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2013 and earlier-Subaru Forester Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • Picked up my silver Forester XT Premium yesterday from Jenson Motor Center in Napa, CA. The car was finally ordered about a month ago after a long, agonizing wait and several failed attempts at dealer trades. It had only 12 miles on the odometer when I drove it off the lot, woohoo!

    Paid invoice thanks to the Subaru VIP program and IMBA - $26,053 which included the rear bumper cover, splash guards, and cargo tray; auto-dimming mirror; armrest extension; air filtration kit; and cargo net. I also took advantage of 3.9% financing for 60 months through Subaru. A very good deal all around during a time when most Premium XT's in this area are still sold with a healthy dealer mark-up (if you can get your hands on one at all)!

    Had a very pleasant and easy purchasing experience since price wasn't even an issue, and I'm absolutely in love with the car! Now I have some break-in miles to burn off...
  • Just purchased a Silver XT Auto with turbo guage, rubber mats, cargo net and security system upgrade. MSRP $27087 paid 24889 plus $49 in processing fees plus tax and tags. This deal was $149 over invoice at Fitzmall in MD. This replaces a 2001 Forester which will be returned next month on the expiration of a lease. Wife loved the old Forester so much that it had to be replaced. It didn't take too much effort for her to appreciate the extra power of the turbo.
  • Just bought a white 2004 Forester XS Premium MT with security system and the popular equipment group with the cargo tray, bumper cover, and splash guards in LA a few days ago. I got it for $10 over invoice, and probably could have done a little better if I had pushed harder. I met my target price, so I'm happy.

    The dealership I went to is getting out of the Subaru business to concentrate on its Mazda business. I've been looking through the owner's manual and noticed that there are at least a couple of things they didn't give me that they were supposed to.

    I didn't get:
    -the second keyless entry remote
    -the submaster key
    -the valet key

    They also sent me off with 1/4 tank of gas, but that is a side issue. Can anyone tell me if there is anything else I should have gotten from them? I think I have all the tools (torx driver, jack, spare tire, etc.), but I'd like to make sure I have a complete list of what's missing before I go back to the dealer.
  • pleiad7pleiad7 Posts: 59
    Sometimes you have to request a full tank of gas from the dealership or they won't voluntarily include it; when I bought my XT a couple of weeks ago, my dealer made a point of asking me if I wanted the car filled up, but made it clear that they would only use regular gas (XT normally requires premium).

    As far as your missing items are concerned, you should have also received the little plate with the key code on it in case you have to have your keys remade.

    My dealer shorted me on the torx driver in the toolkit; it's supposed to be included with moonroof-equipped vehicles, but so far I haven't found it. They offered to order one for me, but I politely declined since I would have to drive 40+ miles to pick it up... I'm sure I can find a stand-in somewhere in my husband's toolbox ;-)
  • Well, as far as the gas goes, I never explicitly asked, but at least a couple of times while I was waiting for the car, salesmen/finance people/managers told me that they were getting it washed and gassed (and my decidedly non-turbo forester takes regular unleaded). I guess it just took a long time to take the floor mats and cargo tray out of the plastic bags!

    Thanks for the key plate tip. I will add that to my list. The dealership is about 90 miles away for me, but I feel that these type of items are worth going back for. On the other hand, I agree that the torx driver would probably not be worth such a trip.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would call 800-SUBARU3 and report the error the dealer made. They owe you a full tank, plain and simple, plus the keys.

    I wonder if Subaru cancelled their franchise because this neglect was common?

  • 04 Forster XS Premium package 2, white, paid CAN$700 over invoice (about CAN$1500 under MSRP) using (no time for bartering, but I'm sure I could have done better - doh!). Subaru of Calgary was friendly, though I seemed to know more than some of them about delivery issues (thanks to y'all), and I'm really far from being a grease-monkey (think grease-lemur...). Options include medium tint on rear 5 windows, 3M everywhere, and the center armrest. Got wayyy more for my 96 Sentra than I thought I would through a private sale, so my drive-away price was about CAN$1000 lower than I had planned.

    First impressions (after deflating the Flintstone-like tires) is a solid ride, nice interior and a little more noisy and truck-like than I expected - but still quiet and refined. I am at 32 pounds front and 30 pounds rear for tire pressure. Still too high? I am very pleased after my first 100 km (just rolled over 100 as I pulled into the garage tonight).

    Security question. I was steered away from the Subaru Security upgrade, and was told the Club was as good or better. Comments, please.
  • Well, I got a receipt for my fill-up 90 miles later and will call the dealer today or tomorrow about it and the key issues. I'll see what they have to say and go from there. They knew I was in a rush to get my girlfriend to work, so it may have just been an honest, stupid mistake.

    Although it's certainly possible, I don't think Subaru revoked their franchise. There aren't many Subaru dealers around the greater New Orleans area, and the other "main" one is better stocked. This one only had maybe 10 Subarus total, but they also happened to have the one I wanted. And they did have hundreds and hundreds of Mazdas.

    It even came in on their sales tactics. At first, they were not willing to deal at all on the Subie, but after I test-drove a Mazda Tribute and hated it, and told them it was the Subie or nothing (i.e. no Mazda sale to be made here), they became very flexible on the Subie.

    fryingbologna: I'm sure it is almost as easy for a knowledgable car thief to disarm a security system as it is for him to disarm a club, but for most thieves, I believe it is much more difficult. My Forester has the security system upgrade and it includes an audible alarm as well as an ignition kill feature, which to me, makes it much more superior to a club.

    Also, at least in the States, most insurance companies give you 10% or so off of your comprehensive coverage if you have an actual security system on your car with the features I mentioned above.
  • Same here in Canada, a1bogard, although they REALLY like the engine immboilzers like Honda has.
  • Can I get the 2004 Frontier XT with Prem Package and the other goodies packages for about $300 or less a month lease for 36 months 15k per year? How would I go about it. Its now October 5,2003. PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I REALLY WANT THIS CAR.
  • Since you brought it up, fryingbologna, why does insurance cost more on the Forester than the CR-V? The Forester has many more safety features, better safety ratings, and has a lower center of gravity. Yet here in the New Orleans area (where insurance is bad enough as it is), the Forester XS costs about $200/year more to insure than the CR-V.

    You'd think that insurers would get tired of having to pay to replace so many CR-V bumpers!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687

    The Frontier is from Nissan. Did you mean Forester XT?
  • I dunno why the CRV is lower (only approx. CAN$100 when I was cross-shopping the two), other than maybe sheer volume of CRV and ignornace about the Forester. When I called in my switch from the Sentra to the Forester last week, my crack insurance company could not find a 2004 Forester XS in their database... nor a 2004 Forester of any trim level... nor any Forester at all. The closest they has was a 2003 Impreza! I am SOOO changing insurers at the end of this term!

    Good luck trying to explain to an agent about the CRV bumper, or the Forester safety ratings, or general talent (and modesty!) of the typcial Subaru driver while behind the wheel! "Blah blah statistics blah blah rates going up blah blah large injury claims blah blah"... but at least I'm not bitter!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    When I bought my Forester in 1998, insurance was actually cheaper than the CR-V. Later, when my wife was shopping for 2002 models, the CR-V was cheaper than the Legacy she ended up buying.

    YMMV, so check with your agent. Personally, it's a small fraction of your overall costs, worth a look but not enough to sway me one way or the other.

  • fryingbologna said "or general talent (and modesty!) of the typical Subaru driver while behind the wheel!"
    Don't for a second think that Subaru drivers have more talent than another group of drivers on the road unless you have some significant data to back that up. Statements like that demean us (Subaru drivers)all.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Leaving aside whether it's true or not, how on earth does fryingbologna's saying Subaru drivers have more talent in any way demean them?
  • pleiad7pleiad7 Posts: 59
    Maybe he meant to say that it discredits Subaru drivers.

    But seriously, why would Subaru drivers be any more talented or modest than anyone else on the roads? Take the STi (and, to a lesser degree, the WRX) for example - the mere fact that the target market for these cars is the 20something "Fast & Furious" crowd has been proven to do wonders for accident statistics and street racing incidents!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    While there are a share of those, I've found that the folks on Edmunds tend to be more mature and I suspect get in fewer accidents.

    Overall, Subaru owners are better educated than average car owners as a whole, but I'm still not sure we could conclude they're better drivers overall.

  • ozman62ozman62 Posts: 229
    Tongue-in-cheek mean anything to anyone? Officeglen, you seem a little tense, maybe too much time in the office? ;-) Relax, go drive your Subaru (well).
  • Since insurance costs in my area for my demographic are easily in the $2000/year range (with a clean record and large deductibles), I made sure to check with my insurance agent on the cars I was looking at before I bought one. You're right in that it shouldn't be enough to sway someone one way or the other, but at the same time, there's the chance that it could increase your expenses significantly enough to be a deal breaker. (I was coming from insuring a '92 Civic where the annual insurance costs were more than the car was worth, although still much cheaper than a new car.)

    Still, I'm one of those people who likes for things to make some kind of sense and am not satisfied with the "All I can tell you is that it's in a higher insurance group" response. Oh, well.
  • Now you've gone and done it too.
    "Overall, Subaru owners are better educated than average car owners as a whole" Try to prove that.

    My point is: Ask anyone regardless of gender, age, sex, car model and most of them will tell you that they are a good driver and make informed auto decisions. They probably also think there good looking as well. Take a look around. Are they right? Any shmuck (me included) can walk into a Subaru dealer and buy a car. There is no exam or drivers test. I have accepted that I am one of the unwashed masses.
    I might also be a little tense.
    I just got back from the dealer $60+ for a oil change and tire rotation. How well educated is that?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    a1bogard: same here, so when rates jump up like that, I start shopping around. Notice how they always go up, never, ever come down, when they re-district you?

    My comment about the demographics actually stemmed from actual data, not just my opinion. Let me look this up...

    OK, found a source, from, though it's actually a quote from AutoPacific:

    Many Forester owners are employed as teachers/educators which lends this group to be college-educated (68%).

    Smarter than your average bear! :-)

    For Legacy it's 58%. I'm not sure how much of the general population is college educated, but I doubt it's that high.

  • My insurance rate had gone down every year for the last seven years until I bought the forester. I think back then I was solely keeping my insurance co. in business.

    Juice, Interesting stats. You should prepare a spread sheet with all makes and models. Then we can make fun of the dumbest ones in the bunch. (They won't even get it) How many Legacy owners does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Now, who's cheeks am I suppose to stick my tongue in?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They won't even get it


    One thing Ed brought up last time I saw him was that a lot of Subaru owners could afford a more expensive car, but still buy a Subaru. That was the case with our family's 2 Subies.

  • Thanks ballistic #63

    Can I get the 2004 Forester XT with Prem Package and the other goodies packages for about $300 or less a month lease for 36 months 15k per year? How would I go about it. Its now October 5,2003. PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I REALLY WANT THIS CAR.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------
    #64 of 78 insurers by a1bogard Oct 06, 2003 (10:43 am)
    Since you brought it up, fryingbologna, why does insurance cost more on the Forester than the CR-V? The Forester has many more safety features, better safety ratings, and has a lower center of gravity. Yet here in the New Orleans area (where insurance is bad enough as it is), the Forester XS costs about $200/year more to insure than the CR-V.

    You'd think that insurers would get tired of having to pay to replace so many CR-V bumpers!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------
    #65 of 78 Frontier? by ballistic Oct 06, 2003 (11:03 am)

    The Frontier is from Nissan. Did you mean Forester XT
  • I never back up my wildly exaggerated generalizations with hard facts and data, re: Subaru drivers "general talent (and modesty!)". I thought the modesty addition would be equivalent to a smiley/wink/roll of the eyes. Guess not.

    I would tend to agree with juice that certain brands seem to attract certain types of people. I am a Macintosh user, and in a very unscientific poll on a Mac website, well over 60% of respondents (population of 50+) responded that they drove/wanted a VW/Audi, with the majority equating similar design style in computers and cars, and the feeling of being "different" from the mainstream.

    All those little nickels and dimes ($CAN quarters and dollars) add up, influencing my choice to get the Forester XS vs the CRV vs the Forester XT vs the RAV4. Insurance, mileage, octane, resale, interest rate and repair costs all factor in along with practicality and looks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Funny you bring up Macs, we did a survey a while back and they are very common among Subaru owners. Just another quirk, I guess.

  • Actually, when I moved a few blocks down the street a little over a month ago, I was in a new zip code and found out that my insurance rates had gone down by almost $260/year! I got a nicer place plus cheaper insurance! That was a pleasant surprise.

    Interesting stats on Subaru owners. Actually, I know a doctor that recently traded in her old Outback and bought a new one. And she can certainly afford a more expensive car.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    My '97 OB's original owner was a bank VP who got it as a retirement gift. Everyone thought she was nuts for not getting the usual Mercedes like everyone else retiring from the bank had. She got a new OB after selling me her old one earlier this year.

    Since getting the OB, I've also had to run a Mac on a daily basis for the first time. I still prefer PC's however <g>.

    Steve, Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, maybe she wanted low operating costs, and good long-term reliability.

    I'm not saying I wouldn't take a Benz if someone else was paying for it, but there are pros and cons both ways.

    I have both Macs and PCs, mostly PCs lately though.

  • 0c9896a&action=showresults&pollid=1927

    The results have skewed away from audi/VW, but they still rule the land! Heck, here in Canada, getting 30% of the popular vote will often get you elected Prime Minister, or sometimes even Goalie!
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    To get to $300 a month you'd have to put a chunk down.
  • anyone purchased recently an XT, premium? is that possible to get one at invoice?
  • Does anyone know the invoice price for an XT in Canada. Is it worth signing up at CarCostCanada.Com for 85$ to get the invoice price and quotes from dealers that their "negotiation teams" are negotiating for you? Has anyonene tried this?
  • Cellularcity,
    My wife and I just purchased an XT Premium at invoice. It wasn't hard at all, just be sure that you are qualified for the Subaru VIP program. (My wife's professional association, ASHA, is a VIP partner.) There was a discussion a couple of months ago about it. Someone talked about getting an IMBA membership just for the Subaru VIP, although they needed to wait 6 months after IMBA would give them their paperwork.
    Check out the Subaru site for VIP partners.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    It isn't that hard!

    Foresters are in short supply around here, so you may want to wait a bit.
  • HI Was wondering if any readers have had a buying experience in N. Fla. Going to a dealer in a few days to look at & drive the XT. Have read many of the Posts on here and they seem to vary quite a bit. ???

  • Hey, it was difficult for me to type that name, I hope you know! ;^)

    I used carcostcanada for the purchase of my XS a couple of weeks ago, and while the process went smoothly, I have a feeling I could have negotiated to the same price. What carcostcanada does is provide you with $85 worth of time. You could get the invoice price for $15 (or whatever) and start calling around, wait until month-end and pressure some salesfolk into a corner and probably get as good - if not better - of a deal. But if you are short on time, or dislike negotiating (true for me on both counts), the $85 looks pretty good when you write it down beside the MSRP.

    That being said, I am not aware of the XT invoice price in Canada - but a rough guide might be to drop $2000 off the MSRP. Check a few dealer lots to see if there are any sitting around all month, then strike with about 4-5 business days left in October.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That poll seems silly, why group some brands and not others? You can hardly call Chrysler and M-B the same.

  • Thanks allot for the info/advice. It will sure help. I hope to get my hands on an XT ASAP.
  • I just switched insurance companies, and found that our 98 Forester had a higher premium than my 00 Legacy GT. Upon inquiring, I was told that the insurance premiums for the Forester are higher because it costs more to repair than comparable vehicles. (Parts?, labor time?)

    I can somewhat vouch for that, after having to pay for replacing the left front fender, etc. of the Forester after a minor fender bender. Even with my son performing some of the work (summer job at repair shop) it cost plenty!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Source the parts from a wholesaler. Markup on parts is pretty big, 20% or more at times.

    When I got hit from behind, I did that. A new bumper was $150, and a complete taillight assembly was $125 IIRC. Retail on each was around $200.

  • mre4mre4 Posts: 15
    On Nov. 17, Shunsuke Takagi, Executive Vice President of Fuji Heavy Industries, told a news conference that interim and full-year earnings estimates were being cut. Takagi-san attributed the revision, in part, to "the weak performance of its Forester sports utility vehicle."

    This weekend, three or four dealerships in Oregon were having sales on Foresters. Anyone think it is a coincidence?

    I do not think it is a bad product, just a bad economy, so I put my money where my mouth was and when one dealership offered a XT PP for about 1200 less than invoice I drove it home.

    I would call this a compact utility performance vehicle. Drives great ... personally I expect the auto trans. to save me about one speeding ticket per year...

    Anyway, anyone considering a Forester might want to see if their local dealerships have had similar reactions to this news. Forester sales in the U.S. declined from Sept 02 to Sept 03 and from Oct 02 to Oct 03 even though there is a new, clearly superior, model. This cannot be encouraging for Fuji, as Takagi-san's comments imply. I think they would like to avoid this in November 03 and might be willing to find significant new discounts in order to attain this goal.
  • kw101kw101 Posts: 2
    I just purchased an '04 Forester 2.5X with AT and no other options for $300 under invoice from Livermore Suburu (CA) via Autobytel. Great experience with the internet sales guy. No BS, very thorough, located the exact color and configuration I wanted and had it there to pick up within a day. Didn't hurt that I bought on the last day of the month, however the Costco dealer (Carlsen Subaru in Redwood City) quoted me about $500 more and wouldn't budge on price.
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    the Costco dealer (Carlsen Subaru in Redwood City) quoted me about $500 more and wouldn't budge on price.

    The Costco-connected Subaru dealer in Portland, Oregon quoted me one of the highest prices of all six dealers in my area. Based on that surprising result, I'm unlikely to waste time seeking a Costco price next time.
  • kw101kw101 Posts: 2
    Just to clarify, the autobytel connected dealership quoted me a price $100 over the Costco price the first time, but after negotiating, came back with the price I ended up paying. The Costco connected dealership refused to budge on their price when I asked if they could beat the other dealer's quote.

    The lesson I learned was that it's the sales person/dealer that makes the difference, and that the autobytel/costco price may be negotiable.
  • Was that a typo ??? I'm in Calif. For curiosity I called some Oregon dealers. I found prices here in Calif were LESS than Oregon (a switch !). As for vigor of Forester sales, I could only find one White XT PP in all of Calif. I paid $250 under invoice, with considerable shopping.... (Costco is a non-starter meant for the lazy). The best deals are with the VIP (Int'l Mountain Biking Assoc., for example)if you're not going to do some "shopping".

            Bob (near San Francisco)
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    I wouldn't mind seeing more detail, like the actual bottom-line price paid on that deal, myself. If it's true, it was a heckuva buy.
  • At 3% holdback on XT PP Invoice, it would appear this dealer LOST almost $500 on this transaction.... Dealers don't do that unless there were some VERY unusual circumstances (like needing that one last car for a sales incentive...). Again, I didn't hear of anything below VIP (invoice) for Oregon when I called around, while in CA you could easily beat that (at least in the San Francisco Bay Area).
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    Or loss-leader? We don't go below net in our ads, and most other dealers won't match them.

    Are you sure it wasn't $1200 off MSRP?

    There is always the chance it was a Brass Hat car, with another $500 taken for the miles.
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