Last post on Nov 02, 2006 at 7:19 AM
You are in the Subaru Forester
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Forester, Wagon
#5067 of 18028 Forester vs. Outback
Mar 17, 2002 (5:10 am)
I made this choice in 1999 and echo what Ken says. When we test drove, the Forester brought grins to my face. I hadn't expected that. I mostly drive alone, so enjoyment far outweighs rear seat room. (Our grown daughter grumbles about the back seat when she has to ride there, but really likes to drive the Forester.) We live in the northeast, so want the best all-weather mobility; lower weight is a key factor here. The Forester has very good "presence" on the road for a smaller car; I don't get ignored or pushed around by bigger vehicles.
I also chose the Forester for several other smaller, practical reasons:
- Real outside door handles. I can pull open the door after a night of freezing rain without risking damage to the handle.
- Roof rack/rail design. The loops at the ends of the roof rails make tying or bungee-cording things on much easier. I occasionally carry long building materials or a stepladder on top. The Forester roof rack is much more substantial than most others.
- Great headlights. For stock units, they're excellent.
- Fold-flat rear seats. I can sleep in the cargo area in a pinch because the rear seat cushion does not fold up and form a bulkhead at the front of the cargo area. This design is also more useful for storing small items in the rear footwells when the seats are down, an advantage.
At 93,000 miles I'm still very happy with my "S". No major problems. Some of the earliest Foresters had rear wheel bearing problems. Mine was built in November '98 and has been fine. One suggestion: Unless you're certain that your Subaru dealer cares about alignments and does a first-class job, budget in the $60 or so for a top-tier independent tire/suspension/alignment shop that does. Get it checked early on to avoid uneven tire wear & noise. Some Subarus have been coming out misaligned, something hard to establish with many of the dealers during the warranty period. Mine was, and I got it fixed after the OEM tires got noisy. I went to my local shop out-of-pocket after the dealer didn't respond. A few bucks to iron out a quirk, well worth the peace of mind and extended tire life. A number of us have posted this experience on these boards. That said, if I were in the market for a car this year, I'd go right out and buy another Forester. The friendly support on the Edmunds Subaru boards is also an unadvertised pleasure & benefit.
If you can wait a couple of months, the 2003 should bring even more refinement and a bit more back seat room and front seat travel. If not, there should be good deals on the 2002s. Good luck.
#5068 of 18028 old or new, what to do
Mar 17, 2002 (9:11 am)
The new forester will be more refined but likely have new car problems-it also will not by heavily discounted-i bout an old style 2002 as it is a total known quntity withno surprises and strong trrackrecord. also deal was very good.
Mar 17, 2002 (9:41 am)
True, you may be able to get a good deal on a 2002 once the 2003s hit the showrooms. However, many Subaru dealers already sell at a few hundred over invoice so the savings would not be as drastic as with other makes.
Good point about the 1st year issues. The 2003 is based on a completely new chassis so there can be the possiblity of some quirks as with any brand new model. However, the engine, drivetrain and most of the suspension are all carried over from the last generation so I wouldn't expect any major problems.
#5070 of 18028 Re: old or new, what to do
Mar 17, 2002 (10:56 am)
Sorry goose15 but Subaru isn't Ford. None of the current models experienced any significant new-car problems when they first debuted (take the WRX for example, totally new with virtually zero defects). If you look at the just released annual CR auto issue, the 98 Foresters (initial model introduction) have an excellent repair record and are a recommended used car buy.
So while you'd have to pay me to take a first year Detroit product, I wouldn't hesitate to plunk down my hard earned cash on a new Subaru product (or Toyota or Honda for that matter).
Regarding bargains on the 2002s... as Ken stated, you can already get a good deal on a 2002 and I predict that by late fall, the 2003s will be selling well below MSRP.
So... if you need to buy today, the 2002s are still good a deal. If you can possibly wait 6 months, the 2003s should be an even better deal. And if you're in no rush and want more HP, wait another year 1/2 until the 2004 turbos debut. In any case you'll end up with a winner.
#5071 of 18028 Here's my prediction...
Mar 17, 2002 (1:08 pm)
For the 2004 turbo forester:
Name: XST 2.0
Bhp: 247 6250 rpm
Torque: 226 lb. ft. 4000
Price: (starting at) $25000
Mar 17, 2002 (1:20 pm)
In Japan the turbo is called simply the "XT." Also, I seriously doubt we'll see 247 HP. That's 20 HP more than the WRX. I think 217 HP is what the home-market 2.0 XT gets.
Frankly, I still think we may get a 2.5 turbo.
Mar 17, 2002 (1:21 pm)
Michael- It's already been reported by a couple of sources that the Forester's turbo will be rated at 217hp with more torque at lower rpm's than that the WRX's turbo. 247hp would be sweet but would probably be overkill for this class.
Edit. Dang Bob, you beat me! Don't you ever log off?
Mar 17, 2002 (2:01 pm)
We actually own both, a 2000 OB Ltd and a 2002 Forester S. When I was shopping to urgently replace a 94 Blazer (another story, another time), I was actually looking at the Saturn L, Camry and OB. (I realize that all 3 are very different vehicles, but I was interested in them for varying reasons.) I test drove both the OB AND the Forester, and at the time was so impressed by the quiet, refined feel and ride of the OB. It wasn't that I disliked the Forester but that I just found the OB to be so smooth. This may be hard to believe but it reminded me of the Camry in how smooth and quiet it was but more fun to drive.
Roll forward to Sept. of last year and we now find ourselves needing to replace my wife's ride. After driving the OB a few times on snowy roads, my wife is sold on AWD. I suggest we take a look at some other optiosn just to satisfy curiousity and she won't have anything to do with it. The Forester was the perfect size for her. We rarely haul people in the back seat, so the space issue was not a concern.
I really enjoy driving her Forester because it is a ball to "throw around" and is a bit peppier than the OB. On the other hand, the OB is more of a "cruiser".
Sorry for the long post.
#5075 of 18028 Outback vs. Forester responses
Mar 17, 2002 (2:51 pm)
Folks, I don't know if Subaru realizes how many cars they probably sell because of the intelligent, coherent, and useful information y'all post here. Thanks VERY MUCH for this information!! I'm at this point favoring the Forester because of personal preferences as to handling, although I do like the Outback's ride. Believe it or not, I'll be replacing a Lincoln LS, a COMPLETELY different kind of vehicle, because of my place in the world of post-9/11 recession labor statistics. By the way, I LOVE the LS, and for Rocky Mt excursions we use our Explorer which has been 100% trouble free at 46,000 miles. Subarus have always been impressive to me, so the choice between the two is a nice dilemma to have. My wife hasn't set foot in a Subaru dealership yet, and we'll likely go do a test drive this week. Then we stuff the almost-12-year-old all-leg child in the back and see if she can fit.
Thanks again all very much!!
Mar 17, 2002 (3:11 pm)
You're more than welcome. Keep those questions coming. I think Subaru has caught on to our little group here. We have the privilege of having Patti Mickel from Subaru as a member of our group. I'm sure you'll see her posts sooner or later.
Going from a Lincoln LS to a Forester or even an OB doesn't seem too crazy to me. You're combining features of your LS and Explorer into one -- a nimbly handling AWD vehicle!
The nice thing about the Forester sharing platforms with the Impreza is that you have quite a few performance upgrades available to you. Some of us Forester owners here have upgraded the suspension parts for an even sportier ride.
Let us know how your test drives go. Subarus typically sell for a few percent over dealer invoice so make sure you shop around if possible.