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Mitsubishi Outlander vs. Subaru Forester



  • I've driven a variety of Toyota vehicles but only just that. I'm ready for AWD. I'm tired of driving 4x4 and FWD vehicles up here in Colorado. Either I have to deal with the gear binding or trying to get a running start. I've been looking at the Subaru Forester since 1998. I know the common problems that are in the Subaru Forester. The only thing that might start to get annoying over the years are the rattles. Most of the other stuff I've already dealt with in the Toyota vehicles I've driven.
  • imaginaryimaginary Posts: 62
    edited February 2010
    Not sure what the price tag is after discounts. I haven't bothered to look around seriously for an MDX.

    It's nice having everything there so it's under warranty by Subaru compared to an aftermarket product. Besides having to choose which aftermarket product is the correct one, I just like everything to be from the car manufacturer when I buy it. Just that kind of flow and consistency. Maybe a bit of OCD there but oh well :).

    Oh, I'd rather have an in-dash navigation GPS than a hand-held just because it's there in the car hooked up to everything. Plus the screen size is bigger. :blush: That's a big plus.

    I haven't heard about that concerning Nissan. I was never really interested in the style of their vehicles or the kind of vehicles they have. The Leaf looks interesting but I'd rather opt for the Honda FCX Clarity if I ever thought about alternative fuel.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,348
    Wow, I walk away for a day and the post count explodes. I'm glad for the discussion.

    I think it's the rare bird who actually cross-shops AWD systems. For most people not in extreme snow climates these differences in AWD are all theoretical. Even the worst of AWD systems can get a driver from point a to b in a decent amount of snow.

    I agree 100%. Let's be honest. There are those who buy AWD systems for off-roading. They will look at the systems in detail and probably not opt for any of these vehicles as they'll opt for a body-on-frame truck over a car-based CUV/SUV.

    Then there are those who want AWD for performance/handling. That's the Audi Quatro crowd as well as the WRX/Evo types. Engine performance matters more than the transmission's mechanical details. I'd probably toss the Infiniti EX in this group as well.

    After those groups are "the rest of us." We're the everyday buyers who live on the snow belt, drive on the beach, live in rural areas with mud/gravel roads, or do mild off-roading (like said mud/gravel). Ground clearance matters. Getting traction matters. Split differentials don't. We buy the Explorers, Foresters, MDX/RDXs, RX, Outlanders, and so on. Both luxury and non.

    For the rest of us, when there's so much snow on the ground that you're debating the merits of AWD systems, you probably should not be out driving. Even if your AWD system is up to snuff, the '82 Firebird in front of you ain't goin' nowhere fast and you're stuck behind 'em. And also, the AWD systems may help you get going and VSC will help keep you going in the direction you want, nothing will help you stop on icy roads except the 12 car pile-up in front of you.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,348
    Crazy comparisons happen all the time.

    Indeed. Back in '99 when I bought my Galant I had set a price point of $30K and said I wanted the best value (my interpretation) for the money up to that price. Through research various cars were evaluated & eliminated. The final contenders were the Galant and, surprise, the Acura TL. I liked the TL but in an honest evaluation the Galant felt like it had a bigger cabin. Both had leather, a V6 that required premium gas, good stereos, and many other similarities. The final analysis said the TL had 30 HP more than the Galant and had traction control. The Galant, after upgrading to a 10 yr warranty was $8K cheaper.

    I've no doubt I would have enjoyed the TL but the Galant was enjoyable as well and was very reliable over the 10 years/152K miles I had it. For $8K less I did not miss the experience of owning a semi-premium brand.
  • imaginaryimaginary Posts: 62
    edited February 2010
    "For the rest of us, when there's so much snow on the ground that you're debating the merits of AWD systems, you probably should not be out driving. Even if your AWD system is up to snuff, the '82 Firebird in front of you ain't goin' nowhere fast and you're stuck behind 'em. And also, the AWD systems may help you get going and VSC will help keep you going in the direction you want, nothing will help you stop on icy roads except the 12 car pile-up in front of you."

    As state patrol officers across the nation keep saying over and over after every, single, pile-up: "It's only a matter of time before these people driving 70, even 80 mph lose control and get into an accident". There's also another solution to that too. It's taking a road you know is almost completely out of your way but has little to no traffic. If the "rest of us" are willing to take the chance of going on the highway when you know full well there are people in your state who have no idea how to drive in the snow, you should know you're going to be running into that "12 car pile-up" pretty soon. Your chances of running into such a pile up are as simple as remembering there are more ways than one to get to the cities in your state.

    Driving like a grandma at a safe speed limit beats getting into a 12-30 car pile up. Oh and leaving ample space between you and the car in front of you. Personally, I'd rather run into a ditch than end up sandwiched into a pile up BUT that's just me. :) I at least know I "debated" my AWD system to prepare for such occurrences. We're the the kind of people who actually plan ahead and, sometimes, over plan for every single detail. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    or trying to get a running start

    That's what it's like with my FWD Sienna. Can't make it up my stinkin' driveway when there's snow, not to mention I gotta turn the VSC off.

    GPS ... Plus the screen size is bigger.

    Hmm, consider an Outback, then. A 3.6R Ltd with Navi is still low 30s, and it has a giant 8" screen. The backup cam has trajectory lines, and it's a bit nicer inside than the Forester. Early reliability scores from TrueDelta have been excellent (sadly the Equinox/Terrain are showing electrical gremlins).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good call, too. Didn't those '99 TLs have the glass transmissions?
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,348
    The trajectory lines are great. It makes backing into parking spaces in the Outlander a breeze. The Outie also has a red line going across that represents about 18" from the bumper, which allows room for a reasonable gap and coincidentally is enough to open the hatch. There are also hash marks at 1, 2, and 3 meters.

    After one snowfall the image was blurry as there was a small icicle hanging in front of it. :)
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,348
    Some TLs did have the bad trannies but I though that was the 02-03 years. Could have easily included the 99s and up, though. What sucked was Acura replaced the bad transmissions with more of the same, but IIRC they did extend the warranty on them.

    The Galant was rock-solid dependable. The only time I couldn't drive it was when the OEM battery died suddenly after about 3 or 4 years. Otherwise I was never stranded and had just $500 in repairs (does not include maintenance/wear items) over almost 11 years. Having it be such a good car is what caused me to heavily favor the Outlander.
  • "The Galant was rock-solid dependable. The only time I couldn't drive it was when the OEM battery died suddenly after about 3 or 4 years. Otherwise I was never stranded and had just $500 in repairs (does not include maintenance/wear items) over almost 11 years. Having it be such a good car is what caused me to heavily favor the Outlander."

    Same with our Mirage, dead battery every 4-5 years was the only problem, otherwise trouble-free, which made considering another Mitsu very logical. Just spent some quality time in a 2010 Benz GLK. Decent seats, nice leather, but I think the Outlander seats might be better. The GLK was a bit more docile over bumps, but the Outlander seemed spunkier. Plus the Outie has adjustable rear seats and considerably more cargo space.
  • imaginaryimaginary Posts: 62
    edited February 2010
    Yeah, I've thought about the Subaru Outback. It'd be nice if they used the GPS from the Outback in the Forester. I've heard good things about the Outback and Tribeca GPS. People seem to like it over the GPS from the Forester. The only bad thing I've heard is that both don't offer live traffic updates and they're both CD-based navigation systems.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    there was a small icicle hanging in front of it

    New feature for next year - cam de-icers! :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My wife had a Mirage as well. 1988 model year, IIRC? Sedan, manual trans.

    Too bad it wasn't a turbo. Odd thing was it had no power steering! Strage because it had some really nice seats in it. The manual shifter sort of clunked in to each gear, also.

    Our experience was so-so. She replaced it with a Mazda 626. With power steering. ;)

    I'd share a photo that I have but she's got that 80s hairdo that makes her look like the 5th member of the rock band Poison. :D
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    DVD, actually.

    FWIW, before I got traffic on my Garmin, I used Google Maps on my BlackBerry (great interface):


    And to be honest, I wouldn't call either "live" traffic. It's useful, sure, but the information comes about 20 minutes after any incident happens. Here in DC the news station is quicker, with updates every 10 minutes.

    I still use it, but I've disabled the automatic re-routing feature. Basically it still reports the incident to me, but does not detour - I decide whether or not to do that.

    What I'd like to see is what Dash tried (and failed) to do, which is 2-way communication to the GPS device, and then a display of average speeds on that road in real-time.

    You'd need enough subscribers, but that would be truly "live".
  • Probably not much different than your 1988, our '91 Colt hatchback was excellent for what it was. Sure vinyl seats + no AC + summertime heat = sweatbox! But not a lick of trouble for 7 years and 89K miles. Not much after selling the car, it did need a $600 computer (known issue with these cars), but ran like a champ for another 10 years and 115,000 miles! After that experience, we stuck with Mitsus and never looked back. Sure, I've tried other cars, but most other Asian vehicles were either too boring or too ubiquitous. While I think most Mitsus well deserve greater respect and sales, I like owing a "different" car. Can't tell you how much omnipresent RAV4s make me want to gag!

    I've sat in many Suburus over the years, but haven't really liked them for numerous reasons - thin doors, frameless doors, uncomfortable seats, loud engines, premature rust, ugly styling, terribly tight rear seat (just previous version Forester!). And while there are nits with the Outlander (tight spacing around the seats, slightly jumpy downshifts), so far its been a good car. Might even like it for seat comfort over the 2010 GLK. Although interior textures and AT shifts were noticeably better.

    Poison would choose Mitsubishis!!
  • Ah, yes. That's what I meant to say. I think I prefer hard drive-based navigation systems over DVD-based navigation systems. My HTC Touch Pro2 with Sprint offers traffic too but I've had such bad experiences with it trying to find places around other towns that I haven't used it in a while. I haven't tried Google maps for traffic though.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Thankfully Subaru now uses galvanized steel. Remember those rusty GLs? The body would fall off, but they'd still be running. :D

    I did look at a '91 Colt (the bodystyle had changed from my wife's car), but ended up buying a '91 Escort GT, which actually got a Mazda powertrain (from the Protoge). I remember these:


    Funny thing is Subaru is far, far less "quirky" now. The Forester was up-sized and mainstreamed, and Americans love it. Traditional Subaristi complained about the bulky door frames and all the growth in size! Everyone else loved the changes.

    Today's headline from Automotive News:

    Subaru dealers: We need cars

    Read more: 379#ixzz0gHtjPw90

    60 days' supply is ideal, they're at less than half that amount.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587

    There is a seperate slot for the map DVD, FWIW. Some cheaper Panasonic Nav units have only one CD/DVD slot, so if you want to listen to music you have to load your route first, then pop in the music, one at a time. No such issue with the Kenwood units Subaru uses.

    Another nice things is updates are frequent - the Tribeca came with v1.0 maps, but Kenwood makes regular updates available (2.0, 2.1, 2.2, and now 3.0 is the latest) for purchase. You can buy them from Subaru or directly from Kenwood.

    Mitsu had Navteq v2006 maps when the 2007 Outlander models came out, and last I heard offered only one update to Navteq v2008, which is now more than 2.5 years old. Garmin portables are up to v2010.30.

    Just something to consider. All those POI updates - you search for Shopping, Electronics, and it's gonna pull up all those Circuit City stores that have shuttered.

    I had v2008 on my Garmin Nuvi 200w and sold it because the maps needed updating. Replaced it with a Nuvi 265wt.

    No it's my wife's turn. She has v2009 on her StreetPilot c340, and it got us lost last weekend. We went to Williamsburg, VA, and then drove back to DC. It didn't have the Springfield mixing bowl updated. So it told us to stay right when we had to exit left. We ended up going east instead of west (had to, we missed our exit).

    DOH! The GPS is supposed to prevent that, that's the whole point in fact. :mad:

    It's officially for sale. The c340 model is old so rather than pay $65 for a map update, I'll just sell it for whatever I can get and then upgrade her to a widescreen model. I may even get myself a 5" Nuvi 1390T and then give her the 260w from my van.

    I know, I've gone GPS crazy. We currently own 3, but I've owned 5 (sold 2 to upgrade maps/features) and I was a tester/pilot user for Dash, so 6.

    All I've got to say is do not overlook the importance of updated maps. What good are traffic reports if highways like MD's ICC, the Springfield mixing bowl (I-495, I-95, I-395), and the Montrose Parkway did not exist back in v2008? I'm not even sure how it will try to report those.

    Even the v2009 maps on my wife's c340 doesn't have the intersections right on the path I take to get to the shore correct - Rt 404, 13, 26, 20, and 54 in MD/DE. Though it is funny to look at the screen and have it tell you you're in the middle of a corn field. :D

    Just be aware of what you're getting, is all.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    That's why I use VZNAV. 'Nuff said. When my hardware is outdated I get a new phone.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    You pay a fee to use that, though, right?

    I like the PNDs (personal navigation devices) because the interface is excellent, especially Garmin's.

    I haven't seen reviews of VZNAV, but I wouldn't trade my Garmin for any of the apps I've seen on the iPhone so far.

    Google Maps is great for the traffic display, but the directions take you back a decade to MapQuest-like directions. It's also slow to load. The Garmin is MUCH quicker.

    I'm happy enough with my 265wt that I may buy a 2nd one. Only thing is I might opt for the bigger screen of the 1300/1400 series.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Yes $9.99/mo on a Blackberry. I've used the app in different parts of the US; west coast, east coast, southeast, northeast, southwest. The turn by turn is excellent. Google maps is not a substitute if you need turn by turn directions.

    I love not having to carry around two devices, and there is also a pedestrian mode which I've used. The application runs reasonably fast and I never have to worry about map updates.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Google maps is not a substitute if you need turn by turn directions.

    Indeed. Same with OnStar. Do you know that if you detour you have to re-load directions again? At least that's how it used to be.

    At first we had one Garmin and fought over it, but we now have 3, one for each car.

    When I travel I can take one with me, and we do. It's even more useful out of town.

    The new Garmins have pedestrian modes, too, for walking and public transport. Cool.

    How quickly does it load directions? And what happens if you have no signal?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    How quickly does it load directions? And what happens if you have no signal?

    It loads in about 30 seconds and there is a speech to text function to help you along. The achilles heel of all of these phone nav devices is the lack of signal when calculating routes. The app doesn't need a signal after the route is acquired, but if it has to calculate the route it needs a signal.

    Where I have driven, not having a signal has never happened to me, even in the middle of the desert.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In that case the question is...

    What were you doing in the middle of the desert? :P

    I like the idea of having base maps stored locally, so you can browse them no matter what, but "live" updates make total sense given how often changes happen.

    Think about the POI database - if there are, say, 10 million businesses listed in there, how many failed during this recent financial crisis? 1/3rd of them, maybe?

    We also tried to stop for gas and looked for a Shell station (we have a Shell credit card - 5% off) but it had changed owners and was no longer a Shell. :(

    Now the question is, do I give the wife the new one, or keep that for myself and give her my old one (albeit with current maps)?
  • Yeah, I saw that; when the screen tilts you have the option of loading both a CD for music and a CD for navigation on the 7" Kenwood units in the Subaru Forester.

    That's the thing. When I saw that Kenwood only offers CDs as upgrades I thought "they must be non-rewritable." I was and still worried about up to date maps. Compared to being able to download them to your hand held Garmin or Tom Tom, you have to buy CD's that must be upgraded on an annual basis. I never really looked into it to find out if you could load new data onto the Kenwood CD's you already have. I didn't see any tab on the Kenwood site suggesting that either. Live traffic and constant updatability is something I haven't really been able to find in in-dash navigation systems. However I haven't really looked THAT hard, not yet. Most of the time Google maps weren't much help either. At least where I live the maps need some accuracy improvements in terms of location of said building or area.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2010
    It's actually a set of DVDs. 2 or 3 depending on the model.

    I've seen people split the $230 cost and one will get the West Coast DVD and the other the East Coast DVD, so the update only costs them $115 (plus the extra shipping).

    Why would you want to re-use the old disc?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    RAV4 dropped, which will be a surprised to exactly noone.

    I felt like they gave a bit of bias towards the RAV4, because the Forester XT had a higher overall rating than the RAV4 V6, and the Forester X was tied with the RAV4 I-4. One win and one tie, and they gave the crown to the Toyota? :confuse:

    Any how, Subaru is back on top. :shades:
  • Just like you only have to buy a map or two for a Garmin or Tom Tom? I'd rather not have to buy the entire set again just because they updated a couple maps or so. Yeah, I saw that there was more than just one disc.
  • piastpiast Posts: 269
    Looks like some mags are starting to have second thoughts about their initial love with Forester. In recent MT small CUV comparison it came last (behind Terrain, new Tucson, and CRV.:
    With archaic four-speed and basement power, the former champ shows its age.
    Read more: .html#ixzz0gPuL4ED8"

    Also, from MT March long-term test update of 2009 Forester:
    "The Forester seems softly sprung. It bounces up and and down, wallowing over road undulations, and at times feels like a decade-old Buick. The steering lacks linearity and is sloppy, and during 60-mph sweepers, it needs constant correction to maintain a line.The four-speed auto does little to help the average-powered naturally aspirated flat-four feels more than noisy and overworked. Climbing the numerous passes of highway 395 had me desperately hunting for more gears and wanting to downshift for more grunt"
    Their avg. fuel economy is 21.8 mpg ( over 22,532 miles), not that great for 4 cyl version.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    edited February 2010

    Interesting. There's no doubt that Subaru isn't winning any points by sticking to a 4-speed auto but picking on its 170hp seems a bit much since it is still competitive (albeit no longer near the front of the pack). However, it's odd that while they did point out that the 2009 SUOTY was a turbo equipped Forester XT, they still felt compelled to judge the Forester X against it, which of course seems less impressive in comparison.

    By comparing the 2008 and 2010 reviews, you can tell how quickly the bloom falls off the rose:

    2008 - "It rides like a La-Z-Boy" (framed as a compliment)
    2010 - "The Forester seems softly sprung. It bounces up and and down, wallowing over road undulations, and at times feels like a decade-old Buick" (clearly not a compliment)

    Ironic how the same ride came be interpreted so differently :confuse:

    And while the avg. fuel economy in the long term tester of 21.8 mpg may not be that great for 4 cyl version (depending on how and where it's driven), the Forester still had the best fuel economy of the group tested :P

This discussion has been closed.