Last post on Jun 26, 2003 at 6:27 PM
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Subaru Baja, Toyota Tacoma, Exterior, Engine, Interior, Truck
#27 of 32 More heresy from the Subaru fanatic
Jun 25, 2003 (1:45 pm)
"My suggestion? Keep the old pickup to tow on those rare occasions, and get the Forester XT instead. But a Baja turbo is about as close as you'll get to a car that can meet all your needs."
Unfortunately, I don't have garage or driveway space for three vehicles. I want something that is somewhat safe for carrying my daughter and son in, which the regular cab, 1988 Toyota is not. Our towing is limited to a camping trailer, so the tow vehicle needs to be able to carry four people.
Then Juice said:
"How is the gearing? Well, the XT redline 2nd gear at just 53 mph, so that's pretty short. I think the Baja gets the same final drive and similar ratios, so it too should be geared pretty short for towing."
I would still get the automatic for towing though. The VTD with "Sportshift" sounds like the best automatic Subaru has ever made (OK, maybe not saying much). With a transmission cooler and trans temp guage I think this would be very reliable and tolerably responsive.
Final drive on this model is 4.44:1, with a fairly normal 1st gear and really good low end torque. This should be quite good at towing. I do wish they put the gear ratios from the 2003 Legacy GT which are about 20% lower in first and 10% lower in second, with the same VTD gearbox.
#28 of 32 more input...
Jun 25, 2003 (10:59 pm)
I can see why you are facing this decision. It boils down to your driving habits and needs...
Had we not gotten the Forester last year, i might've been in similar shoes, contemplating Baja Turbo vs. Tacoma double cab. I went from a 1995 Tacoma 4x4 to a Forester because of the percentages you mentioned in your post. I was really driving the 4x4 roads <5% of time while the rest of the time it was the daily driver. We also do a lot of long-distance trips and Tacoma is not a highway car... the flip side is I'll always miss getting muddy on nasty rocky backcountry roads when going hunting. hey, what are friends for that week of the year?
Instead of lamenting what I can't do in my Forester, I am always pleasantly surprised at the things I can do. Just last weekend I was up in the mountains on norhtern NM, at the end of a 12 mile muddy road camping in a herd of Dodges, Chevies, and Ford trucks. Have i ever bottomed out? No. Stuck. No. We took our friends and all of our gear and got 30.3mpg for the trip. Fun driving the Forester on a windy mountain road: priceless!
I thought of getting the Baja at first, but there was not much word on turbo and i felt that the NA 2.5 liter engine on a Forester (which weighs IIRC 600lbs less) would do much more in comparo to the Baja. The new turbo engine overcomes the power/weight issue, although there is an issue (or rather a very HOT topic, see Forester Turbo here on Edmunds) about EPA estimates on mileage. I'd hold the judging until we get estimates from real drivers after 10,000 miles. EPA kindly estimated my Forester at 21/27 and 13,100 miles later my overall average is 26.3mpg...
Get Baja Turbo AT and you get LSD in back and VTD. i miss the LSD in the Forester.
Having a nice AT would be handy for not burning your clutch going slow or pulling that trailer. the Baja get 2,400lbs rating regardless of the tranny, so pulling shouldn't be a problem. Speaking of which, make sure you go overkill on AT cooler and use synthetic oils, etc. then you are ready to go, no worries. I wouldn't worry too much about being close to the towing limits, etc. Sure, a frame-based truck will tow better than a car, but if you go to Europe or Australia and see what people haul with their cars, you'd have much more confidence...
I researched a bit on the net about towing with the Forester and of course i found ppl who would not think to tow anything but a utility trailer with a X-mas tree. However, I was unswayed by the philosophy that automakers use here in USA: you NEED more power, bigger is better, get a Silverado 2ton to tow that camper! etc... it's so much hype that today your std car has to be "V-6" or better yet "V-8".
I'll end my monologue by saying that in your shoes, I'd go with the Baja Turbo, get King Springs to get a 1.5" lift and a stiffer backend, and talk A.R.E. into making a taller cap for the Baja so you can load it up for the trips (BTW, A.R.E. does have a cap for the Baja). As for the tires, you probably won't be able to get 15" rims because of large brake rotors, but check into Pirelli Scorpion S/T tires. Seems like a good tire and comes in your size (almost). For those days where you need to zip around town or make long highway trips, you'll be glad you got the Subaru. For those roads where the Toyota with a Torsen diffy would come in handy you can get out the mountain bikes and make everyone in your family breathe some non-airconditioned air.
Jun 26, 2003 (3:25 am)
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Jun 26, 2003 (6:17 am)
I think the VTD would be nice for towing, you could for instance pick a lower gear for engine braking down those long descents.
If you end up with a Forester, well, I've had 2 6'x8' sections of fence on the roof rack. Also, I've carried 5 sheets of 3/8" thick plywood on that roof. It's not a pickup, but it works for small jobs.
For bigger jobs I borrow a trailer.
#31 of 32 roof rack,?? hehe
Jun 26, 2003 (9:21 am)
car or truck??? simple question.
Jun 26, 2003 (6:27 pm)
This is only a reference, but the Forester XT hit 60 in 5.3 seconds in C&D tests. That gives you an idea of how torquey the 2.5T engine is. That's quicker than a Honda S2000!