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Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum, and am currently in the market for a new car. My partner and I have narrowed the choice to 2. The forester XS Luxury, or the X-Trail TI-L (sunroof). Both vehicles appear very similar, and we have test driven both.

We are wanting a daily driver mainly, but with enough space for a couple of dogs (medium size) in the cargo area for short trips. We want some off road ability (more rainforest/dirt rather than beach and sand, but both really). No kids at this stage, so planning on folding down the seats for camping trips etc.

We are looking at manual transmission, partly becasue we both don't mind driving manual, and at $2k cheaper in either vehicle, it is money in our pocket.

We feel that the X-trail has fairly flat seats, but we do like the plastic cargo area. The vehicles arevery close in comparisons, so just looking for any comments from current owners of naturally aspirated forester's about where they have taken their cars, and if anyone else here has had the same dilemma when purchasing their new car.

Any comments would be greatly appreicated, as there is only so much you can get from a couple of laps around the suburban blocks of Brisbane!!!!

Thanks in advance.

John
 

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Welcome to the forum John.
I just did a long reply - and lost it completly. :( I'll get back to it again in a little while.
 

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John,

Probably a somewhat biassed view, coming from a Forester Forum....however, I have recently purchased my Forester XSL. I had a look at all the others, Xtrail, even the Territory, Escape, Tribute, CRV etc.

When it came down to it, build quality, features, look, feel, drive...I went for the Forester! I think it gives you the best of everything! A powerful motor, good wagon like handling (not top heavy like the CRV, XTrail), plenty of space, well featured etc.

In my opinion, and I am fussy about my cars, the Forester wins hands down!

Paul
 

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If you have a couple of big dogs and dirty bikes, I think the X-TRAIL is better suited at getting things dirty in the back. :) The plush carpeted rear in the Forester is a bit different to how the X-TRAIL advertises you could pull out the rear floor to hose it down.

Ok, you could buy a fair amount of protection for the Forester's back, but the MY06 Forester IMO has been bumped upmarket, while the X-TRAIL's donning the off roader image.

Do you know the X-TRAIL is not full-time 4WD unless you select 4WD? You can select Auto where it will usually be front wheel drive, switching to 4WD as road conditions change. If you leave it on 4WD all the time however, I doubt you'd get the advertised fuel usage figures.

In any case, when I was shopping for a new car last month, the X-TRAIL lost out to the Forester only by a slim margin. The XSL Forester was more a luxury AWD and tall-ish wagon, while the X-TRAIL Ti-L was a 4WD trying to feel luxurious and more car like.

That and supposedly there is an updated X-TRAIL coming out in the next couple of months.
 

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Not an easy choice. I know of some who selected the X Trail because of a little extra power from their 2.5. I've not seen an X Trail perform offroad so not real sure about that quality - but what would concern me are the rear suspension arms and the muffler that hang real low in the back just asking to be damaged. Also the Forester has better clearance at 200mm whereas the Nissan state 150 - 195 mm.

Go manual if you must - auto would be better offroad especially when there is no low range as in the X Trail. The Forester manual at least gets a 20% low range.

Where can a Forester go - well have a look at the Gallery Foresters gettin' down & dirty. Mine has been to Cape York and generally keeps up with the big boys. There is more clearance under my diffs than a 100 series Landcruiser; now that's a real advantage with Foresters where the diffs are tucked up nice and high.

And - you get to talk with nice folks like us re Foresters :D
 

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G'day John,
Good to have you on board.
The X-Trail certainly look like a nice vehicle and sales would also suggest many people agree. (I must say, that in giving this opinion, i havn't driven the X-Trail, but have driven and owned similar sized vehicles).
Broadbean's correct regarding the practicality of the plastic/hose down interior of the Nissan. I looked at them at the last Motor Show and was quite impressed. But the Dash was wrong for me. Dont like the central display.

My Forester has a fitted cargo dish which keeps the floor clean and can be hosed, but not the carpet sides. If you are folding the seats down - same applies. You should give some thought to how dirty your Subaru would get. The protection mats that are on the SA website dont come cheap. Maybe a US site would be better $ wise?

Before my Forester last year, i had a Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Similar size vehicle with good ground clearance and LOW RANGE.
The handling wasnt bad, but not good enough.
I fitted OME shocks and springs. Then it handled well, with slightly improved ground clearance. But still not like a passenger car - like a small 4WD.
I understand the new Suzuki's handle better, you could add this to your comparison list.

When it came to upgrade, there were a few things that swayed my decision.
Forester's are well appointed, have good ground clearance and the engine (i drove the X and the XT) is a beauty. The view from the rear vision mirror is much better than most 4WD's because of no spare wheel carrier and blind spots created by large rear pillars are reduced by the huge glass.

Remember John, we're all passionate about our subies so nearly every opinion here is likely to be biased.

Good luck with your decision, it's obviously very important to get it correct, but you wont go wrong with a Forester.

Justin.
 

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I agree with Justin that Suzuki would be good in the mix; I think they've just changed from a rear live axle to all independant like the rest of us :( .

Good point re AWD and 4WD too.

I happened to get a good view of the front underneath of an X Trail this morning - same comments re the rear, there is stuff hanging down there that I would not want so exposed for any offroad adventure.
 

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I am not overly fussed on the plastic mudguards on the X-Trail or the interior material as some owners have complained it scratches easily and they cannot be removed.
My paintless dent removal guy has one for his work vehicle and he is not happy with the interior material.
 
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I own a Forester, and I've driven the X-trail to some rough terrain (an event in Kenya called Rhino Charge). The Forester does it all the time - power, ground clearance, 4WD
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi all,

Thanks for taking the time to put your opinions in this thread. Some good objective views. I have posted a mirror of my question on an Xtrail forum also and have been getting some good responses also.

At this stage I'm leaning heavily towards the Forester, mainly because push bikes will go on the roof, and being road cyclists the bikes stay realtively clean. There are enough accesories to keep the carpet in the cargo area from getting badly worn by various cargo, and the creature comforts and on road dynamics of the Forester are much better than the X-Trail. It is only going be used about 5% at most off road, and most of that will be minor and by the looks of the pictures elsewhere on ths forum the things I am thinking of will be handled with ease!

Should be making a purchase sometime in early march (waiting for the Brisbane Motorshow to see if my final price can't be bettered as the dealers on the stands are normally chomping at the bit to make a sale rather than just be on display for 10 days).

I'll let you know how it pans out!
 

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I too chose between the X-Trail and the Forester.

I was looking at the 2.2 turbodiesel X-Trail with 6 speed manual. It was a very nice drive, very light on fuel, a bit bigger inside than the Forester and especially roomier in the back seat.

But... just as I was on the brink of buying, a flurry of scary rumours appeared regarding reliability of the diesel lump. Enough to put me off (the 1 y.o. model I was looking at had the early danger signs). I hadn't heard anything bad about the petrol engine but the X-Trail didn't make so much sense to me as a petrol.

XT was a very different vehicle - more wagon-like - but as others have observed, the ground clearance of the Forester is actually a little better, and adequate for the kind of mild off-roading either vehicle is realistically up for. And as a road car it's in another league.

-- Steve
 

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johnnikk said:
Hi all,

Thanks for taking the time to put your opinions in this thread. Some good objective views. I have posted a mirror of my question on an Xtrail forum also and have been getting some good responses also.

At this stage I'm leaning heavily towards the Forester, mainly because push bikes will go on the roof, and being road cyclists the bikes stay realtively clean. There are enough accesories to keep the carpet in the cargo area from getting badly worn by various cargo, and the creature comforts and on road dynamics of the Forester are much better than the X-Trail. It is only going be used about 5% at most off road, and most of that will be minor and by the looks of the pictures elsewhere on ths forum the things I am thinking of will be handled with ease!

Should be making a purchase sometime in early march (waiting for the Brisbane Motorshow to see if my final price can't be bettered as the dealers on the stands are normally chomping at the bit to make a sale rather than just be on display for 10 days).

I'll let you know how it pans out!
As mentioned above many times, I dont think you can go wrong with either. Only you can determine what satisfies your requirements the most as both forums will be one-eyed.

To show that I am also one-eyed towards a Forester, I will mention that the X-trail mid-mounted instrument cluster makes me want to
 

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Hi John,

Just thought I would add my 2c worth, as I was also originally looking at an X-Trail.

Try an X-Trail on a freeway in top gear at 100 km/hr and put your foot down and try to accelerate. I did and was bitterly disappointed in both the MY04 Forester and the X-Trail. Then the XT Forester came out and it took 2 minutes on a freeway to be hooked.

I had thought I would miss the low range but have found that I am not keen on taking a $40,000 vehicle bush bashing anyway and it has largely stayed on-road.

I am not overly impressed with build quality over time though. At 65,000kms, I have many more rattles that I would like and I have been fairly kind to my car. God only knows what Kevin's is like after what he does in his.

Nigel.
 

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I'd like to know where you can go and test drive an X-TRAIL and Forester at 100km/h plus! Sign me up, baby!

If you are comparing the two based on your experiences back in 2004, however, the N/A X and XS now have a 121kW engine and the X-TRAIL is even more powerful at 132kW.

Hopefully the MY06 Foresters have improved on their build quality from what you've mentioned though.
 

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aiki99 said:
God only knows what Kevin's is like after what he does in his.

Nigel.
Surprisingly, it's not too bad. I have certainly twisted it every which-way possible. On Cape York the LHS A pillar liner started to rattle and that was because in the process of removing it to run some wires a clip broke. If I replace the clip it should be OK again. I have slight dash creak - but I haven't attempted to trace it yet. So it's holding up well! :D
 

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aiki99 said:
I am not overly impressed with build quality over time though. At 65,000kms, I have many more rattles that I would like and I have been fairly kind to my car. God only knows what Kevin's is like after what he does in his.

Nigel.
I don't know about the MY04's but my MY03 is as quiet as the day I bought it with the exception of the clutch plate rattle when the engine comes off idle, which will be fixed at the 75,000 by the Dealer who says they will replace it under Warranty. :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

Other than the above I love my Casper ooops! Forester.

P.S. aiki99, might see you at the Brissy Car Show, PM me acontact number or email address first if you like.
 
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How about looking down the track ? what would resale value of both vehicles be ?
 

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Kevin said:
Surprisingly, it's not too bad. I have certainly twisted it every which-way possible. On Cape York the LHS A pillar liner started to rattle and that was because in the process of removing it to run some wires a clip broke. If I replace the clip it should be OK again. I have slight dash creak - but I haven't attempted to trace it yet. So it's holding up well! :D
I have a '96 Impreza RX (2l NA) which has also had a very hard life, having also been twisted every which way and done a lot of towing (canoe trailers etc). Blame Scouting for it all! It brings surprised looks on the faces of bystanders when, for example, one drives off the road in some remote area to park (with a car full of Scouts) and in the process get a rear wheel half a metre or more in the air. I probably should have been using a "real" 4wd, but since I didn't have one, I made do; I often went further than most soft-roaders would dare be taken.

It has 183k on the clock now and is still mostly squeak-free. (In this regard, my new FXT is no better.) The only noticeable problem is a suspension knock which comes from worn rubbers in the front sway-bay connecting rods. This will be my son's vehicle when he turns 18 later this year. It's been a good vehicle.
 

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I think the cargo bin is a must for the Forester. With it you have a nice big area that you can throw muddy messy stuff in and not get it all over the back. Pull it out and clean it when its dirty. Ok it doesnt cover the seats when they fold down.
 

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gibo2s said:
How about looking down the track ? what would resale value of both vehicles be ?
The Forester would be far better value in my books than the Nissan, but hey, I'm biased towards the Forester and hate X-Tails :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:
 
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