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Subaru Forester, Future Vehicle, Wagon
#3044 of 3747 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle
Feb 21, 2009 (9:52 am)
Hello everyone. Have been enjoying the readings here for a while. It's my first post so, please be patient. I need an objective advice. I'm in the market to buy a vehicle. Not in a hurry, still have my 2002 Kia Spectra, which is a pretty awful car. So, I am in need for a space (my wife is a musician and we need to be able to fit her cello in the trunk or on the back sit without angling or bending it.) But also, on average, I put 30 to 40 K on my car a year, so the gas mileage is crucial. I live in MI. Winters are extreme here. Originally, I was planning on buying whether Prius or Camry Hybrid. But, with my recent experience of hitting the black ice multiple times this year, I have switched my attention yo the AWD or 4WD. I have recently test drove the Ford Escape 4WD(I assume, the hybrid version gives you the same drive quality) and the Subaru's Forester X and Outback 2.5i 2009. I liked the responsiveness of Forester better then ford or Outback. So, my question is, with the amount of mileage and the rough winter would I go with the hybrid over the conventional? Is it really that much difference between FWD and AWD/4WD? And if you do suggest a hybrid way, would the 2010 Prius be a good choice for me in regards of space requirements? I thank you all for being kind to a newby and appreciate any feedback.
#3045 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 21, 2009 (10:14 am)
AWD or 4WD will not save you on black ice, as there is no traction to be had in that circumstance. AWD/4WD will get you going in the snow much easier, but have little or no effect in braking. It may be a bit better in going around corners, only because a 4 tires are grabbing for traction—but you can still skid if you're not careful.
If I lived in MI I would certainly have AWD. It just makes getting around in the snow that much easier. My sister-in-law lives in NH, and they get a lot of snow too. They used to have several FWD Saabs, and now own two AWD Subaru Outbacks. She and her husband say the Subies are so much better than the Saab in those conditions.
Subarus are very popular in snow-belt states. Not sure about MI, as there is so much pressure to buy domestic vehicles there; but if you go to New England or out to the Rockies, they're all over the place.
There's no question that a hybrid will get better gas mileage than a Subaru. My wife's '01 Forester gets in the mid-20 mpg range, which is respectable, but certainly not in the hybrid range. You just have to decide which is more important to you: getting around easily in the winter or great gas mileage.
#3046 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 21, 2009 (1:51 pm)
In my opinion AWD/4WD. I live in Wisconsin and can vouch that AWD/4WD will get you around better and safer in winter. You can still get stuck in drifts, but it takes a lot more snow to get you stuck. Black ice is still dangerous, like the other poster said, nothing really helps (unless your running studded tires). In Wisconsin, only emergency vehicles can use studded tires.
I drove a 2005, Escape for about 50,000 miles. I got the 4-cylinder version because of the reliability of that engine (I've got a 4-cylinder 1995 Ranger approaching 300,000 miles with only oil changes and spark plugs for the engine). Decided to I needed a new car after T-boning a vehicle that ran a stop sign. The Escape did a very good job of protecting me since it was a 65 mph crash on cruise control and no time to hit the brake.
I chose a 2009 Forester X (5sp Manual) over a 2009 Escape because I could get manual transmission and a couple of miles per gallon better performance. After about 10K miles I can say they drive very similar, your view of the road is about the same, ground clearance and winter driving performance virtually the same. I found both 4-cylinders to be adequate and a good compromise between power and fuel economy.
I could not afford (or justify) going to an Escape Hybrid. I also put on ~30K miles a year (spread over two vehicles).
If you drive around with free range dogs, you will find the center console in the Forester loses that new look in about one trip to the grocery store. The dogs' toenails will leave a lasting impression.
#3047 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [smudgejet]
Feb 21, 2009 (2:20 pm)
Thanks everybody for your replies. It's very helpful. I'm not sure if this is the right place, but let me ask you a very important question. What is the best time to buy a Forester, considering that I want the new one (ore with no more then 5000 miles on it?) I am not in a hurry, so should I wait until the 2010 release? I'm hoping they'll fix the interior quality and some other quirks. Thanks for the input.
#3048 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 22, 2009 (6:56 am)
Best time to by a Forester? That's a bit tough to say.
Right now, in this miserable economy, is probably the best time to buy any vehicle, as the dealers and automakers are begging for customers. Having said that, the new 2010 Forester has won a number of important awards, and it's winter time. Both those items will hurt customers when comes time to negotiate pricing. The simple fact is the new Forester is wildly popular, and Subaru dealers are having no trouble selling them; the new Forester is the main reason that Subaru sold more cars last year. You may want to consider an Outback instead, as you may(?) be able to get a better deal on that model.
As to buying a used Forester, I would advise against that, only because the new 2010 model is so much better than older models. It's a bit larger than older models which translates to being much roomier inside. The older Forester, while being an excellent car, has been long criticized for being rather cramped inside—especially for rear passengers. I suspect, if you end up buying an older model, you may regret it for that very reason.
Also, there are just a ton of tiny details that are just better executed on the 2010 model. The increased interior room and the improved refinement (quieter and more comfortable) would have me opting for the new model.
Finally, whatever Subaru you decide to purchase, make sure it has the All-Weather Package, which includes heated seats, heated outside mirrors (dries the mirrors in the rain and snow so that you can use them), and a windshield deicer (keeps the front wipers from icing up). Living in MI, you will really appreciate those features.
FWIW, I just found this write up on the new Forester:
http://www.examiner.com/x-2102-Denver-Autos-Examiner~y2009m2d21-2009-Subaru-Fore- - ster-X-Premium-Package
Note: He's incorrect about not having a reclining rear seat. Only base models are lacking that feature.
#3050 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [rsholland]
Feb 22, 2009 (9:37 am)
I posted some figures on Escape .vs. Forester a few topics back in this thread. The conclusion was that while the Hybrid will save money wrt day-day use, the overall expense of the hybrid takes a while to earn back. Where the hybrid earns its keep is in-city, stop-go or hilly situations. On the highway there is not much difference.
Wrt AWD .vs. FWD, in Portland both a friend and I drove FWD cars and continually had problems with the front tires skidding, or the vehicles being unable to get up wet or snowy hills. By comparison, the '09 XT I drive, outfitted with Nokian WTG2's, surmounted one of the worst winter storms hitting Portland in years (one that snowbound my friend, Prius owners and many others). Black ice remains a danger, but the Nokians reduce it somewhat.
The only surprise I had in winter was that the Forester, supposedly biased towards its front wheels, had a tendency on icy roads to swing its rear end out during hard acceleration. It wasn't hair trigger - I had to deliberately provoke it by hard acceleration. But it's something to be careful about.
#3051 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 22, 2009 (9:52 am)
With the deals people in the US are able to get, (below invoice pricing), I would jump on one as soon as you find a model that has the features you want.
You folks, in the States, are very lucky with your new car pricing. Can't get those kind of deals up here, (Canada). If all the big auto-makers start cutting production, it will increase demand, and drive up the price. Basic supply and demand. Right now, there is excess supply, so get in on a deal, as soon as you can.
My wife bought an '09 F-XT back in August. She got the car she wanted for the price she was willing to pay. It's a great CUV.
#3052 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 23, 2009 (12:05 am)
I regularly read the newspaper ads and keep up with the latest car sales. I have
never seen so many amazing deals, especially in the compact SUV segment,
which is very competitive due to the wide array of choices. Some dealers/mfrs are
offering MSRP discounts of $8K-$10K (Hyundai, KIA, Jeep, etc).
I bought my '09 Forester last Feb, and because it was a new model in short supply
I knew the dealer wouldn't negotiate much. So I purchased it thru the non-negotiated VIP pricing program (my relative works for Subaru region), and I feel I
got a decent deal (about $22K).
In late Dec the Pacific NW got with a major snowstorm. My GF wound up
with her BMW (w/ traction tires) stuck off the roadside. Then she experienced my
Forester getting thru some amazing snowdrifts etc and she decided it was time...
to buy a Forester. We checked the newspapers, and wound up at Subaru dealer in
Oregon City. She purchased an '09 Forester X with M/T, Premium & All Weather
packages. Her price: $500 less than my VIP pricing! (and I didn't get the AWP).
AND - she got to donate $250 to her charity of choice. AND - we got 2 Fusion
Mt Hood season ski passes (value:$800 +/-).
Bottom Line: while noone knows what the future will hold, now is a great time to
buy a new CUV. And although Subaru hasn't been as aggressively discounting as
some other brands, if you do the research and cross-shop your local dealers
smartly, there are great deals to be had on 09 Foresters. And I don't think there
is any overwhelming reason to wait for an '10 model. Most of the early model gripes
noted here in this forum have been addressed as running changes to the '09's (wiring not secured; fender protectors too small, etc). And the big changes (like
5SP A/T or diesel boxer) are still a ways off in the future... Further, Foresters traditionally have very high resale value, so for the small amount you might save I
wouldn't recommend buying a used one.
Hope my 2 cents helps, and Good Luck!
#3053 of 3747 Re: 2009 Forester vs a hybrid vehicle [shelant]
Feb 23, 2009 (11:12 am)
I like the Prius but they start at $22.5k and if that's big enough for you, so is an Impreza 2.5i 5 door, and someone just paid $16k for one of those according to the Prices Paid thread.
You won't recover $6,500 in gas costs any time soon.
Foresters starts just under $20k, but step up to the all-weather package that Bob recommended and you'll spend $23k and change.
It's bigger and better equipped than a Prius would be at that price, and you'll be able to get around in winter.
Camry hybrid is a sedan and may not be a good car to haul your cello. I don't think the rear seats fold down.
Escape hybrid's financials don't make sense, even if gas spikes to $4 per gallon, see the numbers above.
But the real reason you should get a Forester is because you drove it and liked the responsiveness. If you ever feel unsure about the purchase just turn on the seat heaters in the middle of your next snow storm and you can put those doubts to rest.