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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum and what brought me here was getting facts directly from owners instead of just reading from caranddriver, motortrend, etc...

I'm looking for an SUV to replace my '99 Pontiac Grand Prix and so far I've narrowed down my selection to two possibilities. The Forester obviously being one of them. I've looked at several other SUV but really what it comes down to is Subaru's AWD system, you can't beat it. Nearly every other SUV out there (Equinox, Escape, CRV, Rav4, etc...) use a "on-deman" AWD even though they claim real-time. They also have a maximum torque transfer of ~30% to the rear wheels, where as the Forester is 60/40 and up to 50/50.

The other thing that I like about the Subaru 2.5X Touring is its winter options (heated mirrors, heated seats, wiper de-icer, etc...). When you wake up and it's -30 or it snowed, these options are worth their weight in gold.

But now to my concern...

I live in Petawawa Ontario, which is roughly 200km north of Ottawa. This would be my main winter vehicle, used to travel to work (55km highway driving per day) and a couple of trips to Sudbury (340 km one way).

Now, I've read up all the information I can possibly gather about the Forester and so far I believe that it's the better choice. However, I'm leery about the four-speed transmission. I know that this vehicle is fantastic in the city, but how does it perform on the highway?

I'm not looking for a fast SUV (don't need the turbo). I'm just wondering, how it behaves on hills, does it downshift into 3rd gear frequently/easily? Does it bog down on a steep hill? I'm a bit worried about having a vehicle that constantly downshifts each time there is an incline on the road. As I mentioned before, there are plenty of hills when I travel.

That's really the only concern that I have and would greatly appreciate some information from Forester owners and look forward to your replies.

Edit: I carpool to work with another person. When I travel to Sudbury it's with my wife and daughter. Just in case people wonder what kind of load I have in the vehicle.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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2,802 Posts
Welcome. We have a lot of members in Canada, some will surely be chiming in soon. I can't help here as I have the 5-speed manual transmission.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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702 Posts
I drive an 09 2.5x AT here in central Mass. Pretty hilly here, not mountainous. My experience on the highway w/the 4spd auto has been mostly good. The only times it has downshifted 4th to 3rd at highway speed was if I tromped on the gas for some reason (to pass a tandem trailer maybe)or if I was in cruise going up a big hill. That's where you have to be careful, how you use the cruise control. If you just set it and forget it, when you are going up a steep grade, or a mild but long grade at high speed, the tranny might drop to 3rd...whammo! Pretty easy to avoid this by turning off cruise on a long grade or using the sport shift feature to lock yourself into 4th gear. The drivetrain has plenty of pep for hilly highways...just don't "snooze in cruise" and you won't get that sudden surprise downshift. Good luck,
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i Conv CVT
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20 Posts
Here is my story.
Last September I've got 2010 Forester 2.5X 4EAT base model to replace '99 Chevy Venture after 320K on it. I was completely sold when I had test-drive...
We (family of 4) do travel sometimes (mostly Ontario - Niagara, Ottawa, etc...) and car feels absolutely fine on highway. Probably I'm lucky (or deaf :icon_biggrin:) - can't complain about rattling and noise when driving 100-120km/h.
It was a different feeling first few weeks (after switching from FWD to AWD).
Your gas bill should be less overall (not that much but still nice).
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
Pretty much what stevemac829 said, stay off the cruise on hilly sections, that's the only time I find it kicks down when not really necessary.

I guess it's a no-brainer for where you're located but include a block heater in your options list and see if you can swing a deal on some steelies for your dedicated snows.

You may also want to update your Profile and include your location, even if you put Way North Ontario it's better than nothing.
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,785 Posts
... my concern...I'm leery about the four-speed transmission. I know that this vehicle is fantastic in the city, but how does it perform on the highway?... I'm just wondering, how it behaves on hills, does it downshift into 3rd gear frequently/easily? Does it bog down on a steep hill? I'm a bit worried about having a vehicle that constantly downshifts each time there is an incline on the road....
The four speed electronically controlled automatic transmission (referred to as 4EAT) does not bog down or downshift excessively.

The main complaint is that it is programmed to upshift on light throttle at 1500 RPM, which results in almost no acceleration, which is followed by a little more pressure on the pedal, which does cause a downshift to the gear just exited. This can be prevented if anticipated; just apply more pedal before the 1500 rpm upshift.

Another complaint is that when in 4th attempting to pass a car doing 60, the transmission takes a second, downshifts all the way to 2nd, quickly revs to redline, before upshifting to 3rd to finish the pass. The transit through 2nd seems a little time consuming and violent.

And true, if cruise control is set to 70 mph and a long steep hill is encountered, there will be an abrupt downshift to maintain speed. It is the same downshift that would happen off cruise control, but the stupor of cruise control makes it a surprise.

The 170 hp NA engine should ideally been given a 5EAT. The 4EAT is a better match for the turbo engine, which has the torque to use 4th without downshifting.
 

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2009 & Jamboree Motorhome
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347 Posts
Welcome to the forum..

I have an 01 L and 09 X.. Both are 4 speed auto and we live in the high county.. We pull 6 to 11 percent grades often for 6 to 11 miles.. Some are on freeway and we cruise at 70+ mph.. Runs easy at 70 + mph in 3rd gear on those long pulls..

But look at the tranmission in the 09 Subaru close.. Its an auto.. but move the shift over to the left and it shifts a bit later making it rev up more, thats what they call Sport.. But move it forward or back and you choose the gear you are in.. It stays in the gear you choose and shifts down only when you get to slow for that gear so its really a manual with out a clutch. Oh and we run cruise all the time in the high county when we are doing the shifting..

We just do the shifting by watching the tac like its a manual tranmission when we are in the high country.. Thats also nice in those areas where there are just small grades and you want to pass some one with out the trans doing a kick down to a lower gear..
But when we get back in the flats or in town we move it back to auto and let it do the shifting.... However you can just be lazy and leave it in auto and it does great..

We also pull trailers with it.. Works great.. Do not worry about running up some rpm on the Subaru engine.. They love it.. Many of them around here have over 300,000 miles on them and turn up 5000 rpm often. Our 01 however only has 100000 miles on it.. So just broken in..

Snowdance

Flickr: snowdance38's Photostream
 

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2010 Forester Touring
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138 Posts
.. But move it forward or back and you choose the gear you are in.. It stays in the gear you choose and shifts down only when you get to slow for that gear so its really a manual with out a clutch.
Exactly. The sport-shift is a great feature for finding the right gear to get the revs up quickly and accelerate when merging or passing. I also use it to engine brake when decelerating too.
 

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Hey, Xilant.

I'm in Northern Ontario. Little south of you. No need to worry about the 4 speed auto. It's outdated, but performs OK. It's not the most powerful engine out there. And yes, get a block heater.

The biggest negative I can mention about a Forester is that maintenance will cost you more than some of the competition. Of course you may be a DIY type of person. I don't know that. Compare the service requirements with other models.

Spark plug changes. Timing belts. Ancient stuff for most of the others. Check it out.

Heated seats, heated mirrors, etc, are commom now. Not only on Subarus.
 

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2016 Forester XT AT
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1,295 Posts
I live in south-central BC, with steep, long grades to get out of the valley to go anywhere. I have no issues, I am just prepared to flip it into 3rd (using the sportshift mode) and run it at 4,000 rpm to do the hills (they go for 5-20 kms, at 5-8%). You should do OK, just get to know the vehicle and what works fro your situation.


Hey, Xilant.

...

The biggest negative I can mention about a Forester is that maintenance will cost you more than some of the competition. Of course you may be a DIY type of person. I don't know that. Compare the service requirements with other models.

Spark plug changes. Timing belts. Ancient stuff for most of the others. Check it out.

...
There may be some extra maintenance costs but we are looking at almost a $1,000 for the 6 year timing belt replacement in our Sienna this spring. That is a big ouch. So not all vehicles have timing chains (or good ol' pushrods :biggrin: ).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks a lot everyone! I read all of your posts and I'm pretty sure that the Forester is the best choice for me.
 
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