

    She doesn't really want the turbo, nor do I want her to have it! :D
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    If I spent most of my time in Montgomery County, with all their new speed cameras, I'd worry too. It sounds like we may be getting them here too. That's when I trade the WRX for a bike (without an engine, that is). :)

    Seriously, you can speed just as easily in an LL Bean as with the XT. I just found the power delivery to be much more enjoyable. The real advantage is passing power on the highway, as that's a real weak spot on the non-turbo H4s.

    If you're dead set against the XT—don't test drive one...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Oh, I know, trust me! That's what I said after sampling the original XT models.

    For our purposes, we'll be taking the minivan on the out-of-town trips, and I can't remember the last time she passed someone on a one-lane road.

    This area is pretty flat, so I don't see any major hills as a reason to need the extra power.

    I also don't envision heavy payloads for her needs. I can't remember the last time we really loaded up her Legacy. Maybe once or twice in the 6 years we've owned it.

    This will mostly be her commuter, for a traffic-heavy beltway. Speeds rarely exceed 65.

    I drove the normally aspirated engine and it didn't feel sluggish at all, so you're right, we probably won't drive the XT, and never miss the abundant power.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Juice- Okay so to play the devil's advocate... why exactly does she need a Forester? You've got the minivan for trips and hauling big loads and I'd think a compact sedan would be a better option for commuting :confuse:

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Fair enough, let's play...

    She uses it for Costco runs, so it's easier to load those 15 packs of paper towels and seemingly 1.7 million rolls of TP. Commuting in beltway traffic. Car pooling 2-3 kids. Easy ingress/egress is critical. Must be kid friendly. Leather seats so she can wipe up spills. Automatic for the heavy traffic she gets nowadays.

    She doesn't want anything too small. I have shown her smaller vehicles like the Impreza sedan, and she said it felt small. Could not even get her to sit in a Fit or Versa. Too bad.

    We rented an 07 Accord in Florida late last year and while competent it just didn't make much of an impression. The trunk seemed small since she's used to a wagon.

    More recently I had a Pontiac G5 coupe rental and she found that car annoyingly small. It sat too low and was annoying to get in and out of. She found it cute but otherwise hated it.

    She did like a friend's Altima, the way it drove at least, but she said the seat felt too low and she couldn't see as well.

    Now, why not go bigger? Because she hates having to park a large vehicle. I drive the van. She doesn't even like having to pull it out of our driveway (down hill, slight angle, bush in the way).

    We prefer AWD, since it will be the only snow-bound vehicle in the fleet. The Miata is just plain dangerous in the snow. My FWD van struggles to climb my driveway with just 2" of the white stuff.

    She doesn't want another wagon. Been there, done that, perhaps. To be honest the Legacy is perfectly fine. Still under the Subaru Gold warranty for another year and 40k miles. We really could wait longer, hence no rush.

    Another factor: we have $1600 Subaru Bucks.

    That means we can splurge for an LL Bean model at a more basic price, about $23.4k once the VIP program starts.

    At the car show I tried to show her competitors. She didn't like the CR-V. Rogue: "ugly". Hey, it's her car, her perogative. She liked the RAV4 but when I pointed out the swing-gate door she called that layout "stupid" since it blocks curb side loading and requires a lot of space behind to open fully.

    We want good fuel economy so that sort of narrowed it down to Rogue, CR-V, Outlander, and Forester.

    I thought the Outlander was OK, but at that point she was tired of walking around the car show and wasn't even interested enough to sit inside of one.

    All imports?

    Well, the Ford Escape is ancient. The face-lift wasn't enough. The Edge is big, heavy, inefficient (fuel and space-wise) for our purposes.

    We test drove a Vue and found the seats uncomfy, plus fuel economy is poor.

    Dodge Journey looks interesting but she absolutely hated the minivan interior, "yuck" I think she said, so I wonder if the Journey is any better in that regard. Plus we don't need a 3rd row, and they're asking too much for it, at least right now.

    She liked the loaner Tribeca we had a while back, but I worry because it's bigger outside without being much bigger inside. The gas tank arises concerns about range, especially compared with the Forester.

    She doesn't want an Outback. I showed her one back in 2005. No sale. Too much like her Legacy, perhaps? Not sure.

    The funny thing is this time she's the one dismissing the competition. Last time I gave her gentle nudges towards a Subaru, this time it's her doing that.

    I doesn't hurt that I have good knowledge of Subaru, know how to service and repair them, have Subaru bucks, know Subaru wholesalers for parts, etc.

    Come to think of it, it was a bit of a pain to figure out a lot of stuff on our Toyota. Oil changes are a pain in the neck.

    That's the scenario now.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    outside the box, how about a Mazda 3-5.

    Not that I'm arguing against the Subie, but if you want to do due diligence, I'd put that on your list since it has both utility and fantastic driving dynamics (better than the dear Forester or any of its competition).

    Our Ody replaced a Chevrolet Malibu Maxx--we loved the utility and design of the vehicle but didn't love the actual vehicle. Mileage was low but it was out of warranty and starting to go south in the way that those quality GM products do. We originally shopped SUVs--Veracruz, Santa Fe, Tribeca, CX-9, Highlander...but you know what? Once you get past ego, as you know, a quality minivan is a far better vehicle for most applications than any of those--better fuel economy, driving characteristics, more room, etc.

    Anyway, we currently have a sedan (my TCH) and the Ody, and I'm really liking that setup--its nice to have a useful, utilitiarian vehicle like the Ody, but its also needs to have the superior ride and comfort of my Camry every day too. I really don't think I'd want to trade it for an SUV.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    One big ommision wrt the Mazda 3 in any form - no AWD.
    To get that, you'd have to go with the CX-7.

    One Advantage of CX-7 is its turbo can burn (but is not recomended for) regular gas.
    It's a larger vehicle, though, and its interior's pretty stern (Mazda loves black ).

    I did not consider Mazda as there were few dealers in Portland OR and those came up pretty bad on BBB, etc.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I've got a co-worker who has an Escape Hybrid which he's happy with. Okay so it's a Ford... but you can't beat the mpg!

  • db1db1 Posts: 3
    they're trying to sell the 09s for msrp out here in long island. where did you get your forester?
  • tntmythtntmyth Posts: 70
    The Mazda 3 is a nice small car with great mileage. Great handling. Good price. Looks better than any of it's competition. But I discovered a problem with it. Crash test results are poor for side impact and marginal for rear impact. Check out the crash test comparison for this size car:

    BTW, Subara Impreza is the Top Safety Pick for this class. Matter of fact just about all Subaru models won Top Safety Pick.
    The fact that the Mazda 3 had the poor rating for side impact worries me now that I know. It makes sense to me to buy a car with good crash test results. It could turn out to be one of the most important factors when buying a car.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Wrt some traction control questions (what happens if one side's on ice, other side on pavement) I asked, here is Subaru's response:

    "Turning off the VDC does turn off the Traction Control System. With the Vehicle Dynamics Control system deactivated, traction and stability enhancement offered by Vehicle Dynamics Control system is unavailable. Not all of our vehicles have the VDC feature, if 2 wheels are on ice and 2 are on dry pavement the AWD adjusts and transfers the power to the wheels on the dry pavement. "

    Another way to say it:
    The AWD figures out how to control side-side wheel slippage even if traction control is turned off.

    Ok, given there are no limited slip diffs in the car, I'm not sure it can _do_ that with traction control turned __off__. Or am I misunderstanding something there ??

    I'll just keep my Auto Socks handy. :blush:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    First off let me say I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. You guys are good friends and I can tell you're looking out for me. :shades:

    CX7? I've test driven them. I didn't like the interior much. I felt some turbo lag, too, though the event Mazda had set up was a tight track. I felt the same way about a turbo Volvo S40 - in a tight circuit the turbo boost kick in just when you reach the braking point.

    I think if I went on a 2nd test drive out on more open roads, I'd like it better. Complaints about fuel economy and reliability scare me, though. A neighbor friend has one and while he likes it, he complains that it guzzles gas.

    CX7 I would compare to the Forester XT, and maybe the smallish RD-X. Mazda is the only one that allows regular (a recent change), but still, it's a turbo, I'm sure it would be happier with premium. Around me premium costs an extra 30 cents/gallon, plus you sacrifice range as well.

    Nice choices, but not what we want.

    Mazda5? I test drove one and considered it before I bought my minivan. It actually drives nicely, nimble and light. Comfort falls flat, though. The arm rest between the seats is too low, I don't like the 2-seat middle row, and the 3rd row is just too small to be truly useful. EPA fuel ratings are poor for the amount of power, though I hear real-world MPG is not bad.

    Mazda offers a 3-seat middle row, AWD, and power sliding doors in Japan. Bring them over and I'll reconsider. Toss in armrests while you're at it.

    I like the Mazda3, and showed one to my wife when I went to look at a new Miata. She dismissed it as too small immediately. I don't think she even sat inside. Too bad. I really like them. You can even get NAV on those (the Mazda5 as well).

    Escape hybrid? Old design, plus high demand means pricing on one equipped like the LL Bean Forester would probably approach $30 grand. So that's $5 grand more, nearly $7 grand when I factor the Subaru Bucks.

    $7 grand buys lots of gas.

    Once you get past ego, as you know, a quality minivan is a far better vehicle for most applications than any of those--better fuel economy, driving characteristics, more room, etc.

    I agree 100% and we did exactly that - bought a Sienna.

    Now that our practical/space needs are met, we're shopping for a 2nd vehicle, keeping in mind that we have the van, too.

    CX9, Tribeca, and Outlook I test drove while shopping for the van. Those are too big for my wife's needs. More expensive, hard to park, use more fuel, less visibility, etc. Overkill, basically.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Actually, the service tech guys I talked to at Lithia say the Forester XT can also use regular fuel "in an emergency". However, two things happen:

    1. Timing is altered to prevent detonation.
    2. The "Check Engine" light may go on, and may require the dealer to reset it. Once they do, they will know you have used less than Premium gas.

    wrt size, I faced same problem wrt Outback. Forester proved shorter while actually having more useable passenger space than Outback.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have an ODBII Scanner, paid $99 IIRC. They can be had for as little as $80.

    Worth it, IMHO, because dealers charge that much for a single reset, and it can happen with something as small as a loose gas cap.

    I've used mine a couple of times on our cars, and to help a couple of friends.

    Anyone in the DC area who wants to borrow mine is more than welcome.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Escape hybrid? Old design, plus high demand means pricing on one equipped like the LL Bean Forester would probably approach $30 grand. So that's $5 grand more, nearly $7 grand when I factor the Subaru Bucks.

    Yeah it's gotten a lot of knocks for being an old design but I've ridden in my co-worker's several times and it seems decent enough. I was going to point out that you get a pretty hefty tax credit to help offset the price difference but then that would require you to actually pay taxes ;)

    $7 grand buys lots of gas.

    Yes but not nearly as much as it use to :(

    Juice- Obviously I'm a big fan of the Forester so I'm not trying to talk you out of one. I'm just making sure you're comfortable with your reasoning :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, my wife pays taxes (albeit in a low tax bracket), so she would still get some tax credit.

    I went to test drive a Mercury Milan a while back (competent but very anonymous). While there, I checked out a hybrid Mariner.

    I felt like that interior simply had no place in a $30,000 vehicle. Even with leather, it was not nearly upscale enough for $30 grand.

    I actually liked the Milan better.
  • tkaytkay Posts: 99
    What's up with Gold Program or the VIP you mentioned?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    VIP is the pricing they give to people with membership in the ACA (American Canoe Association) or IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association). Merely being a member qualifies you for the discounts under the VIP program.

    It's supposed to be 2% under invoice with no haggling required.

    The catch?

    There's always a catch, right?

    Some times brand new or in-demand models do not qualify for the program. So I'm waiting to hear back from SoA on when the new Forester is added.

    The only "Gold" program I'm aware of is the Subaru Gold extended warranty, AKA Subaru Added Security. We have one on our 2002 Legacy (still covered for one more year).
  • tkaytkay Posts: 99
    Thanks for the response AX...I also went and looked at the Hybrid Escape, The M.P.G. is impressive But you only get that M.P.G. city driving, when the electric is running. On the E-Way same as all the cute Utes.. Plus they said it was to be a four month wait. They also told me the cab companies in NY. are buying a lot of them because of the bumper to bumper traffic that is N.Y.Now I know why Ford Motor stock is $5.00..they have a hot seller (Escape Hybrid) and they can't meet supply and demand. guess Ford runs his car co. like he runs his football team(Detroit Lions)
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    Could someone give reasons of why a number of SUV vehicles need so many Differentials (3 in the Forester)?

    Center Differential, Limited Slip Differential Front, Limited Slip Differential Rear, Limited Slip Differential Center, Locking Differential Front, Locking Differential Center, Locking Differential Rear, Looking Hubs, and Descent Control?

    For example the Nissan Pathfinder SUV has nothing of these Differentials but still is an off-road vehicle.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    In the '09 Forester, there is a center clutch pack (either viscous slip or electromagnetly controlled) and two differentials, one front, one back.
    Neither front nor back differential is limited slip.

    Earlier Foresters had 3 (front, center, and rear) for which only the rear was limited slip.

    An apparent drawback of Limited slip diffs is they can cause oversteer (the Outback, with a limited slip rear diff, is prone to this). That's one reason the Nissan GT-R uses an electronically controlled rear limited slip diff, which is "unlocked" when the vehicle is deaccelerating, and locked when accelerating. This feature prevents the car from Oversteering (info from Motor Trend testing).

    My _guess_ is Subaru dropped limited slips in the '09 Forester to save cost, weight, complexity, and is now relying on electronic brake and center clutch controls to manage traction.
  • batman47batman47 Posts: 606
    And what about the "Looking rear Differential" in some vehicles. It is said that this mechanism is perfect for low-speed four wheel driving (or AWD). I have had a vehicle that it didn't allow me to make close turn at low-speed when it was 4WD looked (e.g. muddy road, icy, gravel, claiming, etc) without a sharp clunking noise as there was lack of coordination in the rear wheels.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    Perhaps that is why some mfrs with locking rear diffs restrict their useage to low speeds? The RAV4's rear diff won't lock above 25 mph.

    I've read the STI, EVO, and certainly the GT-R, have limited slip diffs with electronic controls to control degree of lockup and torque distribution. Land Rover also claims the same for the system they use (most likely Haldex) in the LR2.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Could someone give reasons of why a number of SUV vehicles need so many Differentials (3 in the Forester)?

    I don’t claim to be an expert on powertrains but don’t most AWD vehicle have 3 differentials? One to transmit power to the front axles, one to transmit power to the rear and one to transmit power to both rear axles. A differential permits one axle to turn at a different speed from that of the other. The variations in axle speed are necessary when a vehicle rounds a corner or travels over uneven ground. Some 4WD vehicles don’t have differentials which is why their wheels tend to bind when turning at slow speeds.

    As to why limited slip vs locking? Well the simplest differential is an open one. With this type, power follows the path of least resistance. That can be bad if you have one wheel with traction and one without since the one without will get all the power and spin away. With a locking differential, as the name implies, the axles are locked together so both will turn at the same speed regardless of which is getting traction. Locking differentials are often favored by the off-road crowd. Their downside is that they will cause binding in turns.

    Now for the limited slip differential (LSD). There are mechanically different designs but they accomplish the same thing in that they can transfer power to the wheel with the best grip. So if one wheel begins to slip and spin, power is immediately transferred to the other wheel. This is handy in slippery road conditions or on gravel. With a rear LSD, power can be varied between the rear wheels. With a center LSD, power can be varied front to rear and with a front LSD, power can be varied between the front wheels. It’s rare to find a vehicle equipped with all three but one so equipped should be able to get going even if only one of its four wheels has traction (regardless of which wheel). The center LSD is the most common followed by the rear and lastly the front. I think the STi is the only Subaru with a front LSD (and a lockable center differential).

    Okay, now the experts can jump in and explain what I goofed up :P

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    "I don’t claim to be an expert on powertrains but don’t most AWD vehicle have 3 differentials? One to transmit power to the front axles, one to transmit power to the rear and one to transmit power to both rear axles"

    "rear" should be front and rear axles (the center diff).

    I'm trying to get a clear answer from Subaru as to how they work around not having _any_ Limited Slip diffs in the '09 Forester, and the situation in their instruction manual for which they recomend turning __off__ traction control (all 4 wheels on a gravel road, all 4 wheels in mud, etc.).
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    "rear" should be front and rear axles (the center diff).

    No the center diff is separate from the rear diff. The center diff controls the flow of power front to rear while the rear diff controls the flow of power left to right between the rear wheels.

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