Thinking about making the switch from a Cherokee - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking about making the switch from a Cherokee

Hi everybody,

I don't own a Subaru (yet?), but am very attracted to the Forester, and doing a lot of research on it right now. Since I'll be switching from a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, I want to make sure I won't be disappointed by going to a Subie. Main reasons for switching are that the Jeep still runs great, but has started to accumulate repair bills and annoying little things like a non-working AC with no apparent leak; worn door hinges and sticky door knobs that have my father-in-law worried about his daughter being stuck in a wreck (God forbid); a short somewhere in the speaker cable tree; a hatch lock that magically unlocks itself once we drive for more than a mile; and other little things.

Our main priority in considering a new vehicle is impact safety due to distracted drivers around us. That's how we ended up looking at a Subaru. If we decide on this brand, we are pretty set on a Forester, as my wife is tall and hated the seating position in the Outback, and I as well, coming from the Jeep, really like the more upright and raised position in the Fozzie.

My main concerns at this point are the off-road worthiness compared to the Jeep. I have no interest in wheeling for the sake of the sport, but we do like to explore the backcountry of Arizona and the desert southwest, especially Baja California. I have driven some backroads in Baja that were no issue for the Cherokee, but I'm not sure a Subaru would be able to make it. On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed with what I've seen so far in several photos on this forum and in YouTube videos, in terms of what Subarus can pull off, apparently.

In my head, I'm already planning mods like skid plates, a lift kit and little things like a tow-ring, mudflaps, etc.

Cargo volume, too, is a priority for us. We frequently go to bluegrass festivals, and that means we need a vehicle that can fit camping equipment, a guitar case and an upright bass.

Any tips on what to look for, or advice on what model (year etc.) to get would be greatly appreciated. We are thinking of buying used (2014 or later), unless people here think that's a bad idea for whatever reason.

Based on what I've researched so far, I'm under the impression we definitely want the X mode feature, which only the 2014 models or newer have, correct?

What about other things to look for in a used vehicle? Stuff to be aware of, check for, etc.

How much mileage do you consider the max of what we should accept? .My Jeep has a quarter million, so I'm spoiled in that regard...

What about the turbo? Both my wife and I drive like little old ladies, due to the fact that my Jeep has had an issue from the very beginning that restricts the driver to accelerating very gently, so that won't be an issue. But if the turbo is beneficial or indispensable off road, that would be good to know.

Thank you all!

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 12:27 PM
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Welcome from Savannah, GA!

I can't speak to a lot of what you are asking about, but we love the cargo space in the back. Throwing up a rack up top really helps too. We went with the Yakima Skybox Carbonite

My wife and I are also pretty slow on acceleration, but we have found the non-turbo to have plenty of punch when we've needed.

Good luck with your decision!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 01:03 PM
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In general, you will have few problems going off road on trails as the Subie has the highest stock clearance. With a simple swap of springs you can get a 1" lift, or with a few bits up to a 3"-4" lift. Throw on some slightly taller AT tires for comfort, without losing too much torque. Throw on a bull bar since the front crumples like an aluminum can during an impact. Primitive Racing Subaru Performance Parts - Primitive Racing

IMO, SH and SJ models from '09 up would fit the bill nicely, 10k-12k mileage per year. The turbo is nice on the street but have never been going fast enough off-road for it to spool up.

Offroad Fozzies Offroad Fozzies - Subaru Forester Owners Forum

Also, vinyl wrapping can protect your paint from scratches on the lower panels, fenders, etc. and now comes in many colors to match or contrast.
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Last edited by robertskb; 04-18-2017 at 01:13 PM.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 02:47 PM
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@DesertTwang

No off-road experience, but here are a couple of things I just posted in a different thread:

1. Tons of helpful info on all Subarus at:

Subaru Research Site- specs, prices, options, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.... Outback, Legacy, Forester, XV Crosstrek, Hybrid, WRX, STI, Impreza, BRZ, Tribeca

2. The April 2017 Consumer Reports is their annual auto issue. I'd recommend picking up a copy and reading it with a grain of salt...

3. I believe you're correct that XMODE is on 2014+ vehicles. BUT, it's NOT on the lower trim levels. I think they expanded that for the 2017 vehicles.

Mike
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 02:49 PM
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I owned a 2000 Cherokee back in the day as well. I liked the uncomplicated design and appointments. The in-line 6-cylinder engine was totally unrefined and bomb-proof. It ran rough, loud, and thirsty, yet was totally reliable. I’m not surprised you got 250K miles out of it.

However, beyond the simplicity and utility, there was not much else to like about it. Face it; everything from the engineering to materials were done on the cheap.

You will find the Forester to be a 10X upgrade in every category except towing, which I don’t do much of. The small difference in ground clearance has been absolutely no problem for me. And yes, X-mode is quite nice. I recommend it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 03:53 PM
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If you need to carry stuff, avoid anything older than 09. If you need to go on the highway, ever, get the turbo. That's all I can add, I wouldn't even drive mine on a gravel road, that's what my truck is for. You might also look for a video of a lifted Legacy out-wheeling some Jeeps on YouTube, pretty surprising.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 04:43 PM
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Yes, definitely consider the turbo! I find it to be worth the extra expense. Every time I drive my wife's NA 2.5i Outback, I have to check and make sure I'm not dragging the parking brake.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 04:48 PM
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Here's a few nice ones; those AT tires really make it pop. Discount Tire has their own brand AT for a little over $100 each that drives well on the road.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJ View Post
...If you need to go on the highway, ever, get the turbo...
???? I guess it depends on how many G forces you like when passing or entering a ramp. My N/A performs just fine in a wide range of conditions (but no off road), and upgrading to a turbo has never entered my mind.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:48 AM
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Welcome to the forum from a fellow newbie, and soon to be x-Jeeper

later today I'm trading in my Liberty with 240k kms on it for a new 2017 Forester

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2017 Forester 2.5i Convenience
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bingow View Post
???? I guess it depends on how many G forces you like when passing or entering a ramp. My N/A performs just fine in a wide range of conditions (but no off road), and upgrading to a turbo has never entered my mind.
Same here, my 2010 2.5 4spd auto and wife's 2015 2.5 CVT both NA, both easy (plenty of pep) to drive around town. On the hwy I guess it depends on what you want but 65-70 mph with cruise control my 2010 doesn't strain on hills and has yet to downshift to maintain speed. I have taken them both on local forest roads in 8-10" of snow with all season tires, unstoppable. My past 4wd experiences; 84 CJ-7, 88 ranger V6 5sp 4.10 gears & 2 1/2" lift (my current firewood/yard truck), F250 4x4, current Chevy 4x4. The Foresters are as capable off road as all but the CJ-7 and the lifted Ranger.

Skid plates?, hove you ever scrapped the undercarriage of your jeep? My point being with 8.7" ish ground clearance, short wheel base, good approach and departure angles you would be hard pressed to need skid plates on a forester.
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Last edited by Nuke8401; 04-19-2017 at 06:32 AM.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:48 AM
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Switch made - my driveway now has a new 2017 Forester in it, and the '04 Liberty is gone

We're liking the Forester but even my wife commented that she is missing the Liberty

:-)

Time will tell how this works out
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