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Changes You'd Like To See in the Subaru Forester



  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I found the new Forester X Sports on the Subaru website and all I can say is that they have given a new definition to "sports." Or perhaps it is an old definition a la GM where sport once meant a badge and few pieces of trim.

    The "Sports" model has an STI style front spoiler. Sport-Y perhaps and useful maybe at speeds over 120 mph, if the Forester did not have a speed limiter.

    The "Sports" model has DRUM brakes on the rear. (As long as we are going retro: What, no 4 barrel carb?)

    It does not seem to have any changes at all in suspension or engine. ("Sports" must mean going to WATCH the auto races).

    It has automatic climate control (does a "sports" vehicle take control AWAY from the driver?)

    It has the standard STEEL wheels. (How sporty is that? Unsprung weight? Whats that?)

    It does not have the useful heated seats and mirrors.

    It adds the premium radio with 6 disk in-dash changer (in the old days, sports type drivers cherished a radio delete option)

    I has black rather than tan or gray cloth upholstery (at least they didn't put in leather)

    It has a black grille with a "Sports" badge. (I thought Subaru broke up its relationship with GM.)

    Ok, Subaru, old "sport," WHY?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, I sense some double standards on your list. Heated seats aren't "sporty" if auto climate control isn't.

    Yes, it is an appearance package, but they figured out a way to lower the price without de-tuning the engine or suspension.

    The Sports XT model makes more sense, you can now get an XT for less, and the cloth seats are gripper. Plus, it still has alloys. You do give up the AWP though.

  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    Yep, on the X, it is just looks. The XT would seem to be the way to go. And for another 600 bucks you could put the STI springs on it for suspension...

    It is the only model to have oh what do you call it, variable traction control allowing it to make the safest list.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I agree, heated seats are not sporty, but they are practical - it's cold here (usually, anyway) and we really appreciate the built-in "bun warmers." :-)
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    The XT Sports does look like a great package. There must be a separate brochure for the Sports models because they are not in the regular Forester book.
  • The Sports XT is the way to go. Disc brakes all around, nice wheels, bun warmers, a welcome return to cloth seats...but I don't know if the suspension is any different than the "regular" 07 XT.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    so if you are looking for "sport" it just isn't there.

    No offense to forester owners who like to drive agressively, but rochcom wanting an all-out sports vehicle in the forester body, is kinda like a NASCAR Truck!

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Oh I disagree! The video from a British car magazine posted a while back that compared the Forester STi with the WRX STi shows just how "sporty" a properly configured Forester can be :D

  • driver56driver56 Posts: 408
    What I like about the Forester is that, properly configured, the wagon becomes a WOLF in sheeps clothing.
    You gotta' love that!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    anything you can do in a forester, you can do in an sTi better. Think about it. No matter what you will have aero against you. You will have weight up high against you.

    Not saying it can't handle well, but it's not designed as such. I mean yeah I could say the same of my armada, but no matter what you do it's still not a sports car.

  • otis12otis12 Posts: 171
    The 4-speed feels peppy off the line, but really, I think a 5-speed auto would help improve highway gas mileage. A 4-speed auto just seems outdated to me.
  • otis12otis12 Posts: 171
    One more thought: A forward-folding front passenger seat, for long items that I prefer not to put on the roof rack.
  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Mike- You're missing the point. Of course even the XT in STi trim isn't going to handle as well as a true sports car but it will defintely handle better than the vast majority of vehicles on the road today :P

    As Driver56 pointed out, one of the best things about the XT is that while it looks like your basic utilitarian vehicle, its performance is anything but! As the driver of a G35 found out the other morning when he tried to pass me ;)

  • It's not as convenient as a forward fold, but you can accomplish much the same effect by moving the passenger seat all the way forward, removing the headrest, and fully reclining the seatback. The top stump of the passenger seat *should* nestle against the bench of the rear seat.
  • Subaru does things that seem absolutely bizarre to me and it might cost them another sale (to me). They come out with a "Sports XT", adding VDC (finally...and a wonderful safety feature) and then they go and (1) delete foglights and replace the front bumper with something that looks silly (2) delete the heated windshield and mirrors (3) make roof crossbars optional and (4) limit the choices to 3 colors, none of which is my favorite. Forgetting about the colors and crossbars, they basically added one nice safety feature and removed two others. What kind of thinking is that? Why not just simply offer the VDC as an option on the XT Limited and add that ridiculous blue and make the anthracite cloth seats optional (the cloth works fine on my 2004 XT, which I prefer to leather). I heard they took away the heated seats on the Sports XT, but I can't confirm that - not that it matters, it makes me just want to keep my 2004 XT longer, since they've made some pretty stupid decisions since. The Outback is pretty nice, but this is a Forester discussion...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Are never a selling point nor should they be as OEM Fog lights are useless!

    As for the heated windshield? It's pretty expensive. I think they were trying to keep the price down yet add the expensive VDC to the equation.

  • I'm on my third Forester since 1999 and I hope we can agree to disagree, then! I'd like to find a reason to buy something I like more than my 2004 XT with 100K miles, but the Sports XT isn't it.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I have been on SOA's case about a bigger sedan for years or a coupe ala SVX. I've had to look elsewhere for my towing needs as well. Heck my only Subaru left is my race car!

  • kavoomkavoom Posts: 181
    >>Are never a selling point nor should they be as OEM Fog lights are useless!<<

    Try them on a dark country road some night and see how much further to the left and right you can see, as in critters deciding it is a good time to jump in front of you... And I would rather have a deer or other varmint in the headlights to one side of me than in front...

    Not a total solution, but it helps... and they do help in fog... And I didn't like the new small ones (looks) on the 06's forward, but they are better than the older ones...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My point was that OEM fogs compared to REAL fogs are pretty much useless, so it shouldn't be a deciding factor in buying a car. For $200 or less you can get a set of REAL GOOD fogs on your car and you'll realize that OEM fogs are really not a priority.

    On my vehicles (which I drive up in the Mts upstate NY with lots of critters) I always install good driving lights appropriate for each vehcile.

  • That SVX was some car. It came along before I was in a position to buy one. That "all glass" look probably won't ever be seen again.
  • I often think of those two lights under the headlights as "ditch lights" instead of fog lights, since they don't add much, but they do help a little and as you know, the ones that really do punch through the fog are probably not street-legal (even though a police officer would probably never ticket someone if that was the sole reason for a stop unless the lights were one step short of an arc-welder in intensity). I was so happy to see that Subaru finally put VDC in a Forester and then so frustrated to see what they cut in order to keep that price in some range. I would rather pay an extra $2000 and get an XT Limited with VDC and then maybe a $500 cut for ordering heated cloth seats instead of heated leather seats. That would be my perfect car, but Subaru, for some reason, does not allow much customization of its vehicles.
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I was also rather surprised at first that some features were removed and some added in a rather odd fashion. The fog lights on my old '98 are useful for lighting up the roadsides and tricky corners (they would make fair cornering lights if hooked up to the turn signals). But the low beam headlights, with the sharp upper beam cutoff, actually are pretty good in fog by themselves.

    The big problem with OEM fog lights is that they do NOT have a sharp upper OR lower beam cutoff. Therefore, they annoy oncoming drivers when they are used in anything other than fog conditions. Unfortunately, very many owners of vehicles with fogs leave them on all of the time. The result is that the upper cone of light is directly in the path of oncoming traffic and the lower portion reflects off rain or snow covered road surfaces and also tends to blind the oncoming driver.

    I came to buy a Subaru Forester after owning 4 Saabs. The GMization of Saab resulted in some illogical decisions and a loss of quality and so I was pushed to find something better.

    The reason I bought Saabs in the first place was that they were very practical and sturdy vehicles that were well suited to my driving environment. They were not sporty (except for the SPG) and had somewhat less than average power. But the total package was great including seat heaters, high quality cloth upholstery and a total package that made sense. My original Forester was the same (with the addition of the then optional Winter Driving Package).

    Unfortunately, marketers tend to dream of upscale buyers whose purchasing decisions are relatively recession-proof and so they package the product to appeal to that segment. That is what happened to Saab and that seems to be what is happening to Subaru. So, when you price the package that makes the most sense as a premium item, you have to remove some of the sensible things in order for those buying at the high end to avoid feeling that they are paying too much for their package. Thus, those of us who do not want certain high end features end up having to sacrifice some of the practical items as well to get a lower price.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    For me, when looking at a new vehicle, generally I look for features that I can't easily add/replace with aftermarket items as "must haves".

    For instance on my Armada, I bought the LE model but without the moonroof and navigation. Those 2 options saved me close to 6000 off the sticker price. I felt that if I really wanted a roof, I could add one in the aftermarket for around $1000-1500 later on. As for the navigation, I added my carputer for around $1000, and could have added an in-dash until from crutchfield for around $1000-1500 if I really wanted to.

    The reasons for going for the LE over the SE for me were the puddle lights (not easily added aftermarket), interior lights, towing package (impossible to add aftermarket), and leather (not cheaply added aftermarket) with only a slight increase in price of the LE over the SE model.

    The same would go for me on the Forester in terms of the VDC, that is not something you can add later on in any size/shape or form, so I see that as a good thing. Things like leather/heated seats, moonroofs, and especially fog/driving lights can always be upgraded later on in my opinion.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    anything you can do in a forester, you can do in an sTi better. Think about it. No matter what you will have aero against you. You will have weight up high against you.

    One thing much better done in a Forester XT than in a WRX STi: avoiding law enforcement attention. The taller vehicle has a lower profile, so to speak. (Aside: not long ago I was following an STi down an interstate and noticed the STi's rear wing vibrating up and down at speed. It made me question its value; perhaps it needed to be made of carbon fiber? ;) )

    On topic: There's not much I can add to the discussion as to what the Forester needs that hasn't been already written. An additional gear or two in the AT, along with the Sportshift manual shift option, are something I've clamored for for years. I also wanted to see VTD/VDC, if only to get the AT Foresters into more of a RWD bias. From what I've read thus far, not everyone is sold on those features in the '07 models, so maybe I should go drive one myself to be sure.

    I'm more on board as to what I don't want to see in the next Forester. Please don't make it much larger, in the RAV-4/Outlander vein; there's no need to stuff a third row of seats in it - that's what the Tribeca was for, after all! CR-V sized is fine so long as it retains its current handling characteristics. (I'm concerned that between the Tribeca and the next Impreza hatches, there may not be a need for the Forester in the model lineup; but why would Subaru kill the model with the highest rate of repeat ownership?)

    Please also do not succumb to the current styling trend of sweeping the rear sheetmetal upwards and widening the C- and D-pillars such that rear visibility is reduced. Very few cars offer the excellent all-round (especially to the rear) outward visibility of the Forester. Several people who have ridden in my car have remarked on that to me, including some who I don't consider "car people" who pick up on details like that. I'd hate to see that disappear in the name of style.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Ed, I'm pretty much in agreement with all you said. I really don't think you need to worry about, if gets larger, it will no longer be fun to drive.

    The EVO is larger than the WRX, and it handles just fine&#151;and I haven't heard anyone complain about how the 108.7" wheelbase 3-Series BMW handles.

    It really comes down to suspension tuning, and how FHI/SOA want to deal with that. I say keep it sporty, as it currently is. :)

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I agree, you'll avoid the cops more in a Forester than an STi, but how fast are you guys going on the highway? I mean I cruise at 75-80 all day long and put on 20-30k miles a year and rarely get pulled over driving the Armada or the Legacy. We'll see when I get the GTO how that works out though....

  • I have a 2004 forester... former jeep owner.

    While I love the forester it is just too small to really compete in the American market... Sure older folks and women love the car.... but the forester was finally dethroned by honda, and toyota as their own small SUVs have become larger; even coming with a 3rd row of seats...

    Americans are big people and to really catch the demographic of folks who want a reliable, environment ally friendly, and capable SUV you need a vehicle that is pushing the midsize ranger.

    Even if the forester grew to the size of lets say... a nissan murano or the new Santa fe

    subaru is the only car company I know who makes their cars on the same small platforms... Toyota has the rav 4, the highlander and so forth, but subaru builds the forester on another small platform.

    The forester is due to be redesigned in 2008. There are whispers of it being enlarged.... However I am skeptical subaru is committed to truely updating this vehicle. However if they want to stay competitive with toyota and honda (and even the new santa fe and outlander are larger and getting good reviews) they are going to have to do a serious redesign.
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