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2019 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #1
I got home yesterday from a 2000 mile Thanksgiving road trip. I was finally able to spend some time with the '19 Forester that my wife usually drives. I really like this car. I like it more than I expected. I even like things that I thought I would hate, like the CVT. There are other things, like the Starlink interface, that have been nothing but trouble.

I'll start with the most talked about "drawback" on the '19 Forester - lack of power. I find it hard to believe that so many people call this car under powered. I have to imagine that professional reviewers have gotten used to getting turbo charged versions for their reviews. Now that they have to slum it with NA 2.5 they feel like this car lacks power and acceleration. Cruising 80-85 on crowded holiday highways was a joy. I never felt like I needed more power and passing was a breeze. I'll also mention that we had four people, a dog, a full trunk and a Thule XL roof box on top. In addition, if I was looking for a little more response, the S mode really is noticeably snappier. I honestly have zero complaints about power, acceleration, two CVT tuning modes and the low setting in drive. The low setting kept me off the brakes on a few really long and steep descents. It also kicks in smoothly at any speed and delivers a lot of engine braking.

Next is the CVT. I hated it at first. I hated the idea of it, and the feel. But once the growing pains were over, and I looked at the fuel economy, my opinion has changed almost completely. Sure, it feels weird when your engine seems to be chugging at low RPM's when you let it. The engine feels like it's starting in 2nd gear from a stop. The cool thing is, if you don't like this feeling, just put your foot into it a bit more, it'll respond much more like an automatic. The throttle response is fast, it feels much more responsive than the other CVT Subarus that I've driven over the past few years. I think I read somewhere that they tightened up the feel quite a bit.

The car was super comfortable for the long haul. The leather seats are supportive and the bolstering is just right. The steering wheel adjustment is generous, and I found it easy to change while driving. Most controls are easy to see and reach. I find the dead pedal to be perfectly placed and angled for long term comfort. The doors, especially the rear ones, open very wide, like almost 90 degrees. I would have liked to see the auto start/stop toggle switch, that you have press every time the vehicle is started if you don't want this "feature". I don't think that most people want this feature, it's probably just one of a number of strategies to increase fleet fuel economy. That said, I've driven cars with this feature and it didn't bother me. The one on this car isn't good. The car shudders on engine stop, and even more so on the restart. This it does to the point that I'm concerned about durability so I usually turn it off with the awkwardly placed button in front of my left knee but hidden by the steering wheel. This is easily my least favorite attribute on this car. The runner up for downsides is the cup holder placement. The ones in the center are too far back and the ones in the door are awkward and don't work with half of my cups. Cup holder location is NOT a deal breaker, just a minor annoyance. Other features that I'm loving are the adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated mirrors and seats, blind spot detection and auto emergency braking.

I told my wife that I think I figured out why there are so many repeat Forester buyers. It's the fish bowl of windows! I can't say enough good things about the visibility from the drivers seat. There is hardly a blind spot in this car. The windshield is huge, and the low sloping hood makes for a great view. The front windows are also huge and even the tiny fixed windows near the side mirrors contribute to such an amazing amount of visibility. This might be my favorite attribute of this car, after AWD. My dog wishes that the rear windows rolled down all the way. The LED headlights are bright and are sharply masked to reduce blinding the driver in front of me. The steering responsive headlights are not a gimmick, they actually improve illumination on dark, winding roads. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to test the AWD system in snow yet. I've owned a Outback in the past, so I know it'll be great.

In addition to the minor annoyances spelled out above, the Starlink system has been mediocre at best. Sound quality between SXM and the other audio options are very different. SXM is bass heavy and the volume is much louder. The Iphone overrides the Android Auto every time. This forces us to plug one of the phones into the center console arm rest, depending on who want to be in control of the navigation and music. On top of this, Android Auto is just plain glitchy. My nav randomly stops working on Google maps and Waze, among other problems. Auto screen dimming doesn't seem to work at all and it's annoying to have to manually adjust it while driving. I have not updated the firmware yet because the process requires a level of commitment that I haven't yet found. Maybe it will solve some of these issues. Maybe tomorrow.

All in all, I'm super happy with the forester. I can't really comment on fuel economy because my wife has a lead foot and our first road trip included a fully loaded car and large roof box. The cross winds were 25-40 with 55 mph gusts on both legs of the trip. We even sat in a traffic jam for an hour because a semi had blown over on the freeway. The computer said I averaged 26 mpg. I'm not disappointed in this result under these conditions. When I've driven the car with the goal of achieving good economy I have been able to get 33 on the freeway.

So there is my 4000 mile review. What does everyone else love or hate about their new Forester?
 

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2019 Forester Base CVT
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120 Posts
Nice review. We have had our '19 Base model for just over a year, and we took a one-month, 6,500-mile retirement trip cross-country in September. I agree with your comment about power and acceleration. We only had 2 of us, but lots of luggage, and I never once wished for more power, even crossing the Rockies. The seats (cloth) were all-day comfortable. We averaged 31.9 MPG for the entire trip (with LOTS of photo stops and idling with the A/C on) with some tanks in the 36-38 MPG range. And, yes, the great visibility is the main reason we bought the Forester. And, last but not least, we like the CVT too. Very smooth and always seems to be in the right "gear".

I also agree with your dislike of the cupholders. Although the location is OK, they are only large enough for a 20-oz Gatorade. My old Kia Soul had two cupholders, one of which was large enough for the 32-oz Gatorade. First-world problem, yeah. And I wish we could turn off the Stop-Start permanently, but I've gotten used to just reaching down and turning it off when I start up. It's second nature now.

Like you, one thing we do not like is the radio. In our old Kia Soul, we could switch from album to album on our thumb drive very easily. It would automatically run down the list of albums, going from one to the next. If I wanted a specific album, I could turn the RH knob and find it quickly. With the Subaru, I have to pull over, look down at the screen and find "Browse", then scroll down to "Folders", choose the folder with the style of music I want, then scroll again through the albums, then select, then choose "Play All". It takes 20-30 seconds. Annoying. I will have to ask my aerospace engineer son to show me how to use the Android Auto on my phone and try using voice commands to search. Ugh!

** EDIT - I forgot to mention one thing that did bother me on this trip that I had not noticed before. When meeting an oncoming truck (Semi / 18-wheeler) at 50-60 MPH on a two-lane road, the rear of the hood flutters up and down very noticeably - perhaps as much as an inch. The first time it happened, I pulled over to make sure I had closed the hood completely after checking the oil that morning. **

Overall - Great road-trip vehicle!
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yep, our hood was flexing and shaking on our windy drive as well. I wonder if there are adjustable bumpers. I'll take a look tomorrow.
 

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77 Posts
Enjoyed your review and we agree on most. I was hesitant to buy the Forester because of the reviews blasting lack of power. When I test drove the car I had already tried all the other brands except VW and I definately drove a lot of them with less power.
After a couple of months I wanted to buy another Forester for our second car but the wife wanted the passenger seat to adjust up and down so I went with a VW Tiguan. The VW is a TURBO and let me say that it a real dog compared to my Forester.
 

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2019 Forrester Touring CVT
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89 Posts
I have just over 5k on my Subaru Touring, I can say that I do love the car. Power was a concern for me (coming from an acura tl), but it's fine, it forces me to be a better driver. I have the HK audio and I LOVE it. Android Auto works great (high speed cable). I'm 6'5" and I've never had a car where I could have the seat all the way up and not hit the roof with me head. I like the CVT the way it keeps the motor in its torque range.
 

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2019 Forester Touring
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72 Posts
I'm coming up close to 12,000 miles on our 2019 Touring and I agree with everything in your review. I had early-on posted comments in the 'Likes and Dislikes' thread but I am pleased to say that later updates to the head unit software, navigation and Android Auto cured my only real dislikes.

If it got totalled in an accident tomorrow, I would go buy another one, no contest.
 

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I got home yesterday from a 2000 mile Thanksgiving road trip. I was finally able to spend some time with the '19 Forester that my wife usually drives. I really like this car. I like it more than I expected. I even like things that I thought I would hate, like the CVT. There are other things, like the Starlink interface, that have been nothing but trouble.

I'll start with the most talked about "drawback" on the '19 Forester - lack of power. I find it hard to believe that so many people call this car under powered. I have to imagine that professional reviewers have gotten used to getting turbo charged versions for their reviews. Now that they have to slum it with NA 2.5 they feel like this car lacks power and acceleration. Cruising 80-85 on crowded holiday highways was a joy. I never felt like I needed more power and passing was a breeze. I'll also mention that we had four people, a dog, a full trunk and a Thule XL roof box on top. In addition, if I was looking for a little more response, the S mode really is noticeably snappier. I honestly have zero complaints about power, acceleration, two CVT tuning modes and the low setting in drive. The low setting kept me off the brakes on a few really long and steep descents. It also kicks in smoothly at any speed and delivers a lot of engine braking.

Next is the CVT. I hated it at first. I hated the idea of it, and the feel. But once the growing pains were over, and I looked at the fuel economy, my opinion has changed almost completely. Sure, it feels weird when your engine seems to be chugging at low RPM's when you let it. The engine feels like it's starting in 2nd gear from a stop. The cool thing is, if you don't like this feeling, just put your foot into it a bit more, it'll respond much more like an automatic. The throttle response is fast, it feels much more responsive than the other CVT Subarus that I've driven over the past few years. I think I read somewhere that they tightened up the feel quite a bit.

The car was super comfortable for the long haul. The leather seats are supportive and the bolstering is just right. The steering wheel adjustment is generous, and I found it easy to change while driving. Most controls are easy to see and reach. I find the dead pedal to be perfectly placed and angled for long term comfort. The doors, especially the rear ones, open very wide, like almost 90 degrees. I would have liked to see the auto start/stop toggle switch, that you have press every time the vehicle is started if you don't want this "feature". I don't think that most people want this feature, it's probably just one of a number of strategies to increase fleet fuel economy. That said, I've driven cars with this feature and it didn't bother me. The one on this car isn't good. The car shudders on engine stop, and even more so on the restart. This it does to the point that I'm concerned about durability so I usually turn it off with the awkwardly placed button in front of my left knee but hidden by the steering wheel. This is easily my least favorite attribute on this car. The runner up for downsides is the cup holder placement. The ones in the center are too far back and the ones in the door are awkward and don't work with half of my cups. Cup holder location is NOT a deal breaker, just a minor annoyance. Other features that I'm loving are the adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated mirrors and seats, blind spot detection and auto emergency braking.

I told my wife that I think I figured out why there are so many repeat Forester buyers. It's the fish bowl of windows! I can't say enough good things about the visibility from the drivers seat. There is hardly a blind spot in this car. The windshield is huge, and the low sloping hood makes for a great view. The front windows are also huge and even the tiny fixed windows near the side mirrors contribute to such an amazing amount of visibility. This might be my favorite attribute of this car, after AWD. My dog wishes that the rear windows rolled down all the way. The LED headlights are bright and are sharply masked to reduce blinding the driver in front of me. The steering responsive headlights are not a gimmick, they actually improve illumination on dark, winding roads. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to test the AWD system in snow yet. I've owned a Outback in the past, so I know it'll be great.

In addition to the minor annoyances spelled out above, the Starlink system has been mediocre at best. Sound quality between SXM and the other audio options are very different. SXM is bass heavy and the volume is much louder. The Iphone overrides the Android Auto every time. This forces us to plug one of the phones into the center console arm rest, depending on who want to be in control of the navigation and music. On top of this, Android Auto is just plain glitchy. My nav randomly stops working on Google maps and Waze, among other problems. Auto screen dimming doesn't seem to work at all and it's annoying to have to manually adjust it while driving. I have not updated the firmware yet because the process requires a level of commitment that I haven't yet found. Maybe it will solve some of these issues. Maybe tomorrow.

All in all, I'm super happy with the forester. I can't really comment on fuel economy because my wife has a lead foot and our first road trip included a fully loaded car and large roof box. The cross winds were 25-40 with 55 mph gusts on both legs of the trip. We even sat in a traffic jam for an hour because a semi had blown over on the freeway. The computer said I averaged 26 mpg. I'm not disappointed in this result under these conditions. When I've driven the car with the goal of achieving good economy I have been able to get 33 on the freeway.

So there is my 4000 mile review. What does everyone else love or hate about their new Forester?
I agree with the 4000 mile review. My 2019 Forester will be a year old in two weeks, I currently have 22,500 miles on it and overall am very pleased with it. Have averaged about 32 mpg with very few issues. My biggest issue has been the rear hatch inside switch the that at times will not open the hatch. Better power then the VW Tiguan that I test drove and the Hyundai Santa Fe which I also drove. For the money it’s a great value.
 
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