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2009 Subaru Forester



  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I went yesterday, and there's a new '09 LL Bean Forester in Sage Green on display. Best news is that it's open for anyone to sit in. It's a HUGE improvement over the outgoing model.

    • Rear seat has two backrest positions
    • No roof rack cross bars. I guess they're now optional.
    • No cargo cover, probably because the cargo area now has tinted glass. Again must be optional.

    Bad news is that there was no STI there! However, there was an new EVO there (but locked up), which was next to the Subie display.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think part of the strong reaction has to do with the fact that the XT will now only come with a 4 speed. RAV4 does also, but most competitors have moved to 5 speed autos or CVTs. Subaru is lagging here.

    So it's not just that the manual is gone, but also that the lone choice is pretty much bottom-of-the-barrel automatic. I don't think anyone makes a 3 speed any more.

    Any how, most customers don't even know how many ratios their transmission has, they just want it to shift smoothly. Some newer 6 speeds are actually giving Toyota more problems, with hunting, indecision, etc. I guess it's harder to come up with a shift map with so many choices.

    At least we can hope it's tried-and-true and reliable.

    At one point we owned 3 cars, all manuals, but now one's an auto and pretty soon 2 of them will be. I prefer to drive a manual when I choose to drive, but an auto when I have to drive (in traffic).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Also, the new Forester was drawing a LOT of attention, and all the comments I heard were very positive.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I don't dispute the advantages of driver involvement and control as well as, in most cases, better fuel economy offered by manuals, either. What I find bothersome is the view that somehow the lack of a clutch pedal - even when the driver can still select gears manually - makes a car somehow less performance-oriented.

    Ed- I think the fuel economy gap between the two is pretty much gone now. There’s still usually an initial cost advantage to buying a manual and many argue that they’re cheaper to repair but then you don’t have to replace the clutch with an automatic.

    However, I think the perception that an automatic is less performance-oriented has, for the most part, been historically accurate. Many of your higher-end sports cars have traditionally only been offered with a manual. Meanwhile until recently, relatively crude 3 & 4 speed automatics dominated the market. Now with automatics getting 5, 6 or more gears and the greater proliferation of various "sport-shift" options, the gap in perceived performance has certainly dwindled. The increasing sophistication of the automatic is no doubt a big contributor to the ever shrinking availability of the manual transmission.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Again, though, it's not like Subaru's automatic has 7-8 ratios like the most advanced ones, or DSG, etc.

    At least it finally gets SportShift.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    News here is still rather sparse, but here's a few things I did learn from the teaser brochure:

    • Telescopic steering wheel XT models only—really strange...

    • NAV optional only on LL Bean and XT

    • X Premium pretty much the same as now.

    • Base X models get 16" wheels

    • Base models don't get reclining rear seat or fold-out rear seat cupholders

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Current (2007) base models carry big incentives. I think they want to keep it under $20 grand street price, to they really limited the content on the base models.

    The Premium package seems to add a lot, and each level adds incrementally more content.

    I'm happy because we're looking at an LL Bean model, probably, so it gets a lot of the stuff the base model does not.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Bob- But what about the thousand dollar question... what's the rear seat legroom like now?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Much better.

    Although I couldn't adjust the driver's seat, as it's power, and the battery was disconnected. I did, however, adjust the front passenger seat, and in doing so, was able to get a good read on the rear seat room.

    It was too bad that there wasn't also an '08 model there to directly cross-compare the two.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm going on Saturday and I'll take my camera with me.

    I'll try to catch photos of the max, minimum, and me sitting-behind-myself leg room.

    Any other requests?

    I may take a tape measure.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Yes definitely measure the distance between the back of the front seat and the front edge of the back seat (with the front seat in the furthest back position).

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Could be a problem if juice can't get them to hook up the battery.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Not if the front passenger seat is manually adjustable.

  • gouldngouldn Posts: 223
    I'm a very occasional poster here ... I have an 01 S+ with 128K miles. Other than an unfortunate head gasket replacement at 107K, I have had nothing but good luck with the car. During my ownership, I also bought a 2005 Accord V6 Coupe, and much prefer the Forester ... yes it's slower, but two things really make it work for me: (1) turning radius (2) outstanding visibility. I strongly believe people don't pay enough attention to these attributes. The Accord has terrible visibility, which makes it frankly less fun to merge and park. The Forester is liking driving in a fish bowl, and I can park this thing in the tightest parking spots in downtown SF. I leave the Accord at home when going in to SF.

    The newer smaller SUV's seem to be using 'stylish' rear quarter panel windows which cause a nice blind spot. I don't think they look that much better, why not allow the driver to see?? I'm glad to see Subaru didn't follow in this annoying trend.

    So I need to test drive it to be sure the turning radius is as small as they say, but this seems like the perfect replacement for my 01.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Worst case if anyone needs anything measured there will be an LLBean 09 Forester on the first leg of the 48hrs of Tristate. I will try to get as many pics of it on and off road :)

  • I have a few questions on the new forester and I hope some one might know. Is a sunroof going to be in every forester but the base , and will there be more DARK interior colors avalable with exterior colors??? I think Subaru thinks all drivers are 5 foot 8 and wear a suit to work I am 6 foot 4 and work in a factory ( a very dirty factory) Would like a new Subaru but dont want a base model with tan interior. Might have to look at another brand because I cant keep this tan interior clean and would like more options than the base model.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Don't know all model content specs yet. Subaru usually gives two interior color choices per model.

  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    Since you offered - I'd like to see how much room there is between the brake pedal top, and the bottom of the steering wheel.

    I don't need you to take a tape measure or anything, but many vehicles make it tough for people with long legs to lift their right foot off the gas, and move it over to the brake, without hitting the bottom of the steering wheel with their right knee. Some cars are worse than others - I just sat in a '08 Outback Sport, and it wasn't too bad. But my Highlander is really bad. The steering wheel seems far away from my shoulders, and so, too close to my leg.

    If there's a Turbo model, perhaps you could also tell us how much adjustability (fore and aft) there is with the telescopic steering wheel.
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Some things I'd like to know.
    Width of the second row seat (is it wider?).
    Center seating position in the second row. Is it comfortable?
    With the second row folded, are there any gaps/holes (like old foresters) and is the carpet well fastened to the second row seat back? (unlike 01 outback)

    I have 3 kids so second row space and comfort beyond just leg room is important.

    For the leg room measurement you might want to measure from back of the front seat to the backrest of the second row seat. Otherwise just a small change in the seat cushion in the second row makes it appear like there is more leg room. Besides the seat cushion is ussually too short for my long legs anyway(6'4") and doesn't support far enough out.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, so let's see if I got this straight...

    We all want to know rear seat space, from the back of the front seat to the rear seat back. Near the top, maybe around shoulder level or so, Frank? Hmm, maybe I'll do a video and put it up on YouTube. I think that might give people a better idea.

    The test I usually do it sit behind myself, and see if I can move my knees. On the old one they would hit the front seats.

    I will take photos with me in the seat as well. I'm 6', 30" inseam, about 205#, so a pretty good 80th percentile male for size. I'll put my 2 kids there, too, since that's how most people will use the seats.

    My legs are not that long, just 30" inseam, though I wear my pants low. But I'll try to capture the pedal-to-steering wheel space as well. Do you want me to tilt the wheel all the way up? Telescope it all the way out? I believe the LL Bean that is there has tilt/telescope wheel.

    I may go on Sunday. My daughter has a hoops game at 11am on Saturday, so it sort of splits the day in half, leaving less time. I have to check the hours.

    gouldn: Subaru did with the 06-07 Tribeca, but they fixed that for 08, mostly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You were pretty specific so I'll look at your post seperately.

    Let's see.

    2nd row width, OK, from door to door, maybe? At elbow level, or shoulder level? We should be able to note a couple of inches gain there.

    Center seating position - this is the LL Bean so it will have leather but it also has that arm rest/cup holder storage-bin thingy. I doubt the middle will be comfortable. I will try, though.

    Frankly in my search for a comfortable 5th seat, the only vehicles that met that criteria for me were the Toyota Sienna minivan and the Ford Expedition full-size SUV, so we might be asking for too much here.

    I'll try to remember to look at the fold-flat (how flat?) for the cargo and the gaps there, too.

    I see what you mean about a short lower cushion on the seat creating an illusion of space, a trick many use on the 3rd row seats. That's why only kids fit.

    Good to go, sounds like I have my work cut out for me. :shades:
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    The Steering Wheel stuff you wrote is spot-on - at the limit of adjustment for large driver.

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    I think you need to take two measurements for rear seat legroom. From back of front seat to front edge of rear seat cushion (actual foot well width) and then from the back of the front seat to the rear seat back. Pictures are nice but unless you can also post one of you in the same sitting position in an 08 Forester, there's no way to get an apples to apples comparison. I'll perfrom the same two measurements in my Forester and post them here.

    How about also measuring the distance from armrest to armrest in the front seat to see if the gain in exterior width translated fully into a comparable increase in interior cabin width. Heck while you're at it, distance from front seat cushion to headliner so we can see where the 4 inch increase in overall height went to (some of it obviously went to add ground clearance).

    With the strut towers being heavily modified, there's obviously more cargo space now so if you get the chance to measure that also it would be a bonus but otherwise, we can wait for Joe Spitz to update his excellent website :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I need Joe's help! :shades:
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Did we ever determine if any of the '09s have rear LSD?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think so. They would have listed it as something certain models got that the base model didn't, like they did for telescoping wheel and the rear arm rest/cubbie.
  • erics6erics6 Posts: 684
    Saw the LLBean model at the Portland, OR Autoshow. No tape measure but rear seat room looked better. I still hate the chrome grill. Hopefully they'll offer the optional black grill like they do on the new Impreza. On the middle seat the LLBean has the fold down armrest and pull out cup holder. Middle seat might be a bit bigger but didn't feel much more comfortable than mine. It would have been nice to be able to adjust the front seat to my driving postion to see how it felt. Rear hatch needs power (no manual latch) so they had to tape it so it wouldn't get stuck. The Subaru rep was hovering over the car telling people not to slam the trunk or it would get stuck closed.

    Overall I had mixed feelings. Styling is fine. Not great, but not offensive. Since it looks like most other mini-utes, it will sell well. Interior is nice, but some of the plastics still look cheap. Suprisingly, the car I like the most was the new Impreza Outback with the black grill and roof rails.
  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    Are my eyes going or is the 09 FXT missing a coolant temperature gauge?

    Seems like a good portion of the instrument gauge cluster is just wasted space below the tach and below the fuel gauge.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    What a shame. I'm guessing there's an idiot light for engine overheating hiding in all that wasted space. If so, that's a poor substitute for an actual gauge. So I guess the coolant temp is going the way of the voltmeter :(

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    When I had an Impreza loaner earlier this month, I noticed, when the engine was cold, a green temp icon lit up. When the engine reached operating temp, the light went out.

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