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2014 Sportwagen TDI 6sp DSG
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm currently shopping both of these vehicles. The 30-second version of my story is that I am consolidating a 2009 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition and 2007 Forester X Premium into a single "utility" vehicle. The 4Runner has 7k miles on the clock. The Forester has 70k miles on the clock. The new vehicle will be used for high-mileage commuting (~35k miles per year) and light offroading in connection with my primary hobby - dark sky astronomy. I am mystified by the 4Runner. It's a limited production model with off road goodies like the Bilstein suspension off of the trail teams FJC and a locking rear differential. The "Trail Edition" Package was an add on atop the standard SR5 package. New, the vehicle stickered at $35k but I paid much less than that. I've now priced trades and to my amazement I have two dealers offering close to what I paid for the car. Bizzarre. Maybe the new 5th Generation 4Runner is too expensive? No matter. I'll take it. I owe a little on the Forester, but have equity in the vehicle (~$5k in the black on the car).

I've narrowed my options down to 3 vehicles: 2010 Outback Limited 3.6R, 2010 Outback Limited 2.5i, 2010 Forester X Limited

Here are the advantages in favor of the Forester (my perception anyway):

1. Made in Japan.
2. 4EAT has nice low ratios for light offroading
3. Superior approach, departure and breakover angles
4. Panoramic sunroof standard
5. Longer rear load floor with seats folded (70" vs. 66") (better for sleeping in the car)
6. Shorter (easier to park in urban environment)
7. Seat back holders on both seats
8. Better center console storage options
9. Folding side mirrors
10. Less costly

Here are the advantages in favor the Outbacks (3.6R/2.5i advantages noted)

1. More power (3.6R)
2. 5 speed automatic (3.6R) for better highway experience
3. Better fuel economy (2.5i)
4. More comfy seats
5. Rear cargo cover standard
6. Longer wheelbase (softer ride)
7. Marginally quieter
8. MUCH better factory stereo system (HK vs. doo-doo)
9. Projector beam headlamps
10. Bigger fuel tank
12. Rear limited slip differential
13. Folding roof rails (standard; cross bars optional on Forester)


I'm perplexed. The three vehicles seem really close. I like the CVT mileage boost for commuting, but have some concerns about long term durability and off road use. I like the power of the 3.6R but not the extra weight in front and poor (though Forester-ish) fuel economy. I like the Forester's superiority off pavement in the approach and departure angle department. Aesthetically, I find the Outback more intersting (and traditional Subaru butt-ugly) compared to the somewhat generic "CUV" profile of the Forester. I'm in analysis-paralysis mode.

What do you think about these three vehicles? Have I overlooked anything that might be important to me given my intended uses?

Thanks!

- Jim
 

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2003 Chevy Suburban
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7 Posts
Forester vs. Outback for 2010

My wife and I test drove both and decided on the Forester for the same reason: it was just more fun to drive than the Outback. For sure, the Outback seems a bit more refined vehicle, but it lacked the tactile sense of sure-footedness that makes the Forester such a hoot. Also the fact that a similarly equipped Outback would have been about $2500 more made the decision between the two that much easier.
 

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Premium Member
2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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13,267 Posts
Made in Japan is no advantage. Its a disadvantage. Better to buy U.S. Studies have shown that quality of U.S. is the equal of foreign. (Comparing the same Carline). U.S. Camry's made in U.S. proved better assembled than the Japanese counterpart.
 

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2009 Forester XT 4EAT
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2,302 Posts
I think it would really just be a matter of which one fits you best as far as comfort and economy.
If you're worried about reliability on the new CVT, check around and see if any of your local dealers is offering what my local dealer is: Free Lifetime Warranty with new purchase. :biggrin:
 

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2008 XT SPORT
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86 Posts
I've narrowed my options down to 3 vehicles: 2010 Outback Limited 3.6R, 2010 Outback Limited 2.5i, 2010 Forester X Limited

Here are the advantages in favor of the Forester (my perception anyway):

1. Made in Japan.
2. 4EAT has nice low ratios for light offroading
3. Superior approach, departure and breakover angles
4. Panoramic sunroof standard
5. Longer rear load floor with seats folded (70" vs. 66") (better for sleeping in the car)
6. Shorter (easier to park in urban environment)
7. Seat back holders on both seats
8. Better center console storage options

Here are the advantages in favor the Outbacks (3.6R/2.5i advantages noted)

1. More power (3.6R)
2. 5 speed automatic (3.6R) for better highway experience
3. Better fuel economy (2.5i)
4. More comfy seats
5. Rear cargo cover standard
6. Longer wheelbase (softer ride)
7. Marginally quieter
8. MUCH better factory stereo system (HK vs. doo-doo)
9. Projector beam headlamps
10. Bigger fuel tank


I'm perplexed. The three vehicles seem really close. I like the CVT mileage boost for commuting, but have some concerns about long term durability and off road use. I like the power of the 3.6R but not the extra weight in front and poor (though Forester-ish) fuel economy. I like the Forester's superiority off pavement in the approach and departure angle department. Aesthetically, I find the Outback more intersting (and traditional Subaru butt-ugly) compared to the somewhat generic "CUV" profile of the Forester. I'm in analysis-paralysis mode.

What do you think about these three vehicles? Have I overlooked anything that might be important to me given my intended uses?

Thanks!

- Jim
Having owned 08 XT Forester , 09 XT Forester and now 2010 2.5 OB Limited w/Nav...it's a close one.
All the pros and con's you've mentioned are good points. I'll just tell you what I've liked and disliked about forester and now outback.

Forester dislikes: more road noise than ob, shorter wheel base, not-so supple leather, 4eat on hwy.
Forester likes: power (XT), approach and departure angles, higher roof cargo limit.
Outback dislikes: a bit weird looking, quick lane change on the hwy with 2.5 can be a challenge above 8000 ft, lower roof cargo limit.
Outback likes: supple leather, wood trim, rear seat space, longer wheel base, fuel economy.

good luck
 

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2003 Forester XS
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1,090 Posts
I like wagons better than SUVs..
For that reason, I'd choose the Outback..
The new forester is an SUV.. not a wagon like SGs and SFs
 

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2000 Mazda Protege ES
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50 Posts
I like wagons better than SUVs..
For that reason, I'd choose the Outback..
The new forester is an SUV.. not a wagon like SGs and SFs
The new Outback is no wagon. It is a Verenza classed thing. More SUV than wagon. Further proof Subaru has lost it's focus.
 

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2014 Sportwagen TDI 6sp DSG
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Made in Japan is no advantage. Its a disadvantage. Better to buy U.S. Studies have shown that quality of U.S. is the equal of foreign. (Comparing the same Carline). U.S. Camry's made in U.S. proved better assembled than the Japanese counterpart.
To me, made in Japan is an advantage. I've had better luck with Japan-made Accords than Ohio-made accords. The Japan-built 4Runner is a much better quality truck than the US-built Tacoma (shared 120 Platform).

It's my car hence my biases apply. :icon_biggrin:

Regards,

Jim
 

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2014 Sportwagen TDI 6sp DSG
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The new Outback is no wagon. It is a Verenza classed thing. More SUV than wagon. Further proof Subaru has lost it's focus.
That's Venza. And the Venza, like the Outback, to my eye, is a station wagon. A f'ugly wannabe Luke Skywalker station wagon, granted, but still a wagon. Neither the Outback nor Venza to my eye look remotely like a truck with an enclosed back (which is what I call an SUV).

As for losing its way, Subaru is one of the only auto makers growing sales and remaining profitable right now. They must know something that the Subarista don't. Thank the gods that Subaru hasn't stayed in the same old rut like GM! Japan won't give its auto makers corporate wellfare.

Regards,

Jim
 

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2000 Forester
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263 Posts
Made in Japan is no advantage. Its a disadvantage. Better to buy U.S. Studies have shown that quality of U.S. is the equal of foreign. (Comparing the same Carline). U.S. Camry's made in U.S. proved better assembled than the Japanese counterpart.
Not a flag waver here, but I'd rather give my money to some U.S. families rather than a Japanese one. Especially considering you arn't getting a JDM spec RHD wonderful something! Plus, the U.S. car never had to experience the Pacific Ocean:raspberry:

And did anyone mention the U.S. Subaru plant is Zero emissions!:rock:
 

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TANSTAAFL
2010 2.5X Premium AFF 4EAT
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481 Posts
Not a flag waver here, but I'd rather give my money to some U.S. families rather than a Japanese one. Especially considering you arn't getting a JDM spec RHD wonderful something! Plus, the U.S. car never had to experience the Pacific Ocean:raspberry:

And did anyone mention the U.S. Subaru plant is Zero emissions!:rock:
Is there any automobile that is 100% designed and assembled in the USA by American workers, using 100% made in USA parts?
 

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2008 Subaru Outback Wagon
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67 Posts
Two things:

1. I don't believe limited slip is offered anymore. Traction controls based on braking have taken its place.

2. The Outback is in its first year of a big redesign. Roll of the dice? Search outback.org for wheel shake. Some people are having a problem. Just a thought.
 

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2007 2.5X L.L. BEAN
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151 Posts
Made in Japan is no advantage. Its a disadvantage. Better to buy U.S. Studies have shown that quality of U.S. is the equal of foreign. (Comparing the same Carline). U.S. Camry's made in U.S. proved better assembled than the Japanese counterpart.
I AGREE!! BUY U.S. My girlfirend and I own a Forester but I believe things made in the U.S. have better quality measures.
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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4,733 Posts
Agreeing with some of the folks about the US-built Outback; our '08 Legacy was built here and it seems just fine. Certainly no complaints about the initial build quality.

The harmon kardon system available in the OB is awfully compelling, especially if you do long stints. (If it's anything like the MacIntosh system Subaru used earlier this decade, hoooweee!) Ditto the longer wheelbase for the same reason - maybe easier to live with when you're staring at the windshield for hours on end.

I'm not sure what better highway experience you're expecting with the H-6. Once up to speed, the smoothness of the ride will be more dependent on the tires and the road than on the motor. Maybe if you expect to do a lot of passing on two-lane roads...
 

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2010 XT 4eat
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602 Posts
When I bought my forester a few weeks ago I had test drove both the outback (2.5 6 speed) and the Forester XT. The Outback seems to be overall put together better and more mature, a bit to mature for me (i'm 27), I kinda felt like I was driving a car that belong to my parents. The outback has less road noise and seemed to handle and take the turns better plus it had more room.

I still went with the Forester, it was more my style and I just love the look of it inside and out. It had that mini suv feel. It feel sportier. Plus thr turbo and so on.

Its a tough one, but if your going to be doing long drives the outback may be suited better for you, though the forester is still an excellent choice. If I had a family and was older I may have gotten the outback.

Price wise the Forester is a better buy.
 

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2009 Forester
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I've owned Outbacks since 1997 and my wife has one as well.

I was planning on buying a 2010 until I saw the new design which I found just a bit goofy. I must admit that the new design is starting to grow on me a bit, but I'm still undecided about it.

I drove one and liked it, but it was pretty much like my other Outbacks, a nice, comfortable wagon with plenty of room, but a bit underpowered.

Then I drove a Forester for the first time and I was hooked. I liked the great visibility and the fact that it just seemed more fun then the Outback.

Now when I drive my wife's Outback Limited it seems downright claustraphobic, but it is quieter and seems more comfortable for longer trips.

I guess I like them both. It's a bit of a tough call.
 

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2014 Sportwagen TDI 6sp DSG
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262 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Thanks a bunch for the feedback.

I'm leaning Outback 2.5i Limited.

Here's my reasoning: though it has lousy approach and departure angles compared to the 2010 Forester, it has similar approach and departure angles to my current 2007 Forester that has around 1000 happy off pavement astro-camping miles on it. The 4Runner is an awesome rig offroad. I've not hit anything I had the guts to try that the vehicle didn't climb over or up without a whimper. That said, I find that I do not want/need its capabilities when I am hauling astronomy gear. While the truck is plenty tough, the gear is delicate. Bouncing off of pumpkin-sized boulders is pretty hard on optics even if it isn't hard on the truck. In other words, the 4Runner is a tool for a job I don't need to do and the '07 Forester has plenty of capability for the level of offroading I am willing to attempt with telescopes in tow. Given that the Outback has slightly better clearance than my '07 Forrie, better articulation, and similar approach and departure limits, I figure the 2010 will be at least as good as the '07 for my needs.

The 2.5i Limited's better fuel economy will be meaningful on the pocketbook given my annual 35k mile commuting. The quieter interior and more compliant ride than either the '07 or '10 Forester will be welcome on my middle-aged backside for all those miles. The HK sound system will help pass the 4-hours per work day in the car.

While there are plenty of things I prefer about the 2010 Forester, on balance, the Outback seems a better fit as an "only" car given my uses and needs. Now it comes down to color. I am leaning wither Steel Silver/Dark Gray or Cypress Green/Ivory. Decisions, decisions...

- Jim
 
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