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Discussion Starter #1
Never had a Forester or any kind of a Subaru. A dozen or more Toyotas, several Ford trucks and currently have a 2015 F-150 and a Fusion coming off lease. I want a bullet-proof snow machine but don’t want another gas-guzzling tank and the Forester has my eye. $25K for a base is appealing, but also want a car I will be happy with for 10 years or more. Most car reviews characterize the Sport as mostly an appearance package but it does have bigger front brake rotors and an extra X-Mode for traction as well as the cold weather package. Are these worthwhile or worthless upgradea In snow country? Also, is the 8” head unit worth the upgrade?
 

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2018 Touring CVT
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kericks, I'm a first time Forester owner 2018, and I love it! I have owned almost every brand of car out there withthe exception of the higher end stuff like Acura, BMW etc... I have to say, you put a 19 to 20mm rear swaybar on a Forester and some good tires and you have one fun car that will take you places many others won't. The sway is for handling.... it corners quite nicely once you do the swap.
 

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kericks, I'm a first time Forester owner 2018, and I love it! I have owned almost every brand of car out there withthe exception of the higher end stuff like Acura, BMW etc... I have to say, you put a 19 to 20mm rear swaybar on a Forester and some good tires and you have one fun car that will take you places many others won't. The sway is for handling.... it corners quite nicely once you do the swap.
does the rear sway bar help with steering feel or only handling? I'd like something tighter for steering.
 

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2019 Sport cvt
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153 Posts
I have a Sport, about 3 weeks now. For me, the Sport was the right fit. We were a little concerned about our dogs and either a power liftgate (they are really eager when it comes to getting in or out) or claws and leather on higher trims. OTOH, here in SoCal, the X mode enhancements and cold weather features are more recreational aspects as opposed to daily driver considerations, for the most part. I like the paddle shifters but haven't used them, again, more likely for off road/rough road, etc., for us. But you don't get them back until you go to Touring trim. Likewise the roof rack tiedowns are only "standard" on the Sport and Touring, although potentially available elsewhere? I want the tie down loops for some of my hobby interests. They may be unimportant for others. 8" display? Prior vehicles were basically analog display types so can't compare to 6.5" But 8" seems to look and work well. I have some thoughts about the 17' 60 aspect ratios versus 18" 55 aspect ratio tires and wheels. But guess I'll trust that engineer and performance considerations outweighed appearances. I like sidewall, having blown a tire and broken a wheel on a pothole in L.A...
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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636 Posts
I have tricked out an 09 Forester. Intake, STI exhaust, front/rear brace bars and sound system. I can honestly say that the 2019 Forester Sport is the first Forester I have been excited about in 10 years.

Orange is my favorite color, so I get why many don't like it. I love this car. I went with package 24. The 8" monitor is a huge improvement and the first time it has been offered in the Forester. I also have the HK upgrade and I am impressed!!! The bass output in the front of the car is quite amazing. The doors are running 6x9 speakers, which are massive for doors. Most people will think this sounds system is plenty. While it has a clean sounding 8" sub in the back, it was underpowered for me. I am having a subwoofer upgrade made for the other side of the rear cargo area. I've only had the car two weeks, so sill be starting a build page in a few weeks, like I did back in teh day for my 09.

Kericks, here are a few responses to your questions.

AWD Subarus, truly are snow machines. Almost all models excel in winter. The Forester is no exception. I live in Flagstaff, AZ and frequent the ski mountain regularly. I have always been able to zip up and down that mountain with great traction will often see 4x4 trucks sliding out on the turns. This is very unlikely in the Forester because it is lighter and lower to the ground. My Dodge Ram is great in mud, sand and for hauling, but when it comes to snow and ice, the Subaru will be your best bet.

Gas mileage is avg 29mpg. A step up from 23 in my 09.

Here are some things you should know about the features:
1. X mode on the Sport has two modes. you can really feel the difference. The engine will run higher rpm in deep snow mode and feels very grippy. The center display will show you the traction being delivered to each wheel as they engage. All this is automatic and sensed by the car. What you must know is that X mode only works under 20 mph. This is a feature designed for rough terrain in slow speeds. It will not work at higher speeds.

2. The Hill decent mode is quite impressive too. Basically on steep down hil terrain, you can take your foot off the pedals and the car will choose the correct speed and braking for your decent. It goes slow, again for rough terrain. All you have to do is steer.

3. LED fog lights really widen the light range in front of the car and outwards about 6 feet further on each side. These work way better than traditional yellow fog lights I had on the 09. I suppose the steering responsive lights would be better, but not available in the Sport trim.

4. IMO, the upgrades are worth it for snow country. You get two x modes and paddle shifters. I love the paddles. Just remember, that if you are in Auto then the paddle will shift down/up but then return to auto in about 20 seconds. So, if you are in rough/icy terrain, just put the gear into manual and use the paddle shifters to control your gear. Manual mode is truly the way to go when driving in icy conditions. I use the motor to slow the car and not the brakes, thereby maintaining traction and power and avoiding locking the wheels on an icy patch where you will likely slide.

Even my wife prefers to drive the Subaru over the truck in the winter. Full size trucks are too tall and too heavy to be snow machines. They are much better in off-road dry/wet conditions, not snow/ice.

BTW, I do run dedicated non-studded snow tires in the winter on dedicated rims. I just swap the wheels for summer/winter driving. You can likely get a good deal on the entry level Sport for around $28K. I think it is worth it.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision.

Cheers,
Scott
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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636 Posts
does the rear sway bar help with steering feel or only handling? I'd like something tighter for steering.
IT, sway bars will stiffen the handling. I have never changed the sway bars. But I added front and rear brace bars on the 09 and I added an STI front shock tower brace for $200. The best way I can describe the benefit is how the car handles at speed. When going 65+ and you try and quickly move the steering wheel from side to side, a stock car will rock side to side with some lift on the unweighted side and this stresses the suspension and breaks the traction. You can easily lose control.

The brace bars will prevent the rocking to a large degree. Therefore the car will shimmy side to side instead of rock. This keeps the traction in tact and puts lets stress on the suspension in an up/down direction. Needless to say, my Forester has more of a WRX feel when hitting the freeway on ramp cirlce at 60mph. Don't tell my wife I go that fast on the corners rated at 30mph.

This is a huge upgrade for about $500 for front and back. Right now, the 19 Forester only has a front brace option. I hope a rear option comes out within a couple years.

Cheers,
Scott
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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636 Posts
Kericks, I forgot to mention. I owned the 09 for ten years. I have 171,000 miles on it. I rebuilt the top end of the motor at 100k. The only reason I am going to get rid of it is becuase I was excited for the Sport model. The 09 is still in excellent physical and mechanical shape. While it was a base model, I did add a lot of upgrades. I paid $22k for the 09 and I will likley sell it for about $8k. It has been paid off for five years. This was the best damn car I ever owned. Sure beats the heck out of the two Land Rovers I owned prior to this car. And both LRs were worth less money when they were about 7 years old.

I've only had three problems with this car. Once, a flat tire and the other time, I blew the motor racing a WRX up the mountain like a dumb ***. I had 100k on the car when faced with a rebuild and looking back, that $2K was worth every penny. Got 4 years and 70k more miles. The third was a blown AC compressor at 160k miles. $750 to repair. Way less than all the repairs I put into the Land Rovers.
 

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Looking at the sport for myself, on a lease. Will be my first Forester if I like it. Coming from a 2011 Outback Limited, so giving up the leather and dual climate but getting some other cool features.
 

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19 19 Touring, 17TrgXT CVT
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2019 Forester Sport
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I will only add the we LOVE our loaded 19 Sport and would do it again in a heart beat. If you look at reviews of Subaru's in the snow, they cannot be beat and it's the best AWD system on the market today and blows Toyota, Nissan, Honda and several others right to of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Scott!
It seems like the little bit of extra brake rotor is a stealth feature of the Sport!
I can't wait actually and wish I had it now. The family and I made a 450 mile trip to Seattle and back yesterday, over several 3000' passes with snow and ice in our 2016 FWD Fusion. I've got non-studded snow tires and we were fine, however, we did see several crashes and even a rollover so the added security of the Forester is going to be nice. We've also got a fairly steep driveway that can be a challenge and I'm sure the X-mode is going to get a test with up to 6 or 8" of deep snow at some point (yea, the Fusion doesn't stand a chance with that stuff and I've lived it!
 

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1) here in Colorado, the All Weather Package really helps with the heated windshield, heated mirrors, and heated cloth seats.
2) On my 2010 X Premium, a used STi rear sway bar cost just $50 on eBay. The front was already @ STi diameter. Huge improvement in fun and predictability. Then I got the Whiteline rear sway bar reinforcement brackets and Rallitek end links to reduce flex and breakage. Now the back end doesn't jump sideways when cornering over potholes and bumps. Have added the front STi strut brace, got a deal on eBay. Front seems a little more solid when cornering. This is a very fun car.
 

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I thought the best killer feature of the forester was the front bumper, followed closely by the grill and then the hood.

Of course if you are backing up (driving backwards), it would be the rear bumper and tailgate.

>:)
 
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