Last post on Oct 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Future Vehicle, Wagon
#548 of 3748 2008 or 2009 Forester
Mar 23, 2008 (7:25 pm)
I thought I would consult with the Subaru Crew for wisdom on the current choices. I have been looking at smaller SUVs to replace my 2001 Trooper. I will be driving many more miles for work and I need better gas mileage. Trooper gets like 13 city and 17 highway. But I still need the utility of an SUV. I have been looking at all of the possible options within a few thousand price range, CR-V, RAV4, Forester, Santa Fe. Murano. I have driven the RAV4 with the V6. The salesman talked me into a test drive. The V6 is pretty quick. But I found that the RAV4 pretty jumpy on a rough road. Also the visibility is not that great on the RAV4 and I would prefer to get a hatchback rather than the swing-out door. Yes my Trooper has that and it can be a pain when trying to load large items. And I have read posts that the CR-V is underpowered. I really like the utility of the Forester. I live in Florida but am considering moving to NC or MA in the next few years. So deep snow and steep slippery roads are a possibility in my future. Plus the rain and slippery roads are always ever present in Florida. Santa Fe seems good. My friend has one. Interesting that it's 700 lbs heavier than the Forester. But its a bigger car and they are giving the 2008's away. Problem is the resale value. Murano is very luxurious but it is alot more money if you want one with leather. And I am not sure how I feel about the CVT. I have heard good and bad. I have also considered waiting for the 2009 Jetta Sportswagen Clean Diesel coming out in volume as reported in August September. It would be great to get 50mpg. But the price is notably higher with starting MSRP at $30,000. Tough price considering I could get an LLBean loaded with leather and AWD for much less.
With that in mind I am impressed with the offroad abilities of the 2009 Forester on Catalina Island I saw in this video.
I doubt that many if any of the competition I mentioned can go up a hill like that. I want something safe for my wife to drive as well. I am nervous about her driving the Trooper on fast highway driving. It's not the best vehicle for emergency maneuvers. I have had to perform a couple emergency maneuvers in the Trooper myself, and for sure it's no sports car. Pretty scary. But I think something that handles better like a Subaru Forester and has 5 star crash ratings and 4 star for rollover would be safer and still have the necessary utility.
The dealer down the street has a 2008 LLBean in the showroom Sticker MSRP is approximately $27,500 and they have a tag in the window with a discount price of $24,500. I spent some time with the car, sitting in the front, the back, checking out the quality of construction, etc. I also note that I found a Texas Subaru dealer on Ebay offering a new 2008 LLBean for $22,565. Seems like a good deal. I don't know if I could get my local dealer to match that price. The dealer also has a 2009 Forester on the lot with Premium Package. Well, the 2009 is bigger, the seats seem more comfortable. I like that it has more legroom in the back seat. I like that it has the radio control buttons on the steering wheel. I would like to see the 2009 Forester LLBean model for a better comparison. My wife thinks that the 2009 is "better looking" that the 2008. I have to agree, but I also think that the 2008 was more unique compared to the other small sport utes.
So, is it better to snag a deal on the outgoing 2008 LLBean or wait and get a 2009? Do any of you feel that the new model has lost the old Subaru rough and rugged feel? Or does it still have it and it's just gotten better? From what I am seeing on YouTube videos and reading postings here, the 2009 is at least as capable. It would be great to hear from owners of the 2003 - 2008 models that have or are considering the 2009. What are your thoughts regarding the superiority or inferiority of the 2009. And is it worth the extra dough to get the newer model? If you were a first time buyer knowing what you know, would you get the 2008 with the current discounts or the 2009? I think Subaru is offering $2,000 off + 0% financing. Will Subaru begin to offer incentives on the 2009's once all of the 2008's are gone? The salesman said that they usually sell Subaru's for about $500 over invoice.
Also is it better to get the XT? The salesman suggested that he thinks the normally aspirated engine is better because it's fast enough and it doesn't need premium gas like the XT does. I do like the look of the hood scoop on the XT. Give the car a meaner look.
#549 of 3748 Re: Temp Gage [tkay]
Mar 23, 2008 (8:50 pm)
Ain't no temp guage on a 2002 Prius, either. I've never missed it, since the dash displays a blue thermometer icon during warmup. I'd assume that there's another icon (red?) for overheating, but I'm not gonna pull the radiator drain plug to find out.
Come to think of it, all you really need for temperature monitoring is someway of indicating that the engine is cold, normal, or hot. I can't remember ever seeing a guage that showed the actual temperature.
#550 of 3748 Catalina island matches Oregon City
Mar 23, 2008 (9:13 pm)
In earlier posts I talked about a very steep asphalt road full of potholes (behind Lithia Subaru in Oregon City, OR) that was actually as or more steep than anything I saw in the Catalina videos. Both the '09 Forester XT and the '08 Outback not only climbed, but accelerated up that hill. I doubt either the Rav4 or CRV would have done as well.
My understanding is the '09 Powertrain is pretty much the same as the '08 save for Sportshift, VDC (which helps control wheelspin) and various suspension improvements. If you need the extra space and would like the nicer trim, the '09 might be best way to go.
Wrt incentives, Subaru is offering good ones on the '08's, but given the '09's just came out, I doubt there will be anything huge there. I did get a discount under MSRP and a decent trade when I got my '09 Forester XT Limited.
Mar 23, 2008 (9:15 pm)
1. There are lights in the headlamps called "position" lights.
What do these do?
2. In the passanger compartment footwell, there is a plastic cover protecting heater fan, glovebox underside, etc.
But on driver side, there is absolutely nothing preventing feet from kicking into wiring, sharp metal, or other stuff under the dash.
Is there supposed to be a plasic cover or shield in that area? I see screw and clamp holes for fastening one in place.
#552 of 3748 2009 Powertrains
Mar 24, 2008 (4:27 am)
The '09 powertrains have also been revised to increase the torque and make it more accessible over a wider RPM range. The XT doesn't actually gain peak torque but it is available lower in the RPM range relative to the '08 XT.
#553 of 3748 Re: 2008 or 2009 Forester [tntmyth]
Mar 24, 2008 (5:00 am)
We own a '01 Forester S Premium (wife's car), which was the top-of-the-line model that year. I also just put 40+ miles on a new '09 Forester courtesy loaner while my WRX was in for a recent oil change. It was a base Forester X. The only option it had was an automatic tranny.
Sounds like you've got a pretty good grasp as to the differences between the '08 and '09 models. My recommendation: Go with the '09 model, as it is sooooo much better in just about every way. In the long run I think you'll be happier.
My choice for the Forester would be the the turbo XT. That's because I drive a WRX, which has the same engine. Since I'm used to the turbo in that vehicle, the non-turbo models just seem weak. Yes, the non-turbos have reasonable power under normal circumstances. However, if you need extra power for highway passing the turbo is much, MUCH better. Turbos also lose less power in the mountains, if that's important.
The downsides to the turbo:
• It "requires" premium gas.
• Oil needs to be changed every 3,750 miles, whereas the non-turbo can go 7,500 miles between changes.
• You may lose about 2-3 mpg over the non-turbo. Of course that depends on how you drive.
I would say drive both the turbo and and non-turbo, and then decide. You may discover the non-turbo to be just fine, as do a lot of people. Again, the main advantage to the turbo is passing power on the highway and the ability to maintain speed on long hills.
One final comment: Don't expect the Forester to match your Trooper's off road prowess. I won't. It's a pretty good for this type of vehicle, in fact I'd say it's the best of the small CUVs. If you want better off road capability with a small SUV, I'd say go with the Suzuki Grand Vitara, as that vehicle has genuine off-road ability. It also has a low-range and full-time 4WD.
#554 of 3748 Re: 2008 or 2009 Forester [rsholland]
Mar 24, 2008 (6:57 am)
My dealer Service group told me that using less than Premium gas in the Turbo can cause the check engine to come on. If that happens, the dealer has to reset the computer, and will know exactly what caused the light to go on.
Still, I am keeping an eye on my mileage and will report once I go through a few tankfulls of gas.
FYI, The sport mode of the 4-speed does seem to make the vehicle more responsive. Apparently Subaru did a very good job matching the engine to the 4-speed trans.
Also, though '09 Foresters seem very capible at Catalina Island, there are absolutely no skid pans or any protection under the car. Getting hung up on a rock could tear your exhaust system out. No surprise as the Forester was never intended to be the ultimate off-road vehicle. Driver beware !
#555 of 3748 Re: 2008 or 2009 Forester [kurtamaxxxguy]
Mar 24, 2008 (7:34 am)
Woot! Congrats, man. I'm jealous! You beat me to it.
XT Limited, then? Did you get the GPS, too?
We'll probably get an LL Bean, for the lower operating costs. Bob mentioned passing in the mountains is better w/turbo but ours will be mostly for local driving, as we have the minivan for longer road trips. The wife will mostly commute in it, and we'd use it for errands and local stuff, plus in snow and rain.
My dealer has a couple of LL Beans in stock. I'm still waiting to line up the VIP pricing thing.
#556 of 3748 Re: 2008 or 2009 Forester [tntmyth]
Mar 24, 2008 (7:38 am)
Cool video. I bookmarked that.
More than enough for most people. Only the hard core will need more capability than that.
Between an 08 and 09, what I would say is, long term, that $1500 won't seem like much. You'll get a chunk of it back on resale, too. Even if you didn't, over 7.5 years or so that's just $200/year more, or $17 a month.
Get the 09.
Coming from a Trooper, the 08 will seem cramped. The 09 will still be smaller, but I don't think it's cramped.
Getting a bargain is good, but getting the better vehicle, that you like more and will enjoy more for several years in to the future, is even better.
#557 of 3748 Re: 2008 or 2009 Forester [ateixeira]
Mar 24, 2008 (7:48 am)
Ateixeria, I had no need for Subie GPS as I already have a Garmin that works well. The Subie GPS had small buttons and seemed harder to use than the XT Limited radio, in addition to costing a bunch more.
My Exterior color's white peral - not their prettiest color but I was determined to have a cool car in summer (I discovered anything other than White gets hot in the sun).
Also, '09 Forester has heater vents under the front seats (2 for each seat). Another nice touch.
Also, the handling of the Turbo seems to be as good as the Audi A3 3.2 I drove some time ago, but Forester has way more ground clearance and ability to handle bad roads (My guess is the Oregon City Hill the Forester and Outbacks easilly drove over would tear out the underside out of the A3 3.2 ).
One thing you might do when you look at Foresters is to discover if you can see underdash wiring and components on the driver side. There is a cover on the passanger side footwell, but not on the Driver side of my Forester.