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2019 Subaru Forester Limited CVT
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I really like the refresh. I noticed it has a front camera. I wonder if that will carry over here to the US? I really like the front LED turn signals and the headlights overall! It's a bummer that the rear turn signals are still bulbs (whyyyyyyy Subaru whyyyyy?). The new round LED fog lights look pretty great. Those snowflake rims with the strange bolt pattern are an eyesore though. Those rims should go away. Thanks for those great videos @ChoCCo!
 

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Planned 2022 Forester Touring Owner
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So something I've noticed is that the US forester is SERIOUSLY gimped compared to other regions. Specifically the Japanese version. Here is a list of features on the Japanese version that are not on the US version. Most of these were present on last years model and are not just the refresh, but I have not confirmed all of them.
  • Front View Camera
  • Passenger Side View Camera
  • Smart Rear View Mirror (camera based mirror)
  • Power Folding Side Mirrors
  • Rain Sensing Wipers
  • 3 Position Heated Seats (controllable from the app)
I mean what gives Subaru? Why can't you at least make these features an option here? I don't care if it increases the price of the top trims, you can keep the lowest trim the same and just spread things out a little more. The only US vehicle that comes close to having all these features is the Ascent Touring trim, and it doesn't even have the side view camera. It is literally the most expensive car they make for the US. What sucks even more is that IF they actually were planning to bring some of these features to the US Forester the chip shortage could have caused them to get canceled. BLAH!!!

Last but not least. These cars retail for way less in Japan. The current most expensive model is the Sport which is 3,289,000 Yen. That translates to $29,682.11, and tax is included.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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For the retail US vs Japan - in Japan, they don't have to import the Forester and do not have to include those types of costs into the price point.

As for the other optional parts - in some cases, they may be required by jurisdictional laws/requirements that are not in place here in the US.

The Ascent is made here in the US and - if I remember - is not available outside of North America - at least through regular channels? Like the Tribeca, it's not available in Japan. So that comparison is moot.

Given the Forester competition (in the compact SUV market), there are really two big battle fronts - price and MPG. Well, we'll add #3 - safety. Adding those features here in the US could be a price point issue that takes the Forester to the tip of the price point comparison and put it more in competition with beasts like the Mercedes Benz GLC and the Range Rover Evoque and BMW X3, the Lincoln MKC and Cadillac XT4. - and most of those shoppers would not consider the Subaru as it's like comping a Ford to a Lincoln or a Chevy to a Caddy...

I do agree, however, that those features should be available as "dealer installed accessories" - much like the light up mirrors, the roof rack aero bars, the bumper cover and more...

And no. It's pretty much a given that we will NOT see a turbo Forester in the SK generation here in North America.
 

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Very good post @FozzieBalou. I understand some arguments, but the price one seems dumb to me. Yes, price is an important factor, but it wouldn't change the lower range pricing, just the top range. I don't really understand why top end price is much of a concern, but I've priced out the forester vs some of the competition. It seems to be about $2,500 less than the Rav4 and $1,000 less than the CR-V. Hard to do an apples to apples comparison, but it feels like they have some room to expand here.

I'm just frustrated because they really seem to be lagging behind in many elements of features/technology. I definitely have preferred a forester for many other reasons, but it frustrates me that I have to sacrifice other niceties like ventilated seats, wireless phone charging, and those mentioned above.
 

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Very salient points, Zach... But to add those other items - even at the top end of the price structure - changes the market and moves it out of the point it's at...

The other factor to consider is the "take rate"... as has been discussed to death on other posts, the take rate on the manual transmission and on the XT Turbo is limited (at best) to less than 10% of the buyers - either through direct ordering or through dealer stock orders. Same argument is valid for these features. Yes there are some of us that would like to see those features (although not so sure about the back up camera in the rear view mirror) but the average shopper wouldn't want them and - as we've seen with other equipment offerings - are actually disliked and hated by others... not everybody has a phone that works well with wireless charging or they have a protective case on there that will not allow a wireless charge platform to work. My old LG phone had wireless charging and never worked through the case. And even then the charging didn't always work if it was not placed "just so" on the charging pad. I do not believe my current phones (google pixel 4 and samsung galaxy A51) have wireless charging but it's moot since I have protective (and stylish) cases on the phones.

I would like the power folding mirrors and the side view cameras - having had the cameras on an RV I drove, it is very beneficial to have. But the cost point and take rate may just not be viable enough for them to offer those items here on this side of the world. One other thing to remember about adding tech to a vehicle is the system it needs to go to... For example, the rear view camera currently displays on the stereo screen, yeah? Where does the side view camera display? Same place? Now we have to have somebody reprogram that interface to English and to make it work on North American models.

And the top end is a concern to some - look at posts where somebody will complain that he paid X-dollars for this Forester and it doesn't have __ (fill in the blank)... Once you do start getting up there in price, there is a perceived notion of the status of the vehicle (going back to MB, BMW, etc. comparisons) and they will expect their $50,000 Subaru to ride like, sound like, be smoother like brand X and they will complain that "I spent 50-grand on this and it rides like crap, I'm off to the Lexus dealer!" or something similar. There is a perception by some (many?) that cost somehow equals status or features and those safety features (however neat) are not as valuable to them as a quieter and smoother ride - like they'd get in the Lexus or MB or _.... It's a perception of cost = value which is not always true. People in the US tend to NOT buy those higher priced compact hatchbacks (for example) because they don't except a small hatchback to be luxed out like you can find in Europe or Japan.

And as much as we like it (or dislike it) there are dozens of features on many models that we never see - no matter who makes them...
 

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Good points. The best one is that only a fool would pay $50k for Subaru Forester.

People keep whining that the Forester lacks or is going to lack luxury features. Frankly, this is not a luxury car. If that's what you seek, look at a luxury make.

Keep in mind Japanese car culture. The Japanese are pretty xenophobic and highly nationalistic when it comes to cars. They are also very much status symbols there, hence the modification market. When you have no space for a fancy house, you pour your discretionary dollars into your car. That's also why ownership of a car in Japan is typically very short. Just look at the number of barely used Japanese cars in the New Zealand market. It's because the Japanese don't want them any more even though they are barely broken in.

Japanese car culture warrants the inclusion of higher-end features there because even a lowly Subaru can be a status symbol. It isn't always about the purchase price of a car. That's why really cool K cars exist with features that the American market would seem pointless and silly on such a small vehicle.

Continuing to whine 'but, but it could be an option!' still drives the top end up into a bracket Subaru doesn't want the Forester to be in in the US. As @FozzieBalou stated, the take rate would be too low to bother.

US streets are just a wee bit (/s) wider than Japan and Europe. There's really no need for folding mirrors or 360 cameras on a crossover. It's not a big vehicle.
The take rate for cooled seats would probably be lower than the take rate for the XT. If they were included by default on the top end, the price bracket argument comes back into play.

The Forester is marketed where it is (bracket-wise). Might as well stop whining that it's not a luxury vehicle.
 

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@sneefy

You are using the classic tactic off taking someone's comments to an extreme to discredit their point/opinion. Nothing that I'm taking about here is turning the Forester into a luxury car. I'm taking about the same features their competition has. Maybe $2k difference on the MSRP. It wouldn't change it's bracket or it's market.

Also, you really need to check yourself because their were a lot of personal attacks in that post. Maybe take a second and read what you wrote before posting.

@FozzieBalou Thank you for your thought out and polite responses to my posts. While we may not agree, discussing it with you is a pleasure. I have some thoughts for a response to your post and I'll get to that later when I have time.
 

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I'm just frustrated because they really seem to be lagging behind in many elements of features/technology. I definitely have preferred a forester for many other reasons, but it frustrates me that I have to sacrifice other niceties like ventilated seats, wireless phone charging, and those mentioned above.
It does feel like it’s something they should offer, especially if they already have that option available. Barring any local regulations etc of course. But how much extra would they need to build in for future warranty?
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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The thing to take note of is that manufacturers aim their models to fall within “price points”, or ranges. A Forester isn’t aimed at the Lux market, but instead the economicall—minded, family & safety-oriented public. Those commercials with the family of dogs aren’t trying to reach a buyer that desires all the status & finer things in life.

Offering too many options out of the range of the “lifestyle” the model is aimed at can, and sometimes does confuse the potential buying market. BMW shows it’s X series vehicles as being off-road rugged, but their emphasis is, and always has been, on performance and luxury. Few people are going camping in the hills in an X3, and BMW knows it. In the same vein, Subaru knows its target Forester customer isn’t a high-roller (or wannabe) and targets it’s vehicle at a different buyer.

Many of the desired options mentioned earlier will eventually make it into the Forester, but more so because the competing market’s vehicles will be offering them as well. Manufacturer flagship models… in this case, the Ascent, will always have features that lower models won’t get… that helps sell them. They know that if those options are that important to the buyer, he/she will upgrade to the more expensive model to get them. It’s the way cars have been marketed and sold for my entire 67 year lifetime.
 

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@sneefy Maybe $2k difference on the MSRP.
In what world? In 2018 the turbo engine alone added $3k to the price of the Forester. On the current Outback the turbo adds $2500. A turbo is on your rather extensive list, right?

their [sic] were a lot of personal attacks in that post.
I'm having a hard time finding them. If you're feeling singled out and attacked, that may be on you, friend. (You know, you're not the only one posting in this thread. Just saying...)

There are a number of people whining like Veruca Salt in this thread about the lack of luxury features (in a mid-market crossover of all things). You just may be more vocal than most about the inequities Subaru is foisting upon you. Perhaps that's why you feel attacked?

Fact is, those random few vocal forum members who feel Subaru isn't meeting their desires is of decidedly less objective value than the extensive and expensive market research that Subaru has done on positioning their vehicles in individual markets. If you feel Subaru's decisions don't make sense or are 'dumb', then that's obviously your opinion and your want. However, it's also obvious that not every desire is going to (nor should) be met. Not everybody is going to be made happy and every carmaker knows that. Subaru made a conscious decision to drop the Forester XT even though they knew that a number of overly-emotional forum members would scream 'I'LL nEvEr BuY a sUbArU AgAiN!!!!1!!". It's nothing personal. The car market is more competitive than it has ever been and someone has to be an adult and make difficult decisions.

Even if you leave the turbo out in your 'maybe $2k difference' number, and even if you're correct, $2k is not an insignificant number. Do you think Subaru hasn't evaluated all the possible permutations and positioned their range very carefully? Subaru isn't leaving anything out by accident. Every minute detail is a measured decision backed by huge amounts of data. That's how the world works, especially in the world of very expensive products with many details and a long development cycle.

So, I stand by my assessment of whining because that's what's going on here. No, that's not an attack, not only directed at you, and there's nothing personal about it.

One thing I agree with you on is that the green color posted a couple pages ago is niiiiiiice. If that color were available with Black interior, I would have totally chosen that. Or better yet, a color scheme like the Hakone edition 86. That would be sweet.

@sneefy
Also, you really need to check yourself
Yeah, I'll get right on that. :rolleyes:
 

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The thing to take note of is that manufacturers aim their models to fall within “price points”, or ranges. A Forester isn’t aimed at the Lux market, but instead the economicall—minded, family & safety-oriented public...Offering too many options out of the range of the “lifestyle” the model is aimed at can, and sometimes does confuse the potential buying market.... They know that if those options are that important to the buyer, he/she will upgrade to the more expensive model to get them.
^^That.
 

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In what world? In 2018 the turbo engine alone added $3k to the price of the Forester. On the current Outback the turbo adds $2500. A turbo is on your rather extensive list, right?
I apologize. When I said "Nothing that I'm taking about here" I was not very specific. My intent was to reference back to this post. Specifically We have been talking about things the Japanese model has that the US doesn't. Though I believe it was, it might not have been clear in the thread of the current conversation. Also I don't believe I brought up the engine in this conversation, but feel free to enlighten me if I'm wrong.

As for a justification, let's dig into it. If you go from the Ascent Limited with Tech package to the Ascent Touring it adds most of these features and several others with an MSRP difference of $2,900. I've inserted my list and market it bellow.
  • (Yes) Front View Camera
  • (No) Passenger Side View Camera
  • (Yes) Smart Rear View Mirror (camera based mirror)
  • (Yes) Power Folding Side Mirrors
  • (Yes) Rain Sensing Wipers
  • (Both have) 3 Position Heated Seats (controllable from the app)
It also adds Ventilated seats, a 120 V AC outlet, and lots of materials upgrades. All this considered I think my estimate makes sense, but hell I bend here and push my estimate up to $3K more. That still doesn't put it out of the realm of the Forester's competition.

Now I'll speak to your response to my "personal attacks" comment. Calling them personal may not be the most accurate, but they are attacks. You general tone throughout your post was one of attacking and demeaning other's thoughts and opinions.

People keep whining that the Forester lacks or is going to lack luxury features.
Continuing to whine 'but, but it could be an option!' still drives the top end up into a bracket Subaru doesn't want the Forester to be in in the US.
Might as well stop whining that it's not a luxury vehicle.
...and honestly, you just continued it with the subsequent post. I'm not being "overly sensitive" here, I'm talking about treating people with dignity and respect both online and in person. No one here is "whining that it is not a luxury vehicle". No need to paint them like they are.
 

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I'm surprised they have not switched to the new 11.6" infotainment screen currently found in the Outback.
I'm glad they haven't. Especially with the troubles owners have been having with it in the new Outback.
 

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When I bought my Touring I was surprised that it did not have rain sensing wipers. I understand that previous Foresters had them. Is this true? It seems to me that the inclusion of this feature would be entirely a software addition and therefore rather inexpensive. (I assume that eyesight would see the rain drops, and the wipers are already controlled electronically.)
 

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@zachavm … I think you’re missing the big picture here. Subaru isn’t putting all these bells and whistles on the Forester for one really big reason…

Subaru wants prospective car buyers who want these things to buy an Ascent instead of a Forester, simply because it brings in more profit.

This shouldn’t be a difficult concept for anyone to grasp…All manufacturers do it.

Go look at a BMW 2 or 3 series. Then look at how much more stuff you can get on a 6 or 7 series (and how much more they sell for). There’s no reason those things couldn’t be put on the lower-line cars, other than they want the buyer who wants these things to buy more vehicle (spend more $$$).

This isn’t new behavior. Carmakers have marketed product like this for my lifetime… 67 years.

All the items on your wish list will eventually sink down to the Forester models, as the competition forces continuous upgrading of features.

Other reasons for the slow advancement of new features…

Manufacturers want their model lineup to stay within their perceived niche. Subaru doesn’t want anyone to be cross-shopping a Forester with, say, an X3.

Also, if the manufacturer is constantly pushing down enhancements every year, it loses its “punch” for new sales when new versions of models are introduced every few years. They want current customers to “renew their tribal membership” every few years…
 

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When I bought my Touring I was surprised that it did not have rain sensing wipers. I understand that previous Foresters had them. Is this true? It seems to me that the inclusion of this feature would be entirely a software addition and therefore rather inexpensive. (I assume that eyesight would see the rain drops, and the wipers are already controlled electronically.)
Though I don't think it would be that expensive overall, I believe be more than software. I'm pretty sure it has its own sensor that that is used to sense that (though using eyesight camera might actually be way more accurate). Also you have the hardware differences to control it. Not huge costs likely, but still.
 

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As for a justification, let's dig into it. If you go from the Ascent Limited with Tech package to the Ascent Touring it adds most of these features and several others with an MSRP difference of $2,900. I've inserted my list and market it bellow.
  • (Yes) Front View Camera
  • (No) Passenger Side View Camera
  • (Yes) Smart Rear View Mirror (camera based mirror)
  • (Yes) Power Folding Side Mirrors
  • (Yes) Rain Sensing Wipers
  • (Both have) 3 Position Heated Seats (controllable from the app)
It also adds Ventilated seats, a 120 V AC outlet, and lots of materials upgrades. All this considered I think my estimate makes sense, but hell I bend here and push my estimate up to $3K more. That still doesn't put it out of the realm of the Forester's competition.
As I'd mentioned, comparing the Ascent and the Forester doesn't work. Why? Because the don't compete in the same markets... And the price points of the Ascent to the Forester - sure, the tech package may add just 2900 bucks to the Ascent Touring, but it's also a more expensive model to start with.

Let's look a bit at the competition for each model...

Ascent, as a large sized 3-row SUV, it competes with the Toyota Highlander, the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia ... something... Add in the Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and quite a few others in that larger sized 3-Row market... And we have to add the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L (stretched 3 row model).

Forester? The competition is Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Kia Soul, Honda CRV, Jeep Compass and others. And to a smaller extent the 4Runner, the Honda Passport and the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Bronco and a few others, too.

The reason I bring these all up is that the starting price points for most of the compact SUV market is in the low 20K range - from about 21k to 25k for the lower trim levels. Subaru is right in there at 24k. The larger SUVs (usually thought by most to be mid size) start in the low 30s - with the Ascent starting at about 33K...

In a recent (2019) comparison test, Car & Driver put a 2019 Forester Touring against a 2019 Ascent Touring... Price points? As tested, the Forester cha-chinged in at $35270. The Ascent? More than 11-grand higher at 46,743... Yes, that's a huge bump.

Putting another 3-grand on top for a "Touring Tech Package" on the Forester then pushes that price to over 38-grand, pushing that against a Lexus, MB, BMW, Infiniti, Lincoln, Cadillac and so many others that will wipe the Forester off the road when it comes to ride and comfort and quiet. Look at all the posts on here about "my forester is too noisy!"...

Again, yes, some of us would like those items. But making it a package deal on the top line only is not feasible. The best chance Subaru would have for this would be to offer them as the other optional "dealer installed accessories" - what used to be part of their port programs - and find some sales there.

One more point - to post an apples to apples comparison... To get the cameras on a RAV4, you have to start with the limited and then add the tech package. But to really make it apples to apples - let's equip them the same.

Toyota RAV4 with AWD, sunroof, tech package, cold weather package, carpeted floor mats and mudguards - we tap out at just under 40K ...

2020 RAV4 Limited
Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive (TV-AWD), 2.5L 4-Cyl., 8-Speed Automatic
STARTING MSRP
$35,880
EXTERIOR COLOR
Blueprint
$0
INTERIOR COLOR
Lt. Gray SofTex®
$0
PACKAGES
Limited Grade Advanced Technology Package, Limited Grade Cold Weather Package and Dual Pano Moonroof
$2,540
ACCESSORIES
Carpet Floor Mats
$169
Mudguards
$129
DELIVERY, PROCESSING & HANDLING FEE
$1,175

TOTAL PRICE $39,893

So now let's build out a Forester with the same stuff - well, I even added some extra stuff, too.

FORESTER Limited
Base MSRP*$31,395
Destination & Delivery
$1,050
TRANSMISSION
Lineartronic CVT$0
COLOR CHANGE
Exterior - Horizon Blue Pearl
Interior - Gray Leather
PACKAGES CHANGE$1,695
SELECTED
Optional Package
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Harman Kardon® audio
  • STARLINK® 8.0-inch Multimedia Navigation
  • Reverse Automatic Braking (RAB)
$1,695
Ask about Added Security – the only extended service agreement backed by Subaru.
YOUR TOTAL$35,047

The Forester comes in at about 4-grand less. And it includes leather vs "softex" vinyl, added the all weather mats (the Forester includes a cold weather pack).

So while this does show that adding another 3 grand to the Forester for the safety tech pack from the Ascent, it does remain competitive. But as we know from many posts on here (and even looking at most of the Foresters on a local lot), you're going to see more Premium and Sport models and the Limited will be out of the price range for most buyers.

And that's the biggest part of this discussion - the price. If I wanted to trade in my 2014 Limited for a new 2021, I would probably have to look at the Sport (which I don't want because, unlike @sneefy , I do not want a black interior) so I'd have to bite the bullet for that Limited and swallow that price... yikes.
 

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@zachavm … I think you’re missing the big picture here. Subaru isn’t putting all these bells and whistles on the Forester for one really big reason…

Subaru wants prospective car buyers who want these things to buy an Ascent instead of a Forester, simply because it brings in more profit.

This shouldn’t be a difficult concept for anyone to grasp…All manufacturers do it.

Go look at a BMW 2 or 3 series. Then look at how much more stuff you can get on a 6 or 7 series (and how much more they sell for). There’s no reason those things couldn’t be put on the lower-line cars, other than they want the buyer who wants these things to buy more vehicle (spend more $$$).

This isn’t new behavior. Carmakers have marketed product like this for my lifetime… 67 years.

All the items on your wish list will eventually sink down to the Forester models, as the competition forces continuous upgrading of features.

Other reasons for the slow advancement of new features…

Manufacturers want their model lineup to stay within their perceived niche. Subaru doesn’t want anyone to be cross-shopping a Forester with, say, an X3.

Also, if the manufacturer is constantly pushing down enhancements every year, it loses its “punch” for new sales when new versions of models are introduced every few years. They want current customers to “renew their tribal membership” every few years…
Very wonderful point here. I hate it, but it is likely true. I would counter with they sell the outback in the same markets they put these same features on the forester in, but ultimately Subaru is going to do what they believe will make them the most money in this market and that is exactly what they should be doing. I would gladly by an Outback instead if it was a traditional up-right SUV crossover (taller). Rather it is more of a car like crossover (lifted station wagon). The bones of the forester are what I love.

Regardless, the 2022 refresh will at least bring a few very welcome changes and as it stands right now I'm VERY happy with the forester. I've pretty much made up my mind I'm buying one for various reasons that already made me choose it over other options. I'm not unhappy with what it is just hoping it can be more. No matter what the next few months bring, I'll be ecstatic with what sits in my driveway 6 months from now.
 

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Also, if the manufacturer is constantly pushing down enhancements every year, it loses its “punch” for new sales when new versions of models are introduced every few years. They want current customers to “renew their tribal membership” every few years…
Ah, but this WAS the norm back in the 50s and 60s... I'm also a Mopar guy (Chrysler)... and in one of my guide books, during those periods, the new model years often had new grills, new color schemes, new features and more every year... They would also have special models that were only available for a season - a few months to a year - and then gone.

Honda brought the concept back in the late 80s and early 90s when they launced the "Special Edition" models in the last year of a generational run - it was some special colors, special accessories, special trim for tha tone model year.

Subaru has taken this on with the mid-cycle refresh/face-lift (and other makers do this too) - providing a new look for a few years before the new generational model comes along.
 
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