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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I test drove a Subaru Forester 2.5 XT model a few days ago (on dry roads) and I was disappointed with its overall performance. After reading the glorious reviews of the car and the "SUV of the Year" hype I was expecting to at least experience a glimpse of the positive feedback during the drive.

Likes:

1. Great ground clearance
2. Good interior ergonomics
3. Great head room and good use of space inside car
4. Good initial turn-in steering response.
5. Smaller outer size of the car makes it easy to maneuver while driving through parking lots and traffic.
6. Brake response was predictable with no surprises.

Dislikes:

1. Car felt very underpowered in stock form (yes it's the turbo engine)
--> It needs at least another 50 ft/lb of torque to the wheels to be considered decent for 'passing prowress' on the highway. It did not feel fast or quick in stock form AT ALL to me. The engine provided good initial response from throttle tip-in, but after that it was a waiting-game until the next gear. Subaru really crippled this engine with such an antiquated 4-speed transmission.

2. Noisy cabin ride. I was really surprised at the road noise that was transmitted to the inside of the car. It's 2010, they should have done a better job with insulation..constant noise while driving is horrible. Initially it was fun to hear the noise, but it became tiresome and annoying near the end of the test drive.

3. Bumpy ride. The car was transmitting even small bumps and vibrations directly to the passengers and it was uncomfortable despite the snug seats (although, the VW Tiguan has harsher ride with more jolts transmitted to occupants). The larger road bumps turned into extreme jolts magnifying their way directly into our lower backs and it was a bad feeling overall. For me, this Subaru Forester in stock form is dare-I-say borderline painful for long (1,000+ mile) road trips. Sitting in the rear seats was worse and more uncomfortable from the vibrations and bumps compared to the front seats. Some consider this bump ride "fun"...but it's fun until you start getting lower back pain :shake:.

4. Front vs. Rear suspension response? The rear end of the car felt like it did not follow the front end during turns. It was as if it was lagging behind the intial turn input from the steering wheel, then it would try to correct itself by leveling and this caused more sway and instability. I don't know if it's the suspension settings, but it felt as the the rear-end handling response did not want to work with the great steering response of the front end.


I'm hoping the handling problem can be remedied and somehow also lessen the jolting vibration to the passengers in the car with some simple suspension ugprades. But, the noise in the car is definitely a turn off for me as well as the sub-par sound quality of the stereo system. (the extra cabin noise drowns out the stereo at lower volumes as well)

Being a graduate of EFI University with my Tuning certifications, I could probably coax out another 40-50ft/lb of torque and horsepower through my tuning and a free flowing exhaust system. Perhaps some suspension upgrades are available to make the ride more plush while making suspension response more cohesive from all four courners. However, the cabin noise is something bothersome for my creature comfort levels.

I really wanted to like this car because I'm a fan of overall shell design and Forester concept. All it needs to cater to my taste is better acceleration, less cabin noise, more cohesive suspension handling character, and I'll be sold; maybe next year. :shrug:
 

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2007 XT Sport 5MT
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I really wanted to like this car because I'm a fan of overall shell design and Forester concept. All it needs to cater to my taste is better acceleration, less cabin noise, more cohesive suspension handling character, and I'll be sold; maybe next year. :shrug:
too bad you didn't like it... but most of those can be remedied for fairly cheap if somebody wanted.
Hopefully you find what you're looking for though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
too bad you didn't like it... but most of those can be remedied for fairly cheap if somebody wanted.
Hopefully you find what you're looking for though.
What suspension upgrades do think would help Duderotomy? I'm still looking for crossover-like suv at the moment and will test drive some more cars tomorrow. The forester is not a bad car, it's just missing some refinements that cater to my personal preferences.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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You might like the Subaru Outback 3.6R with the six cylinder boxer engine:


3.6R Summary

The redesigned Subaru Outback 3.6R is a 2010 IIHS Top Safety Pick
and is powered by a 256-hp SUBARU BOXER® engine. Add to that a
5-speed automatic SPORTSHIFT® transmission, and Symmetrical
All-Wheel Drive and start planning your next adventure.


source: 2010 Subaru Outback 3.6R | Subaru Vehicles
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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New Subaru engines are pretty tight so you wont get a real feel for its preformance till its broken in. That said the Foresters not really a sports car either its a utility vehicle. Maybe youd be better off test driving the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S its got a 176mph top speed with 550 hp and a 4.7 sec 0-60 time..
 

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2017 2.0 FXT-Touring CVT
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New Subaru engines are pretty tight so you wont get a real feel for its preformance till its broken in. That said the Foresters not really a sports car either its a utility vehicle. Maybe youd be better off test driving the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S its got a 176mph top speed with 550 hp and a 4.7 sec 0-60 time..
Agreed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The outback sounds good. I sat in one at the dealership and everything felt snug and comfortable, but I did prefer the higher space in the Forester. I'll test drive the outback and Forester again in offroad conditions tomorrow and report my experience. Regarding the Porsche Cayenne, I drove one a few years ago and honestly the Forester is probably better bang for your buck. To me, the Cayenne felt like it was overpriced and not put together as well. From my driver perspective the car felt kinda junky for the price in terms of road feel and some materials as well.
 

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2007 Forester XT manual
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Most of what you say is true. I would like my Forester to be faster, more economical, better handling, smoother, better riding, roomier, more compact externally, cheaper, better equiped, quieter better finished and better looking but............. where do I look? I didn't find it so I put up with the next best thing. One day .................
 

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Pleiads' biggest leghumper
04's 2 FXT's.
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I would say its the poor tires that Subaru chose for factory. As far as noise & ride.

Get a bigger rear sway bar on it & you will be happy with turn in/out.

How many miles did it have?


joe r
 

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2007 FSTI and X 6 MT
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Should be broken in at 2100.

As far as fixing the problems you listed it can be done. The sways can be swapped, turbo and exhaust swapped and then you can add 100hp(vf52 turbo with supporting mods) and the noise can be fixed with sound material.

Good luck, I like the way my modded forester does everything now, LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the input everyone. Test drove it again today and basically the same. The turning response is good on the Forester with the symmetrical layout during acceleration, so that is something I definitely like. The car feels like it's best acceleration occurs from a stop instead of during highway cruising speeds. The bump absorption was also the same as before, so not exactly my cup of tea.

I'll be looking at an older 2004 forester XT tomorrow because of the lower price compared to the new foresters. I realize it is older and most likely not as refined as the newer ones, but if the price is right I very well may have to compromise and begin the modding mayhem :icon_razz: . So, I'm prepared for a louder incabin noise compared to the latest 2010 Forester, but how would this older model compare to the new foresters in term so overall bump absorption comfort with the lower ground clearance?

Lastly,
are there any items I should check on the car that are common problem areas for these cars? I read some reports of "piston slapping" noise on these models during warm up, but didn't seem to find any other common "issues."
 

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2004 Forester XT
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Thanks for the input everyone. Test drove it again today and basically the same. The turning response is good on the Forester with the symmetrical layout during acceleration, so that is something I definitely like. The car feels like it's best acceleration occurs from a stop instead of during highway cruising speeds. The bump absorption was also the same as before, so not exactly my cup of tea.

I'll be looking at an older 2004 forester XT tomorrow because of the lower price compared to the new foresters. I realize it is older and most likely not as refined as the newer ones, but if the price is right I very well may have to compromise and begin the modding mayhem :icon_razz: . So, I'm prepared for a louder incabin noise compared to the latest 2010 Forester, but how would this older model compare to the new foresters in term so overall bump absorption comfort with the lower ground clearance?

Lastly,
are there any items I should check on the car that are common problem areas for these cars? I read some reports of "piston slapping" noise on these models during warm up, but didn't seem to find any other common "issues."
Stock for stock, the 04 will be about 1.3 sec quicker to 60mph then the 2010. It will be at least 1 sec quicker in the quarter as well at a higher MPH. It may be less refined but the 04 will be far lighter, which is why its more nimble.
Stage 2 performance is a huge leap for either vehicle. I doubt you'd be complaining about power on the 2010 with Turbo back exhaust and a good tune, even with the auto.
I bought my 04 5 speed forester and am very glad I did, especially when we get 6+ inches of snow or a SRT-8 Dodge needs reminded there's a replacement for displacement :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great info Dr. Evil, thanks!...muwahahaha ;).

Since this might be my first Subaru turbocharged car, does anyone know what cylinder pressure numbers are considered healthy when a Compression test is performed on the engine?
 

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2010 Forester 2.5x Tour
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For what it's worth, my MY'10 2.5X (non-turbo) took until about 8000 kms before the throttle response began to "open up" after a LOT of knocking on uphills in the mountains. Still not quick (170hp pushing this vehicle around isn't a TON...) but a vast improvement over the minivan-like response I had at purchase. At 18000 kms right now, the only thing I crave is another 170 horsies using 87 octane with only a 10% hit in fuel economy... ;>
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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Unfortunately, in terms of passing power, even when you've "gone 'Stage II'" (for modern Subarus, this means post-turbo pipework to free-up the exhaust path, as well as an ECU reflash to maximize power delivery, accounting for the freer post-turbo tract) the small factory turbo is going to put a cap on the fun. It's just not built for that kind of thing.

Combined with the AWD, the sprint to 60 from a dig is where the fun lies (and this will improve significantly, with the above-mentioned modifications), but again, remember which vehicle segment you're in - the SH platform ('09+) is lumped with the rest of the "cute-utes" (the latest Car & Driver comparo of several 2010 MY cute-utes has the V6 Toyota RAV-4 taking the sprint categories, but even then, it doesn't drop the windsprint to 60 MPH below 6 seconds). Even with the above pipework as well as ECU reflash, the SH isn't going to be a WRX/STI killer, unlike the SG-variant, which can really be rather startlingly quick, paired with the 5MT.

My '05 LGT, a 5MT, is a typical "Stage II" Subaru - on a dyno where stock '05 STis and EVO MRs of the same generation clock in at 200 wHP/200 wTQ, flat, I come in at approx. 225/275, respectively. Yes, the -to-60 windsprint in this car is respectable, even by modern standards, but highway passing is where the car simply falls on its face, and cannot even match my rather conservative DSM (EVO III 16G, fully-supported, at 18PSI, putting out 300/300 on same dyno).

If you want passing power, you'll need to go with a bigger-turbo setup.

Certainly, after the engine "breaks-in" and loosens up a bit, things will improve (it's also possible that the fueling may be sub-par [there's no way to insure that the vehicle's properly fueled, and modern Subarus are *very* knock-sensitive], as well as the potential for the vehicle to not have yet reached max timing advance, due to its "off-the-lot" status) - but it's not going to blow your eyebrows off, in terms of the difference.

If you're looking for a SUV that will really haul-butt, without modifications, it's going to take a lot more greenbacks! :wink:

Don't get me wrong, though. The SH, even in stock form, is a potent little package, with performance that few of its peers can match, and will manage to beat up on or at least threaten many in the more expensive or larger-volume tiers. Nevertheless, it's a compromise in many ways, and when it comes to raw performance, it just doesn't have the gusto that the more lightweight SGs did.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
settled on a 2004 Subaru Forester XT Premium :woohoo: . The car is more comfortable, and faster than the 2010 xt models I test drove...so far so good, it's a fun daily driver :).
 
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