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2009 Subaru Forester



  • Not sure it's fair to compare an Escape Hybrid to the XT--the XT's not meant to be an economy champ (although I think for its performance it's still pretty good), and would blow the Escape into the weeds. Compared to the Forester X (20/26), the '09 Escape is rated 29 city/27 highway (34/30 for FWD), so would be significantly better in the city but about the same on the highway.

    I'd still take that with a grain of salt, though--I have a friend with a Highlander hybrid, and he says he doesn't get close to the rated mileage, while I've found the Forester's rating to be pretty accurate.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    We were very interested in the Escape Hybrid. Costs a lot more than our Forester, though. At any rate, our nearby Ford dealer said they get about one Hybrid a month, and even if we ordered from the factory, he could not give us any estimate of how long it would take to get one. Once he realized that the Hybrid was the only thing he sold that we'd be interested in, he lost interest. He didn't even try. In fact, I went in two or three times to talk to the guy, and he didn't make a move. I couldn't even get a brochure. And this is a pretty good dealership -- I bought my Focus there and go there for service. They've always treated me well. So I guess they figured it wasn't worth trying to sell me what they couldn't obtain anyway.
  • irollitirollit Posts: 20
    Thank you for your experiences with extended warranties. It seems like the best choice from your responses. I am surprised because Subaru has such a good reliability rating. I really didn't expect this response.

    Has anyone had experience using the extended warranty offered by It sounds like it is factory backed but is it really? Is it better to go this direction, rather than purchasing it from the dealer?
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    If you want an extended warranty the factory one is the only way to go. The place you mention is an Internet store for a legitimate Subaru dealership. I have bought parts from them before.

    You can get the warranty from any dealership, and if you search and shop around you will find diverse prices for the same coverage. Some dealerships discount so that tells me that the price is negotiable.
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    I didn't mean to imply that you "should" get a warranty. I don't even know if I will want one. I'd say most people do not get warranties. Plenty of people consider them an absolute waste of money. In my experience, as long as I keep my cars, I have benefited from them. But I have only bought three warranties out of at least 10 cars I have owned.

    I didn't pick up on anything in anybody's replies to your question that knocks Subaru's reliability. I am a new Subaru owner, so I can't speak from personal experience, but I've gone through several Subaru forums and it looks to me like Subaru owners are very pleased with reliability. In fact, reliability was a key factor for me. Subaru gets top reviews on reliability.

    Whether to get an extended warranty is strictly a matter of personal preference, since nobody has a crystal ball to look into their car's future. Some people like the cushion and are willing to risk a little extra money for it. If I have Subaru bucks going stale at some point, I may use them on a warranty. Keep in mind that automakers will on average make money off of warranties. They know how to write them to avoid big losses. The house always wins.
  • irollitirollit Posts: 20
    Thank you for the clarifications. I purchased the 2009 Forester based on reliability and safety. My daughter's 02 Forester has not had any problems at all and she has over 100,000 miles on it.

    I like your Subaru bucks idea. I will look into getting a card.

    We made a bad choice with the last car we purchased. It was an 01 Volvo Cross Country. Consumers Reports rates it as a car to avoid for a used car. We paid out $6000 total for maintenance and other issues since 2003 when we bought it as a certified pre-owned vehicle. The extended warranty didn't cover a lot of it but did pay out $2000 more so the total spent was $8000. None of those repairs were major items.

    We are hoping that we will not experience that with Subaru. Granted, Volvo is more expensive to repair, for example a timing belt is $750.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    I asked my dealer about these and was told they exist on other '09 Foresters:

    1. Passenger side under dash cover is not well secured (if you put hand on it, you can lift it up and down (pivoted from the front)).

    2. Rear reclining seats rattle when going over bumps (locking mechanism is not very secure).

    Dealer's waiting for answers from Subaru, and admitted first year Subies need tweaks just like any other first year car.
    Still, compared to the GM first year's I've driven, the Subie doesn't have anywhere as many glitches.
  • nathansnathans Posts: 15
    I read on the NY Times' website that the 2009 Forester has a more comfortable ride than previous versions, but that it has lost the fun factor. they blame it on a softer suspension mostly. Can any 2009 owners comment on the accuracy of this claim? I was all excited about the 2009, I think it looks great, and the Forester has head room for me, but I would definitely want the fun factor if I get one.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Well I've currently got a '09 Forester X automatic sitting in my driveway for the weekend. It's a dealer loaner as my WRX is awaiting brake pads.

    We've also got an '01 Forester S automatic, which is my wife's car. I've also driven a '09 Forester turbo a couple of months ago.

    The new Forester is better in every way compared to my wife's '01 model. It's not even close. As to fun? Well, I'm used to driving a WRX, so to me neither Forester (the '01 or '09) are what I consider "fun" to drive. Pleasant? Yes, very pleasant. More fun than other vehicles in this class? Most definitely! Would I consider a new Forester to replace the old one? Absolutely!

  • My previous auto was a mazda mx6, with a 2.5 liter, 177 hp V6. Relatively tight suspension, manual transmission, and low profile made the car really fun to drive. Not getting the same feeling from my Limited (in many ways) Forester, but it is fun... It is a really pleasant ride, and just feels ready to transport me anywhere. Honestly, I think I'm getting to love the car, I don't miss the MX6 much anymore, and I'm getting less pangs of regret about not buying the XT. I'm getting better fuel economy than my small mazda (which required premium fuel).

    I've really had to change the way I drive to really enjoy this car. Cruise slightly off the accelerator, nice and easy, no racing, no more trying to beat people off the line. It's just not really an option in this car, unless you're racing a Yugo :D . But once rolling you can get to the desired speed smoothly and, yeah, I guess "pleasantly"

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    If you want "fun" '09 Forester, get the XT. It does use more gas than the X series, but XT's suspension is a bit stiffer and its turbo makes the car far more responsive.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    In the July issue, Compared to the '09 Mazda Cx-7 and Tiguan Sel 4-motion, the '09 XT performed better and still beat the others in overall mileage (despite its "obselete" 4-speed auto trans). The tests revealed the shorter Tiguan's turning circle was 5 feet more than the XT's.

    Where the XT fell down was interior quality; MT described the XT as a parts bin approach .vs. the Tiguan's superior quality.

    MT said if the Tiguan were $5 K cheaper (at XT price point), they would have probably rated it first.

    However, what MT did not say (but another review did) is the Tiguan's AWD is the same as the current R32's, which is to say it's FWD unless it detects loss of traction, at which point it switches to AWD.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Where the XT fell down was interior quality; MT described the MT described the XT as a parts bin approach.

    I call it smart marketing. The fact that the Impreza and the Forester share the same dash and a number of other interior parts I think is great—and very smart on Subaru's part. Why design different parts for two different vehicles if you don't have to. That's just wasted money—money that could be put to better use in terms of developing stuff that's truly important and/or will the make the vehicles better.

  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    My only complaint about the '09 XT plastics is they scratch easily (be darn sure you don't put any sharp objects on the plastic cover with the transmission indicators, as that paint has no protective coating ! )
  • pgb0517pgb0517 Posts: 84
    If ya wanna have fun at a movie, don't take the reviews too seriously. Car reviews, like movie reviews, are helpful but can be gosh-awful pretentious. All reviewers have their pet peeves.

    To answer your question, I think my boring, soft-suspension non-turbo '09 Bean is fun, fun, fun. We really enjoy taking it through the winding, hilly roads around Austin. Maybe it's because this is our first all-wheel-drive, not to mention our first car with a moonroof, so we are comparing it to more staid vehicles, but still, we are really happy with our choice. There's more to fun than suspensions and turbos.

    I'd say take a good, long test drive or three in both the X and XT series and make your decision, and don't let a reviewer define fun for you or scare you off a great car.
  • buckhuntrbuckhuntr Posts: 11
    The main reason I finally bought a Subaru was the redesign of the Forester to add height and legroom - I stand near 6'6", and I can comfortably drive my X Premium. Clearing snow off the roof will be easier than clearing the F150 Supercrew. :) Not that Tulsa gets much snow, but still...
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Mike, I have had the same thoughts about the tires. 60 series should ride better & they cost about 50% to replace than the 17s. Can anyone who has driven 09 Forester with both tire sizes comment? Thanks
  • rengawrengaw Posts: 22
    Finally, after years of reading this Forester thread, my wife and I have decided to buy a new Forester as it suits all of our present needs and we just plain want one. Now, we are not in such a hurry that we couldn't wait a year for one if certain changes/improvements appealed to us more than the present one. There are always a few bugs in new released vehicles, so I wouldn't mind waiting until next year but we just haven't made up our mind just when we will buy.

    I do have a few questions I would like to ask the Subaru faithful that may help me decide when to buy.

    1. Is there a 5 speed auto tranny in the works and when might that appear?

    2. When will a diesel engine show up in an American Forester?

    3. What is direct injection and how does that impact performance/economy?

    4. Can anyone tell me the difference between the 16" and 17" wheels and how they would alter the driving characteristics of the Forester?

    5. And, finally, is there a Subaru news source that a person could stay in contact with that reveals what changes are coming and when to the Forester?

    Thanks in advance for any info you can assist me with.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788

    1) You will more likely see a CVT transmission, although a 5EAT is possible. I know the 2010 Legacy and Outback will get a CVT in most models, and I expect it to trickle down to other Subies as well.

    2) Probably in about 2 years.


    4) The 17" equipped Foresters have 225/55 sized tires, which is a wider and lower profile tire than what's found on 16" equipped Foresters (215/65). So you can expect the benefits usually associated with lower profile tire, that being slightly sharper and improved handling.

    5) This forum is an excellent choice. If you can put up with a bunch of constantly bickering children, you can also try NASIOC.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I wasn't trying to scare him off from buying a Forester. I simply said that compared to my WRX, the Forester is "less fun" than that car. I'm used to driving the WRX—and that car is FUN! When I get in a Forester, even the turbo XT Forester, it's simply "less fun" than the WRX. Heck, my son's (non-turbo, normal suspension) '06 Outback Sport is more fun to drive than the Forester. It's all a matter of what you're used to driving.

    Now if I didn't have a WRX (or Outback Sport) to cross-reference it to, I would say the new Forester is a ton of fun. I think if you had both a WRX (or normal Impreza) and Forester in your garage, you'd agree.

  • nathansnathans Posts: 15
    That's just it - I have an '03 Impreza, and I think it's fun, though not as quick as I'd like - no turbo :( I want a turbo next time, and I want a car that's fun to drive, and that has plenty of headroom (I'm 6'7"). I fit quite well in my Impreza (no sunroof), but I find that other subarus with the sunroof are tight in headroom - even my wife's Tribeca. So I kind of see the options to be WRX, Legacy GT, or Forester XT. Any comments or advice? Also, I don't know if these models come without a sunroof, especially when you get above the very base models. Thanks!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The best advice I can give you is to drive the new Forester—and several times from different dealers. Only then will you be able to decide for yourself if there is enough of a fun factor.

    I have to say, having this dealer loaner for 3 days, I've come to appreciate the new Forester even more. It's really an excellent car, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

  • sgloonsgloon Posts: 323
    1. Does the 09 forester have the Direct injection engine?

    2. I came across an old article ('99) on the Subaru global site that said they had an electric hybrid coming in '01 that was suppose to get 50% more fuel economy. "A great town car." Anyone have any updates on this?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    1) No. I know Subaru is working direct injection, but none of their cars have it as of yet.

    2) Subaru was developing their own hybrid system, but that was put on hold or canceled once they hooked up with Toyota. I just heard yesterday that the all-new 2010 Legacy and Outback may offer a hybrid model, most likely done with Toyota's help. No word as to when or if it will be sold here.

  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Excellent advice Bob. Fun is always in the eye of the beholder. I have had lots of vehicles that I have considered fun, at different moods and stages of my life.

    I have driven a car at 147 MPH, a bike at 120 MPH, driven cars with 500 HP that were great fun in a straight line but not so much in curves, and cars that could corner on rails but didn't have lots of torque or HP to spare, but they were all fun in their own way.

    I have evolved to a point where I think balance is most important. A vehicle that can maintain a high average speed to a destination is now most satisfying. I am sure I would love an XT, and a WRX/STi for that matter, but I can say that one of my most satisfying cars ever was my 01 Forester L, 5 spd, with the 50/50 AWD split. I added the Impreza rear sway bar and loved the results.

    I always got a kick as vehicles with much larger engines tried to stay with me on curvy country roads. They would close the gap somewhat on straight parts of the road then panic and hit the brakes hard when they realized that they couldn't do the corners as smooth and fast as I could. They would fall way behind in the curves then accelerate hard to catch up, only to have to hit the brakes again soon. Their 2 sigma was much higher than mine, and I also got much better gas mileage than they did along that trip, not to mention brake life.

    I still have fun driving my 06 Forester Premium with auto, but it really could use the sway bar. Balance is again the key, and is one of the reasons I like the Tribeca, but everyone has to judge for themselves because they have to live with it.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Posts: 1,798
    You can contact and talk to COBB Tuning in Salt Lake City, UT (they have website), as they seem to be the "tuner" of choice for Subaru.
    Their focus, however, seems strictly track-oriented.

    So if you want your Subaru to perform better on the track (less lean, firmer ride, more responsive handling), Cobb has engine flashes, suspension mods and other goodies available for many Subarus.

    ....but, as of site check yesterday, nothing yet for the '09 Forester. And frankly, do lowered springs make sense for a Forester?

    FYI, I've found the Forester leans in turns only when you drive it __very hard__. If that is what you wish, you might want to swap out the Geolander tires for something better.
  • nathansnathans Posts: 15
    Certainly true. My wife's Tribeca is very balanced. It has a firm, planted feel, even through fast corners. I think it feels much more stable and unflappable in cornering than my Impreza. Really a nice ride I think.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    Many of us put the larger, solid STi sway rear bar on our 03 to05 foresters which significantly improved the cornering without impacting the ride. Simple, low cost & very effective with no negatives. Is there a stiffer rear sway bar from the Impreza or JDM Forester that could be fitted onto the 09 Forester?.
  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,306
    Sorry, I should have put in my $.02. I am completely opposed to extended warrantees for just about every situation. They are basically insurance policies, and I don't pay to insure things that I can afford to pay. I choose to insure myself by taking the thousands of dollars I've saved on them to pay for the infrequent repairs which might arise. Thinking logically, a company must make money on an extended warranty to offer it as a product. Therefore, statistically you will never on average get as much back as you pay out. The key is to never take the extended warranty on anything (electronics, appliances, etc) for this to work out best. My financial situation is such that I can cover any potential repairs that may arise to a vehicle so YMMV.
    The one exception I made was by taking the extended factory warranty on my old Yukon XL. Two significant repairs were needed, neither of which they covered and whose total cost was still less than the warranty. I won't make that mistake again, and didn't even think twice about it for the Subaru.
    So you know where I come from, I am a strong believer in insurance where it matters : car, home,life, disability and travel medical are very important because they can change your life or the lives of your loved ones if something terrible happens. Extended car warrantees just don't make that cut.
  • bigfrank3bigfrank3 Posts: 426
    Hi Kurt. I am familiar with Cobb, and they do nice work. The problem is that their stuff changes the character of the car, and the stage I am in is "subtle enhancement". The nice thing about fitting the OEM Subaru parts is the value factor. My sway bar for my 01 cost about $75, well worth the price. I have considered adding the one for my 06, and it is about $100.

    I haven't driven the 09 yet but I am surprised to hear some people not liking the handling. My salesman is a "car guy" and he raved about the handling changes and balance. He said it was like a mini-Tribeca on the balance axis.

    I guess I will have to go drive one. I have been waiting because my wife is due to upgrade her 05 Bean, but she seems in no hurry. That alone speaks to how much we like all the Foresters we have had. Before them we used to trade up about every 3 years because we were sick of what we had and wanted something new and different. I am sure getting older has had a lot to do with that, but all our Foresters have been great, enjoyable vehicles.
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