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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I also posted this on NASIOC, but since I expected their answers to be much less mature, and extremely biased, I wanted to post it here as well... This seems like an amazing group of people here on SF.org! If I end up going with the Forester, I'll look forward to spending lots of time here! :)



I'm new to the whole Scoob scene. Sometime within the next year, I hope to purchase my next new vehicle. So, I'm doing as much research as I can now. My two main criteria are (1) FUN TO DRIVE (manual tranny) and (2) Practical. I'm about to turn 23, and will hopefully be getting married and starting a family in the next few years, so I want something practical enough to be a family car, that will last me many years to come, but still fun to drive! I don't plan on doing much, if any modding to the vehicle.

I've been lurking here and on NASIOC for a while, trying to soak up everything I can about WRX's and Foresters.

I searched, but wasn't able to find the information I'm looking for on the 06 WRXs and 06 Foresters.

I'm not 100% crazy about how either of them look, but I'm a FUNCTION over FORM kinda guy... so as long as they're fun to drive, and practical, then I'm a happy camper.

Right now, I drive a 99 Honda Prelude, which is a FUN to drive car! It has been an excellent car. My only gripes with it are FWD, and it's simply NOT practical.

I'm mainly interested in what you guys think about the rear-seat room of each and cargo capacity of each.

Is the handling THAT much better on a WRX wagon? On a scale of 1-10 how "fun to drive" would you rate the Wagon, and the Forester? (both in manual trannys)

From pictures, it appears that the rear-wheel wells of the Forester take up an inordinate amount of room when the rear-seats are folded down... but in the WRX wagon, the rear-wheel wells seem to be out of the way.

And believe it or not, the cargo capacity, as measured by Subaru, is BIGGER in the wrx wagon, with the rear-seats folded down. I think it's like 58 cubic feet with the Forester, and 62 with the WRX (off the top of my head, don't quote me on that). But, with the rear seats up, the Forester has a bigger cargo capacity behind the rear seat.

With the Forester, the HUGE windows make visibility a non-issue, but what about in the wagon? I also like the huge sunroof in the Forester.

Thank you in advance for your opinions and stories of personal experience with each of these vehicles! Please only advise on 06 models... I was able to find tons of information on older models of both vehicles, but since they BOTH had slight changes for 06, I'd like to hear your opinions on the new versions.

-Allen
 

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Premium Member
06 FXT
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2,262 Posts
Hello Allen,

My family and I went throught the same dilemma. I want handling, and the wifey wants utility. We checked out three Subies: FXT, LGT Wagon, and WRX Wagon.

I really like the LGT Wagon [it was my first choice], but as soon as I heard it doesn't have manual transmission available for the 06, it went off the list immediately as I cannot stand driving auto [bored me to tears]. I then hopped into the WRX Wagon next because I dig the styling and sportiness of it. The upside is the handling. Man, it's a very satisfying ride, handling is definitely there. The downside is the space. I'm 6' 1 and the wifey is 5 even. Although she's a small person, we still find the shoulder room somewhat too narrow for our liking. My son is 5' 10 and he's not too comfortable in the backseat either.

Our last ride is the FXT. At first, I wasn't too thrill about the thought of sitting in an SUV -ish vehicle. It's not the best looking of the bunch. But as soon as three of us sat in there, we appreciate the roominess, great visibility all around, and fit & finish (although the LGT tops it by a notch). The best part of course is the motor. My oh my, this brick sure flies! My wife loves it, my son is very comfortable in the roomy backseat, and I dig the speed. The handling is a step below the WRX Wagon, but still quite agile. The best suggestion I have is to test drive both back to back and see for yourself. Either one will put a smile on your face.
 

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2012 GTI DSG 6-speed
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I would get the '06 WRX Wagon.

In '04 only the Forester had the 2.5L turbo motor, cold weather package, auto climate control and heated seats. That's why I bought the Forester. For '06 the WRX Wagon has these options. I would go with the better looking car.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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Welcome! Have you sat in or driven either of the two? I for once moved from an Impreza wagon (OBS) to the Forester because the OBS was just too cramped for my taste. Maybe on paper there is more cargo room in the WRX wagon, but it certainly isn't as usable for hauling stuff due to the steeply raked tailgate. Visibility is just so much better in the Forester, too. In terms of handling, the WRX certainly wins out, though.
 

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We went with the Forester simply for the passenger comfort. We had to decide between the 05 XT and the 05 Sabb-aru. The Sabb-aru was a beautiful car, and fun to drive (even with the smaller motor).
But we still chose the XT cause it was so much roomier and the ride hieght was perfect... just slide right in... no climbing up or crawling in to the car.
 

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2010 FXT Limited 4EAT Sport Shift
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KingSmono-
From what I've read of your comments/questions, I'd suggest a low miles 04 or 05 Forester XT and put the used car price savings into suspension/wheel/tire mods (you haven't provided us with any info as to your location, but there are a number of Subie dealer and/or aftermarket locations that will complete the mods professionally (read 'under warrantee'))...that way you'll have the best handling fastest, roomiest brick around!
-Quick (in an unmodded 04 FXT with 4spd Auto, and happy)
 

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Mr. July 2008
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1,216 Posts
My 2 cents...

It really doesn't take much to bring a Forester's handling up to par with a WRX.

(my turbo brick puts STi's to shame)
 

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Topochicho said:
We went with the Forester simply for the passenger comfort. We had to decide between the 05 XT and the 05 Sabb-aru. The Sabb-aru was a beautiful car, and fun to drive (even with the smaller motor).
But we still chose the XT cause it was so much roomier and the ride hieght was perfect... just slide right in... no climbing up or crawling in to the car.
Just wondering what did you particularly like about the Saabaru? We have an 04 XT and are considering an 06 9-2X (Linear) as a second car/daily driver.

Thanks, JP

PS: To answer this post - for 2006 MY with identical drivetrains, I'd only get an XT over a WRX if you need the space or ride height, or if you cant abide the new Impreza nose. The space thing is so obviously different, more cargo room and rear seat head room for sure, makes the XT a much better kid/dog carrier. The Forester handles great for a raised wagon, but stock for stock would get killed by a WRX. Get a leftover 05 XT for the looks, saving and shorter gearing?
 

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Official sf.org decal guy
2006 FXT
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I was actually going through a similar dilema of deciding between the two. I was coming from a modded 02 WRX with mods including V7 STi suspension, cusco rear sway bar, Kartboy endlinks, f/r strut bars, and a cobb stage 2. Let me tell you just how suprised I was the first time I drove my 06 Forester XT. Please don't get me wrong, my WRX handled amazing with my suspension updates but I really think the Forester handles awesome. Better than I expected for what it is. And the torque, my god the torque. Now of course i'm comparing a 2.0L 2002 with the newer 2.5L 2006, but still, I was shocked. Like it's been mentioned, it doesn't take much to make the Forester a monster. Personally I was already in a cramped WRX for 4 years and wanted something bigger, more utility and you gotta love that sunroof. Almost makes you feel like you're in a convertible when you turn around. Lastly the front of those new Imprezas look like donkey IMHO. Even the STi looks a little poopy. Among other more minor differences that's why I picked up my Forester. Go drive both, you'll be shocked at what that 06 XT can do, I know I was.

Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for your input!! No, I haven't test driven either of these cars... I guess that's the next step for me. I really hate going to car dealerships, because salesmen are like vultures. (at least any car salesmen I've encountered...)

Also, I know that once I go to the dealership, and drive these beauties... I'm going to drive myself crazy until one of them is in my driveway! :)

Are the suspension and brakes on the 06 WRX a direct bolt on for the 06 Forester? Then I'd have the best of both worlds.

-Allen
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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WRX suspension and brakes will bolts right on.

Make sure you use wagon suspension or the rear will sag a bit.
 

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Forester it is for me as well.
Wanted to buy 1st WRX STI but after several drive tests found Forester much suitable for handling and for my needs.
STI is too much of a beast on the road and practically u end up changing gears up and dawn only, no time for a little music or chat with the nice lady in passenger seat... Not to speak about driving a bit off road when I am going fishing...
 

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I was sort of wondering that if you need people/cargo space and a potentially better compromise on handling, why not also check out the Outback XT? The OBXT looks nice IMO, especially in monochrome colors and seemed to handle flatter that the Forester on the short test drive I had. I also wonder about the sense of buying a FXT and instantly replacing the brakes, suspension, plus tires of course. But then I'm not yet big into the modding...:)

JP
04 XT MT
 

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pon1 said:
Just wondering what did you particularly like about the Saabaru? We have an 04 XT and are considering an 06 9-2X (Linear) as a second car/daily driver.

Thanks, JP
We were trying to decide between an 05 XT (invoice - $2000rebate) or a 05 9-2X Saab-aru(invoice - $6000rebate), so the cars were nearly identical in price.
Overall the Saab-aru was just a stunning looking vehicle, while the XT is just incredibly average. Inside and out the Saab styling touches really took an average looking car and made it amazing. It was fun to drive, had really good leg room (in comparison to the other cars we had been trying), and still had a decent ride even with its performance leanings. The longer warranty, free loaner cars, and basically just more pampering by the dealership was appealing too.

In the end, it just came down to practicallity and fit. We were coming from a 99 VW Passat. We loved our Passat... REALLY loved our Passat. But we couldn't afford another car that had so many problem and cost so much to fix. While I expect the Saab-aru to be much more reliable i just don't expect the Saab dealerships to be any more competent than the VW dealerships. Also the Saab-aru sat lower and rode ruffer, and was just generally a much tighter fit (6'2" fatty). In the end when we took looks out of the equation, the XT was just a better choice.
 
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I would get the wagon if i was purchasing right now. Already has 17's and 4 pots up front. Same power as the forester but better handleing. If room is a factor the FXT isint a bad second choice.
 

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Fear the Gorilla!
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Angry Toaster said:
My 2 cents...

It really doesn't take much to bring a Forester's handling up to par with a WRX.

(my turbo brick puts STi's to shame)
X2..mine gets it done as well.
 

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6/22/76 - 12/21/14 , Gone but not forgotten
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Yes, but the new '06 wagon can be made to handle better than the forester.

However, both vehicles are great. If they offered the current WRX wagon back when I bought my forester, I would have taken the WRX.

Personally, I REALLY dig the way the '06 WRX looks. The '06 Forester looks great, too, but not as good IMO.

Go for whichever one suits your needs better. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with either.

P.S. buy the forester, because at least you can go offroad ;)
 

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Topochicho said:
We were trying to decide between an 05 XT (invoice - $2000rebate) or a 05 9-2X Saab-aru(invoice - $6000rebate), so the cars were nearly identical in price.
Overall the Saab-aru was just a stunning looking vehicle, while the XT is just incredibly average. Inside and out the Saab styling touches really took an average looking car and made it amazing. It was fun to drive, had really good leg room (in comparison to the other cars we had been trying), and still had a decent ride even with its performance leanings. The longer warranty, free loaner cars, and basically just more pampering by the dealership was appealing too.

In the end, it just came down to practicallity and fit. We were coming from a 99 VW Passat. We loved our Passat... REALLY loved our Passat. But we couldn't afford another car that had so many problem and cost so much to fix. While I expect the Saab-aru to be much more reliable i just don't expect the Saab dealerships to be any more competent than the VW dealerships. Also the Saab-aru sat lower and rode ruffer, and was just generally a much tighter fit (6'2" fatty). In the end when we took looks out of the equation, the XT was just a better choice.
Thanks for the feedback. Agree on the looks. Like the black/beige two tone interior esp with the premium/cold weather package (leather, heated seats/mirrors, 6 in dash CD, HIDs, fogs). We'll be taking one for an extended test sometime soon, see how much Saab suspension tuning and sound deadening have influenced the Impreza. Cheers, JP
 

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With Kids and Car seats, I'd go:

1) Legacy Wagon

2) Forester

3) WRX wagon.


Legacy- easily the roomiest, makes getting to the back seat a breeze, wider and longer means more comfy for everyone on vacation and long hauls. Our no-brainer choice when we need to road trip. If you want a 5MT though, you'll have to look used, since SoA killed manuals for 2006.

Forester- small, nimble, jack-of-all-trades master-of-none. A more open, roomy greenhouse than the WRX due to taller roof and more upright door glass. FXT faster than the sun over land. Let down, as always, by the crappiest of OEM tires. I run 16" (yes, 16"...tires are cheaper, and in pothole-riddled Baltimore, more comfortable and more bomb proof) SSR Competitions with UHPS tires (225/55/16 as of this May. Running 225/60 right now). But a good set of HP All Seasons in 225/55/16 will fit the stock rim just fine. NO it doesn't handle as gracefully as a WRX wagon YES it is still a lot of fun, and a surprisingly agile little wagon. Just a bit more drama at the limit is all. Lesbian insurance rates a huge bonus.

3) WRX wagon- well it's just a great little car, now isn't it? But the cabin is the tightest of the bunch, and the hatch area is compromised by the sloping glass. This becomes an issue when it's time to hit the road with the stroller, a couple of bags, the baby bag, and a pack-n-play. The upright hatch of the Forester makes packing a little easier. But certainly, it is the most tossable package out of the box. Insurance can be pricey due to popularity with young males, and their penchant for wrecking cars.

Also, I should mention that at the time I bought my FXT the WRX was still a 2.0, and the FXT was teh fast4r. Now that the powerplant field has been levelled, it would be a tougher choice. For me, the Forester works better due to job and lifestyle demands as well.
 

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Mr. September 2008
2007 Legacy Automatic
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583 Posts
I just can't believe that the WRX ever has more cargo space, unless you take the seats out, having come from a 02 WRX wagon. I have to admit I didn't put the seats down too much in either car, but I know my two Greyhounds would give me dirty looks when I shoehorned them into the WRX, and in the Forester they are alot happier. I actually think of my FXT as more of everything I wanted from my WRX when I bought it. Of course the suspention needs help in the Forester if you want WRX reflexes. Not too much of a problem though. The stock tires suck on both cars. The WRX seems to fit around you much more, kind of like being more "one" with the car in handleing, but after having that for 2 years, the Forester was nice to have some breathing room. Both are great and either way you won't regret your choice.
 
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