Last post on Oct 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Future Vehicle, Wagon
#441 of 3747 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift
Mar 13, 2008 (11:27 am)
Finally got a chance to get behind the wheel.
First thing I noticed is that it felt familiar. Despite growth in each dimension, it's still a Forester. I felt at home, having owned the a 1998 model for 9 years. Still miss it, come to think of it.
Visibility is fantastic. Narrow pillars plus a huge green house give you a panoramic view, one made even more obvious when driving out in public roads, and then parking it after the test. Competitors could learn a lot from Subaru - you can see every corner of this car. No need for a backup cam.
And that's a good thing because I was told the GPS option will not come with a backup cam. Given the camera itself only costs $100, and the GPS is a pricey option, this is a mistake. It could help you line up a trailer hitch, for instance.
Inside, I really like the new interior. It still has good ergonomics but a dash of flair was added. Both of my elbows found nicely padded surfaces when I rested them, a big relief given my '98 hit 2 hard surfaces. The stereo could be better but Subaru has never paid much attention to that, and I heard the LL Bean model gets a better system.
The seats are a lot different than mine. Less side support, not nearly as stiff. I liked the old seats better, especially for aggressive driving, but my wife said she liked these new seats a lot more. They have more padding, but less side support. This model had a black cloth that was attractive and looked very durable. It's not the type of fabric that grips your body and gives you static shocks when you exit the car. I prefer a more velvety texture on cloth seats, but this seems more durable and makes it easier to slide in and out of the seat.
The rear seat was also nice, though really meant for 2 in comfort. With the front seat all the way back I verified that my knees do not hit the front seatback when I wiggle them.
The moonroof is still huge. Thank you.
The tinted windows look good. Not too dark, in fact I they seem lighter than most OE tint, though perhaps that's just the large green house.
OK, so how does it drive?
Slide the shift in to Drive, then left and it goes into Sport mode. Tap it up or down to change a gear. Hit the gas and 170 horses move it along better than this same engine does in the Legacy. We will probably get this engine, as opposed to the turbo, so to me it's not lacking and 20/26 mpg sounds good when oil just hit $111 per barrel.
The SportShift was a pleasant surprise. It responds very quickly. I remember hating how slow some tap shift autos were - some times taking 2 seconds to shift. This one completes the shift in about half a second. The only better TipTronic I've sampled was connected to a Porsche. High praise for SportShift.
There is less body roll than before. It really stays flat. This was a mild test drive so I could not push very hard, but I definitely got the impression that this suspension is sportier than before.
Ride was good, in fact you hear but do not feel the pot holes. I think the test model had too much air in the tires, as it was all tire noise. Wind noise was largely absent, though I probably only hit 45-50 mph, no high speeds to test those new door frames.
The steering wheel felt beefy and had a lot more feel than the Toyota I'm driving now. That may not say much, but Subaru has always shined in this area and they still do.
Love the trip computer! I have one in my van and wasn't sure if it would have it. It was displaying average MPG.
* no backup cam with GPS
* mouse fur headliner
* sun visor was cheap plastic (durable, but not very pretty)
* auto should have a 5th ratio
Mostly nit-pics, really. And I wonder if the LL Bean and XT will get a nicer headliner or visor.
I left feeling very pleased with the update. It felt familiar, yet incrementally better in every way than the Forester I have fond memories of. I can't help but think this will be a hit for Subaru. Their timing may be bad, with slow auto sales overall, but I have little doubt that this Forester will be in demand for a while to come.
I'm pretty certain we'll have an LL Bean model in our driveway soon. $1600 Subaru Bucks, a gauranteed trade-in program scheduled for April, and a good first impression have nearly sealed the deal. All that's left is for my wife to drive one.
It's her car.
#442 of 3747 Re: '09 Forester accessory brochure pdf [p0926]
Mar 13, 2008 (11:31 am)
Really? How many people who drive MTs actually rest their left foot on the clutch pedal? I find the "dead pedal" valuable on any car that has a low/reclined seating position. Higher-sitting vehicles, like minivans, vans, and pickups do not need the pedal because flat on the floor is a natural position to rest one's feet. In a car, though, having that angled support is very comfortable.
I trained myself out of using the one on my '08 Outback so I would keep my foot within the protective borders of the MacNeil WeatherTech floorliners. It was somewhat annoying and would definitely be uncomfortable for long trips. The advantage for me, though, was that I did not have to clean the dead pedal's surface when I sold it and I did not stain the carpeting around it. That car was immaculate when I sold it, and that is not easy to do with a light-interior car over a Fairbanks winter.
The "dead pedal" is not AT only. My '07 Outback with MT had a dead pedal, and it was well used when not shifting gears. I will post a photo in a sec, but CarSpace is acting up again.
#443 of 3747 Re: 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift [ateixeira]
Mar 13, 2008 (11:35 am)
Looking forward to when you bring it over, so we can show Deb, and do a side-by-side comparo with her '01 Forester
#444 of 3747 Re: 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift [rsholland]
Mar 13, 2008 (11:39 am)
Sounds good. We'll see how easy it is to back down the driveway from hell.
(FYI for others: it's dark, narrow, and twists, oh and it does down hill)
#445 of 3747 Re: 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift [ateixeira]
Mar 13, 2008 (11:46 am)
Nice review, juice. Sounds like they are definitely moving in the right direction with the Forester.
#446 of 3747 Re: 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift [xwesx]
Mar 13, 2008 (11:49 am)
I think so. They managed to go a little more mainstream yet somehow kept the old car's character, so that someone trading up from an old one won't be turned off.
#447 of 3747 Re: '09 Forester accessory brochure pdf [xwesx]
Mar 13, 2008 (12:46 pm)
How many people who drive MTs actually rest their left foot on the clutch pedal?
The "dead pedal" is not AT only. My '07 Outback with MT had a dead pedal, and it was well used when not shifting gears.
Wes- you misunderstood me. My point was that having a dead pedal is more useful when driving a stick
#448 of 3747 Re: 2009 Subaru Forester X Premium w/SportShift [ateixeira]
Mar 13, 2008 (2:42 pm)
a gauranteed trade-in program scheduled for April,
Do tell...I was just asking about this, and was told that there would not be a guaranteed trade-in program on the '09 Forester. Is that not the case?
#449 of 3747 Re: '09 Forester accessory brochure pdf [p0926]
Mar 13, 2008 (3:03 pm)
Hahah, yes, Frank, I did misunderstand!
I imagine you gathered this, but I thought you meant the dead pedal was more useful on AT cars where the owner had experience with a manual.
#450 of 3747 Re: '09 Forester accessory brochure pdf [xwesx]
Mar 13, 2008 (3:07 pm)
So how many AT-only models have dead pedals? I think it's when you drive a MT that you really value having dead pedal.
Holy heck. Reading your post again, I have no idea how I came to that conclusion.