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Old 02-17-2011, 07:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Is the 8.7" ground clearance in the 2011 a problem?

I have a '98 Forester. Yes, the first model. I bought it in '97. I didn't know much about Subarus (not many were down here Dallas, TX or where I'm from...Louisiana). The Forester changed all that. I see quite a few Foresters and Outbacks around town, now.

Anyway, my Forester has been hands down the best car I've ever owned. It's time for a new car, though. In looking at the new Foresters, I noticed that the ground clearance has swelled from about 6" to 8.7". Quite a difference! I have liked the 6" ground clearance....the car isn't too high, but still I get a couple extra inches to handle bumps, flooded intersections, etc. Perfect.

But the 8.7"....I don't know. It's like a "real" SUV, being so much off the ground. Concerned my dogs will have to jump too hard to get in and out. Concerned the extra height will make the car too bouncy. I test drove one, and I didn't notice that. I'm going to do a longer test drive. But I was wonderning what others' thoughts were about this. I guess some find the increased clearance a good thing?
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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But the 8.7"....I don't know. It's like a "real" SUV, being so much off the ground. Concerned my dogs will have to jump too hard to get in and out. Concerned the extra height will make the car too bouncy. I test drove one, and I didn't notice that. I'm going to do a longer test drive. But I was wonderning what others' thoughts were about this. I guess some find the increased clearance a good thing?
Only if they're chihuahua's. I had an outback sport previously. It had about the same height as your Foz. I prefer the ingress/egress of the Forester much better. The doors and sills are in a very good position IMO.

The current Forester suspensions are not at all bouncy. IMO they have the best control in the segment. Try a Kia Sportage...
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you live in the snow belt, yes you can benefit with the ground clearance. Do you need a wagon type vehicle? If not, check out the Legacy line. It has the same AWD system as the Forester, but less ground clearance.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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But no Legacy Wagon. If a wagon is what you need then look to the Forester, Outback and Tribeca.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have not had any issues with the ground clearance. Overall height is still less than our Sienna, so the Forester is still a nice, small, nimble CUV. The extra room in the current generation vs previous is nice too. It is just right for getting in/out of, and as for the rear, unless the rear seat on the Sienna is folded down, it is easier to get things in/out of the back of the Forester, so hopefully your dog will be fine with that too. Just make sure you get the rear bumper step guard to help with traction for your dog, and to protect the paint on the bumper.

A good test drive is a must too, as only you can decide if you like the "new" Forester.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That would depend on your dog.

Even for my 80 pounds labs, it is a significant jump into and out of my forester. One of our dogs who has joint problems needs to be lifted in and I cringe when he jumps out.

If you have similuar concerns, you might want to consider a dog ramp to save the shoulders of your dogs.

I liked the extra height as it makes it easier for me to get into and out of the car. My Prius was a bit too low for me.

I have not experienced any problems with bouncy suspension.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One of my primary reasons for buying a Forester besides the legendary AWD and having a manual transmission was ground clearance.

I'm curious though, the Ford Expedition also has a ground clearance of 8.7in but there's no way the ride height is the same. I'm 6' 1" and have to take a much bigger step getting into an Expedition. Forester I just open the door and sit down. So my question is when measuring ground clearance are they measuring the lowest hanging bits on the under carriage or something? So even though the Forester rides lower the Expedition has something underneath that hangs much lower then the frame?
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your responses. No, my dogs aren't Chihuahuas. (LOL) But I worry about joint problems, now that they are "middle aged." I just didn't know if the extra ground clearance would make the Forester feel less like a car, which was part of what I liked about it, to begin with. Good to know no one has experienced noticeable extra bounciness. I'm going to take a longer test drive and look for the small things I didn't the first time. I am also going to test drive the new CR-V and RAV4, although my heart is with the Forester. I mean...that engine. Very few things have gone wrong with it over the 13 1/2 years I've had it (although I have very low mileage...80,000). Most reliable car I've ever owned. Solid on the streets in wet or icy conditions (although I live in the south, so snow and ice not much of an issue). Great at cornering, which I do a lot of here in the city. Small enough to park in compact spaces (the old 175" model I have; I don't know about the new 180" version). Great for a dog owner...hardy upholstery, great lumbar support. Well, you get the idea. Thanks!
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't forget with added ground clearance to a vehicle comes the greater tendency to rollover that vehicle. That's the only bad thing that comes to mind. The rest isn't a problem for my purposes.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The height does pose a problem for my fat dog. I have to help her in after a long walk.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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We have a 2010 Forester. I'm trying to convince my parents to let me buy a used 2nd gen [SG] Forester while they want to buy me a new 2011 Foz.... which is probably one of the odder arguments we have. I personally don't like the increased SUV-like image and decreased fuel mileage compared to previous gens. Little inconspicuous wagons (with turbo!) have a space in my heart. :)
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:04 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ImaginaryFigment View Post
Don't forget with added ground clearance to a vehicle comes the greater tendency to rollover that vehicle. That's the only bad thing that comes to mind. The rest isn't a problem for my purposes.
The 09 Forester has a 4 of 5 star NHTSA Rollover Rating, not bad. Of course the boxer motor helps by keeping the center of gravity down low.

And this:

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4 Score Well In SUV Rollover Test 03.24.09

Thousands of people die each year due to vehicle rollovers, a type of accident that is worsened in certain kinds of vehicles such as SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) — a private watchdog group funded by the insurance companies — recently tested for the first time one dozen small sport/utility vehicles to see how their roofs fared during a rollover, discovering that four performed “good” while two received a “poor” rating.

Tiguan Is Tops, Sportage Finishes Last

Topping the IIHS list were the VW Tiguan (best score), Jeep Patriot, Honda Element and the Subaru Forester. Faring poorly were the Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sportage (worst score). Receiving an “acceptable” rating were the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Torrent, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander while the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Honda CR-V and the Mazda Tribute were rated as “marginal.”
4 Score Well In SUV Rollover Test

I don't worry about roll-over in my Forester.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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The 09 Forester has a 4 of 5 star NHTSA Rollover Rating, not bad.
I'm well aware since I posted the link to the IIHS page with similar results if you didn't happen to notice.

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Of course the boxer motor helps by keeping the center of gravity down low.
That's great and all but 8.7-8.9 inches of ground clearance is still 8.7-8.9 inches of ground clearance. The Subaru Forester is a compact sports utility vehicle, not a sports car. No matter how low the center of gravity is while maintaining a clear 8.7 ground clearance, we're still on Earth.

So unless we're talking about flying cars and The Jetsons...
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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But no Legacy Wagon. If a wagon is what you need then look to the Forester, Outback and Tribeca.
Actually I'd point him to the Impreza. It's as big as his first gen Fozzie, not as high off the ground, but mechanically identical. It's also less expensive to buy.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASONDHSD View Post
One of my primary reasons for buying a Forester besides the legendary AWD and having a manual transmission was ground clearance.

I'm curious though, the Ford Expedition also has a ground clearance of 8.7in but there's no way the ride height is the same. I'm 6' 1" and have to take a much bigger step getting into an Expedition. Forester I just open the door and sit down. So my question is when measuring ground clearance are they measuring the lowest hanging bits on the under carriage or something? So even though the Forester rides lower the Expedition has something underneath that hangs much lower then the frame?
Correct- ground clearance is a measure of how high something can be to not get hit by something other than a tire under the car.
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