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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A while ago I was browsing a site dedicated to offroad Foresters where the opinion seemed to be weighted in favor of automatics. My bias is towards manual, but maybe this is less objective and more a creature of habit thing -- I've simply never considered going down the automatic route. However, maybe with new technologies, automatics are beginning to become an advantage with off-road capable vehicles. Anyone with an opinion out there?
 

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Absolutely auto for offroading with the current models of Forester. The manual low range is not low enough at 20% whereas the auto is infinitely variable. I have proven many times that my auto is superior to manual when offroad. The main advantage is that you can crawl with an auto and not stall; the main disadvantage of auto is that you have limited downhill engine braking.

PS - welcome to the forum!
 

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German tech
MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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Kevin said:
the main disadvantage of auto is that you have limited downhill engine braking.

PS - welcome to the forum!
Kevin - what about sportshift with the lock button on the MY06 XT auto ??

Edit - auto for me mainly because of the mix of city and offroad driving. Whilst the XT auto is slower off the mark than the manual, plenty fast enough for me :)
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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I love my auto... manuals are more fun to drive but like kevin said offroading and crawling in a manual isn't all that fun. The foresters transmission is alright for offroading.. nothing like a jeeps but it gets the job done
 

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SenorSubie said:
I love my auto... manuals are more fun to drive but like kevin said offroading and crawling in a manual isn't all that fun. The foresters transmission is alright for offroading.. nothing like a jeeps but it gets the job done
x3
 

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Hi Everyone interesting to see how this thread has developed - I've been out of town for a couple of days.

Candy - "I asked Kevin the question re downhill if the Sportshift with the hold button on could be used to engine break"

I don't know - we'll have to take it out on a really steep, slippery hill and find out! :D Mine has the "hold" button but I don't think it makes any difference for retarding the descent. Whereas the diff lock switch, by ensuring engine braking goes to all 4 wheels, does make a difference i'm sure.
 

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MY16 Audi S3 Sedan DSG 6 speed
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Kevin said:
I don't know - we'll have to take it out on a really steep, slippery hill and find out! :D .
What, and get my shiny black Forrie grubby - not on your life :)

Well, maybe after I wear the tread on the Geo's a bit on the tar :cool:

Whn it arrives (and I say again when), I'll try the Sportshift engine breaking idea on a fw steep slopes up here.
 

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Hi All, I'm the latest new guy on the forum.

I'm looking around for a 2nd hand MY03 or greater Forester (NA) and also making this decision between manual & auto trans. I'd prefer an auto but most of the 2nd hand cars are manual. My driving is a mix of city/highway, plus some rough/muddy dirt tracks. My existing car is a '93 Liberty (Legacy outside of Aus) auto and I'm impressed with its trans, considering it has done 215,000 km without problems. I will consider a manual, but there are several things that I'm unsure about & maybe some of you will can help me out. A test drive can only give a limited idea.

1) The hill holder - I feel that this could get annoying, especially if you actually want to roll backwards. Can it be disabled safely? Does it keep holding the brake when in neutral?

2) Differences between the AWD systems - I believe the auto trans is mostly weighted 60 front to 40 back until the wheels slip & it changes to 50:50. The manual is 50:50 all the time, so is it a superior setup in that there isn't a split second lag in changing the ratio? I guess you would need to have a LS diff for there to be a real benefit.

3) The clutch on one car I'm looking at (2002 build X) was replaced at 75,000km under warranty, I think last year (the car has done 80,000km). Did Subaru sort out the clutch problems they obviously had (obvious because they replaced it under warranty), or is the clutch prone to having a short life.

4) Hi/low range - this seems to only provide a small ratio reduction, nothing like a Landcruiser or similar. Is it useful or a gimic?
 

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Dodgy Post Whore - eh!
2003 XT 2.5 AT
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jonan said:
I'd prefer an auto but most of the 2nd hand cars are manual.
We have quite the opposite situation here, where most of our used cars are from Japan (2nd hand) and so most are auto. Sigh. :sad:

jonan said:
My driving is a mix of city/highway, plus some rough/muddy dirt tracks. ... A test drive can only give a limited idea.
Would they let you test drive it on a rough dirt track? ;-)

jonan said:
4) Hi/low range - this seems to only provide a small ratio reduction, nothing like a Landcruiser or similar. Is it useful or a gimic?
It's only a 1.2 ratio, which doesn't sound like much but it would make crawling in traffic a little easier.
 

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jonan said:
1) The hill holder - I feel that this could get annoying, especially if you actually want to roll backwards. Can it be disabled safely? Does it keep holding the brake when in neutral?
I test drove both manual and auto. I instantly took a dislike to the HH. First, I would not like to un-learn the habit of using the handbrake for hill starts (imagine getting into a different make of car and forgetting you have no HH). Second, I was sure I could feel the HH dragging a little before it released - but maybe it was just out of adjustment on that particular car.
2) Differences between the AWD systems - I believe the auto trans is mostly weighted 60 front to 40 back until the wheels slip & it changes to 50:50. The manual is 50:50 all the time, so is it a superior setup in that there isn't a split second lag in changing the ratio? I guess you would need to have a LS diff for there to be a real benefit.
The auto handles a bit more like a front-wheel drive.

4) Hi/low range - this seems to only provide a small ratio reduction, nothing like a Landcruiser or similar. Is it useful or a gimic?
I don't think it's necessarily a gimmick, but more for helping to tow a heavy load up an incline than for off-roading. Every little helps though. I was looking at the XT which doesn't have the dual range so that didn't come into it. For me, it came down to the clutch which I found unpleasantly heavy. Mind you the automatic has its quirks too, as various threads on here will show.

-- Steve
 

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but I think the car would loose most of its fun to drive character with an auto.
You obviously have not been for a drive with Roo & Silke in Subed! :icon_eek:


I prefer the AT for offroading and it has proven to be much better than MT Fozzies in that ability (so far). However, if I was towing as much as you in an X and not worried about offroad ability, then I'd probably go MT. If it were an XT then I'd still stick with AT.
 

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After researching small SUVs, I have come to the decision that my next new car purchase will be either a Forester or RAV4. Because I have a choice between an AT or MT with the Subaru, I am looking for feedback that members of this forum can provide me concerning this AT/MT choice. I normally keep my cars for about 5 years and plan to drive approximately 18,000 miles/yr., including pulling a small utility trailer (<1500 lbs) approx. 9,000 miles/yr. Any comments, suggestions, and/or warnings will be appreciated.

Thanks
Thanks to everyone for your responses to my request for comments on AT vs MTs. Now that I have read all the Automatic vs Manual posts, I have decided to go for the AT. I will now turn it over to the Subaru and Toyota Sales departments to help me decide if it will be a Forester or a RAV-4. You have a great forum.

Thanks again, Franz
 

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After driving a manual tranny for 20 years, I love my auto! Oh, and if you've done any driving in sand, you will never use a manual...hey let's shift gears and STOP :lol: :lol:
 

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IF its not too late, Go Subaru... unless you get the six cylinder and the tow package...and by then you are at the XT price... (you did say the V6??) the Subaru is much better at towing with a real 2400 lb tow capacity (four banger comparison). I think the Toyota 4 banger is at 1500 lbs??? and I don't even think they sell the tow package with the 4 banger??? I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

And if you are going to do any towing at all with any stress on an automatic tranny, you will need a cooler... Just around town with a utility trailer, no problem.

That's why I went with a Forester with a manual transmission for towing my 1900 lb pop up. But I looked hard when that new Rav 4 came out and priced one, but Suby's do great. Now if you want to spend the bucks for the Rav4 6 banger with the tow package you will have a nice vehicle with a 3500 lb tow rating...but not cheap. Those Toyota "options" add up real quick.
 

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Hi guys, interesting discussion, just curious about a couple of things, in particular as everyone favours auto for off-roading. I have a manual 2004 Forester, and predominantly do beach sand driving. What I have noticed is when driving in high range, in really soft sand, the car stalls, however, in low range, it seems to drive through without problems. Are you saying that in this type of driving the auto would be superior, to manual in low range? I find it hard to believe, but there is lots of experience here, so would like to hear peoples opinions?
 

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Welcome to the forum Hardie - great to see another Aussie on board.

I think if you know the conditions and have driven over them regularly as you seem to have done, then you can choose the perfect gear for the terrain. Where the auto has the advantage is in changing / unknown conditions and you're not sure what to expect - so you don't have to change gears which can bring you to a standstill.

Starting from a dead stop in sand is usually easier with auto as well because you don't have to slip the clutch, i.e. gradual application of power is very easy. If the Forester had something better that a 20% lower ratio than high range then things would be interesting! (I wish they did)

Again - welcome!
 

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Thanx Kevin, what you say makes sense, yes it's stop start, and unknown territory that would be an advantage in an auto, but as I know my beaches, and sand driving pretty well, am happier I have a manual, the 20% lower gearing seems to make a significant difference!.

Has anyone ever manufactured a different set of gearing for the low range on subi's, is it a task that is possible?
 
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