Last post on Nov 02, 2006 at 7:19 AM
You are in the Subaru Forester
What is this discussion about?
Subaru Forester, Wagon
#8206 of 18028 Decisions Decisions Decisions
Oct 20, 2002 (5:02 pm)
If there is such a thing as too much research, I've done it.
My present car is a 1999 Ford Contour V6 Sport Edition with ABS. The car is 4 years old, and, I am just getting tired of it. I usually keep cars till just before they die, with previous cars being kept 7 and 9 years.
All the research indicates that among the safest, most reliable cars built today are the Subarus.
I love the Forester. It meets almost every single criteria I have for a car.
It's the right size. I live in a city and finding parking can be difficult.
It's roomy so I can move lots of stuff around.
The EPA mileage estimates are good. The cruising range is good.
Handling is good. Not what I can do with the Contour, but good.
BUT... after test driving two vehicles, there was leg pain in the calves. I have never experienced this before. Are the Forester seats shorter? Has anyone else experienced this?
I also checked on the Legacy wagons and the Outback. The outback in particular is a very nice car. I thought the Forester was quieter and smoother, and had a better driving position.
Then my dark, cheap side asks, "But if the Forester is built on an Impreza platform, with basic Impreza guts, why not just get that?"
So there you have it. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Oct 20, 2002 (5:17 pm)
forester is just a higher squarer body style on an impreza platform, but there are certainly other differences between them options-wise, etc. Mainly, there is a lot more space in a forester than an impreza.
The seat cushions are a little short, if you are of the tall persuasion. personally, this never bugged me that much, but I am not very tall. I will say that this is the case on a lot of the Japanese vehicles out there today...
#8208 of 18028 Check Engine light
Oct 20, 2002 (6:18 pm)
Wouldn't you know it. 60k miles w/out a single problem out of my Forester. I got my 60K service a week ago. Well, today the Check Engine light came on. It blinked three times and stayed on. I hope it's something related to the emissions system. I put gas in a few days ago and always make sure the gas cap is on tight. The light came on today so I doubt it's related to the gas cap. Oh well, I'll call the dealer tomorrow after I run to Auto Zone and have them hook up their diagnostic computer. Hope that gives me an idea of what's going on. The Subaru dealer I use is 45 miles away. I guess I'll just have to make another trip.
#8209 of 18028 Tough call
Oct 20, 2002 (6:32 pm)
I'm not sure anybody can really answer the Imprezza v Forester (or OBS v Forester) question for someone else, but, having been down that road, I guess I'd look at a) whether the options available on the Forester are important to you, b) whether the extra room you get in the back with the Forester's squared off shape is important (my math says 15% bigger based on Edmunds info), and c) how much you like the fact that the Forester looks (at least subjectively IMO) to be a more substantial car. I don't believe there is any difference in terms of room other than in the cargo area, but I could be wrong.
What's really hard to judge for another person too is how important the extra $$$ for the Forester, probably compounded by sales tax and interest charges, are. I would imagine most people with a fair amount of cash in their pocket would opt to spend the extra, especially if one of the reasons above applies, but there will always be others whose philosophy is to save wherever possible, and the fact is the "guts" of the cars, as someone said, are pretty much the same.
Oct 20, 2002 (11:33 pm)
have you seen the sunroof in the Forester? That was the deciding factor for getting the Forester. But the main differences on the forester besides the huge sunroof is the extra space and extra ground clearance. Even though the two cars are almost identical in specs, they both drive a little bit differently. And I don't know if the Forester is just an impreza with a different body, at least it didn't use to be. I think the Forester used to share some components with the larger Outback, but maybe the new ones are different. You just have to drive both of them and decide whether you really want to spend more money for the extra room or ground clearance. Did I mention the huge sunroof? For me, the price difference was insignificant by the time I added everything I wanted that I didn't really have a tough decision. But, there will come a time when you'll wish you had just a little more room or a little more ground clearance. And, I doubt if you'll ever wish that your car was a little smaller or lower.
#8211 of 18028 Forester vs. OBS
Oct 21, 2002 (7:26 am)
When we first started looking at cars we test drove a Forester and an OBS. The OBS was considerably smaller inside. We have 2 kids (8 and 5 years old), and they had trouble being comfortable in the back seat. In the front, my shin kept banging against something when I would move my foot from the accelerator to the brake. I had the front seat all the way back (I'm 5'10") and it still felt very cramped. There is really only one functioning cup holder in the OBS (vs. 4 in the Forester).
Then we tested a Forester X. We could feel the difference as we got in - it is just roomier. The kids claim the back seat is more comfortable, and I know the front seat is.
We, too, are trying not to spend more than we have to. But, as my husband pointed out, you get so much more for the $1000 or so more you spend for a Forester, it just doesn't make sense to consider the OBS anymore.
Oct 21, 2002 (7:44 am)
"I doubt if you'll ever wish that your car was smaller or lower."
Well, you might. Smaller cars cost less to buy, license and run. In this society it is common for people to drive around in huge empty vans or SUVs every day, vans whose capacity is put to good use perhaps once every other week when the family takes a trip. If we all choose to drive large cars whose capacity is rarely needed, both we and "the planet" pay some kind of price.
Lower cars generally handle better than cars that sit high off the highway. It is possible to modify a car with stiffer antisway bars to help it hold its composure during turns, but the same vehicle will corner better if it is low to the ground than if it is set up high. I personally need the extra ground clearance of a SUV to drive some of the places I go, but that is true of very few drivers whose cars are set up high. Higher cars give a better view of the road, which is nice, and can be easier to enter and exit than cars that sit low to the ground.
My only point: smaller *can* be better. Lower *can* be better.
Oct 21, 2002 (8:44 am)
Let your needs decide. If you can use the extra space, get the Forester. You get a lot more head room, and about double the useful cargo space.
The OBS has more features than a Forester X. Those alloys are nice, for instance. It's light and sporty, and if you drive alone most of the time and don't need the space, go for it.
On the gears, reverse and 1st and actually right next to each other, physically, on the tranny. A while back Colin went as far as to show us a photo of the tranny insides. So if you go to 1st, then reverse, it has a shorter path to travel and engages quite easily. Though I'll admit I'm lazy by nature and never do this, and it's still fine.
Lou: get comfy first. A comfortable driver's seat is so important that I would recommend you buy something else if you can't sort it out. The new seats ratchet up like VWs, so try the full length of adjustments.
CEL right after 60k service? Could be a coincidence, or the dealer goofed doing something. There are tools you can buy that hook up to a Palm, if you know any gear heads they might have one. They can usually read and reset codes.
Did my tire rotation last night. 48k miles total, 20k so far on these tires. They look great, in fact they'll last another 40k miles at least, it seems. Nitto NT460, very good overall, just not in snow.
Also sprayed some lithium grease on the sway bar bushings. Yes, it's quiet, but better safe than sorry. There were dry.
My brake pads look good, too, in fact they seem like they'll last more than 100k miles. All this and quiet operation, I'm in heaven.
Lovin' my Subie.
#8214 of 18028 Interior Room
Oct 21, 2002 (8:46 am)
Per Edmunds, here are the interior stats for 2003 Forester and OBS (presumably also other imprezzas). First number is Forester (inches):
Front headroom: 39/39.7
Front hip room: 51.6/53.3
Front Shoulder room 53.5/52.7
Front legroom 43.7/42.9
Rear headroom 37/37.3
Rear hip 51.6/51.7
Rear shoulder 53.6/52.9
Rear leg 33.7/33.7
It's unclear to me whether headroom #s factor in a sunroof on the Forester. For me, differences of less than an inch are essentially insignificant. I'd have to stick by my earlier comment that, room wise, the cargo area is where the difference is-a difference of 15%.
Oct 21, 2002 (8:58 am)
Numbers don't tell the whole story, though.
I have hauled an oversized clothes washer home, still in the box. Hatch closed.
The Forester is square-backed and can fit very large boxes that an Impreza couldn't hope to haul.
In fact, the entire greenhouse is very tall and boxy, and creates an open and airy feeling, so it *feels* twice as big, even though it's not.
Personally, I feel a little claustrophobic in the back seat of a WRX wagon, so does my wife. I couldn't talk her into one for that reason.