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Discussion Starter #1
Good afternoon! I've been lurking here for awhile and have made one other post buried in another thread. I like that there's an active board like this one. I've been on hondasuv.com for years, so I know that having a good group to bounce ideas off of can be really helpful.

I currently have a '98 Honda CR-V that is nearing 150k miles. While it has been a solid car for me, I want to get something new and Subaru keeps making its way into my head.

Things I like about my CRV:
*Decent MPG - last tank was 25mpg for mostly highway driving
*Decent handling for a tallish car, good room for stuff, can park it pretty much anywhere
*VERY reliable. Other than a leak in the radiator, I haven't had anything else major go out. I've only had to replace oil/filter/brake pads/rotors/timing belt (and did water pump at same time as timing belt), and clutch master/slave cylinders. The original clutch still feels good and I'm running on original struts...but the struts do need to be replaced soon.
* Never been stuck with it, granted, that's mostly in normal conditions, but with a few trips to Colorado in winter, and seeing several days of ice here over the years.

Things I don't like:
* Seats. I am now driving about 90 miles per day. I'm not in pain at the end of the day, but the seats aren't comfortable.
* Lots of noise on the highway. Lots of engine and wind noise.

It looks like the things I like are much better with the Forester (like the AWD) or similar (MPG, handling).

I'm curious what you all think about things like highway noise with your Foresters. Is it reasonable or do you feel like it's pronounced?

How about seat comfort? I found a thread about headrest/seat comfort HERE. Do the majority of people here like the seats?

I've been trying to find a Forester with MT, but the local dealers only have the automatic. I personally found it to be sluggish. I tested an auto CRV before I bought my current one, and thought the same thing about it. One of the reasons I am straying from Honda is that they won't sell a manual CRV in the USA anymore (same with Toyota & RAV4).

Bluetooth. Is it possible to get bluetooth on the lower trim levels without getting the nav system?

I usually do much of my own routine maintenance. I always take care of oil changes, disc brakes, basic tune up, rear differential fluid, and other easyish things like that. Is the Forester pretty easy to work on? Can you change the oil with out having to use jack/jack stands (I like that about the CRV)? Will I find the Forester to be of similar reliability as a Honda?

I'm also looking at the Outback. Other than being longer and a bit wider, it looks to be fairly similar to the Forester. And I can get bluetooth on the lowest trim level. Not sure about the CVT transmission though...but that 29mpg on highway is hard to ignore. Any comments regarding going towards a Forester or Outback?

Thanks for the great forum!
 

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2009 2.5X
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42 Posts
My current gen forester experience:

mpg = 24 that's about 70city 30hwy, with daily rush hour
I got 31 mpg cruising solely on the hwy when I went across michigan on I-94.

It handles really well for being about 8in off the ground. The suspension is tuned for comfort and not for sportiness, but it handles like a car and not an suv.

Road noise, I can't speak for it as my last ride was a honda civic with a race header, aftermarket exhaust, and a supercharger (no, it was not a fart can, thank you very much :p). Needless to say it's definately quieter than my last ride.

Seat comfort is ok, it's no lazyboy but it doesn't give me any back or lower rear pain.

The 5spd is out there. I was fortunate enough to get one but I guess Subaru North America has most of their fozzies as autos. The shifter is ok, this side of a honda (sorry, biased on this). Clutch doesn't require much effort at all, very light and mine engages about 2-3in off the ground.

Pretty much the reason why my principle choices were either Tiguan or Forester, those are the only vehicles in this class that can come with three pedals.

No you can't get bluetooth on the lower trim levels (has to include nav radio). That's where I love my Kenwood dnx6140 :Banane08: Got the base model 2.5x and replaced the head unit. Good to go :discomonkey:
 

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2009 2.5X
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PS:

If you take a test drive in the forester, listen for door rattles. Not to rattle you (lol) but it has been in some 09+ fozzies. Make sure dealer fixes it.
 

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2010 2010 2.5X AT Premium
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104 Posts
I'm curious what you all think about things like highway noise with your Foresters. Is it reasonable or do you feel like it's pronounced?
My 2010 Forester 2.5X Premium is definitely noisier than I'd have liked (see the full review on the forum here), and it's noticeable enough that passengers comment on it without prompting, but it's probably not greatly worse than the CRV. I've learned to live with it...
How about seat comfort? I found a thread about headrest/seat comfort HERE. Do the majority of people here like the seats?
The seats have been comfortable enough for me, but I'm pretty average-sized. As you've noticed, there's definitely been a bit of discussion about this issue lately on the forums...
I've been trying to find a Forester with MT, but the local dealers only have the automatic. I personally found it to be sluggish. I tested an auto CRV before I bought my current one, and thought the same thing about it. One of the reasons I am straying from Honda is that they won't sell a manual CRV in the USA anymore (same with Toyota & RAV4).
I have the automatic because after a lifetime of manual transmissions I figured that wrestling with the transmission while stuck in heavy traffic on the hills of San Francisco and the Bay Area in general just isn't fun any more :). Plus I felt that since the Forester doesn't have a crawl ratio, the automatic's probably better suited for off-road and bad-road usage than the manual. Overall, I think I made the right decision, but the automatic is definitely a little cranky and idiosyncratic...

Unfortunately, I don't know enough to respond to the rest of your questions, but welcome anyway! :)
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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Both engines and vehicles are solid. I would rate the Honda a bit ahead of the Subaru for durability. That's subjective. IMHO you need ramps to do oil changes bc of the location of the filter. Comfort.....some will say seats on CRV are better others say Subaru is better. Depends on your build, etc. AWD on Subaru is superior to CRV, hands down. Both get the job done. Subaru needs timing belt, bearings, idlers, and waterpump replaced at 105K miles.

CRV had more room than the Subie but that is my 2008 model. Don't know about new ones. I have 42K miles on my 2008 and daughter has 51K miles on hers....zero issues. Son's 2007 CRV has been flawless so far.

You can't go wrong with either one.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5X
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286 Posts
I drove a new CR-V recently

The CR-V body structure felt very solid, and it was fairly quiet and comfortable. The steering felt lifeless. I did not much like the feel of the CR-V cabin. The Subaru feels more open, spacious, less claustrophobic.

The Forester feels more lively, more sporting, more supple in ride and better in handling, more of a driver's car. The only noise problem comes on coarse road surfaces. Normally, the car is pleasantly quiet. The dash and controls are well laid out and simple. While it's not fancy, the Forester exudes practical luxury. Everything you'll need is there. The car always behaves as if it's my friend.

All these are subjective, but now, after 12 years with a '96 Outback and 1.5 years with this 09 Forester, it's an article of faith with me that Subaru usually gets right what matters most.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all of the responses!

gx4th, thanks for the notes. I had not thought about installing a new head unit to cover bluetooth. Heck, that would cover all bases...GPS, bluetooth, and big upgrade for the sound system. Did you replace or add any speakers as well? How well does you Kenwood do for bluetooth calls? Is the mic at the head unit, or did you install one closer to you (like near the sunshade or something)? Do you have any pictures of the install? i'd love to see it.

Jingle, I read through your review. Very thorough! Square cup holders? Argh. I hate the cupholders in my CRV. It seems that any cup that they do happen to hold will tip over on any hard turn. Good times. I hear you about the transmission. Right now, most of my driving is highway, so it's not so much of a problem. But when stuck in traffic, it is a hassle.

ADC, what is up with the filter location? Do you have to get at it from under the car?
 

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2010 Forester
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I have a 2010 Forester and I am happy. I managed 28-32mpg on the highway in cruise mode at 62mph. Also in town is around 23 and average is 25. Not bad. I like it all but is noisy and looking for options to fix that. The roof is so hallow that creepy in noise. Also the top of the door panel rattles at times. The ride is great but the suspension could be less communicative as in noise and un sprung weight
 

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Forester is no CRV, and Subaru no Honda. Reliability Honda wins, any time all the time. Comfort CRV dose not even come close (how I know I own both). Gas millage same But I think forester is little bit below but not enough to worry about or even to take under consideration. Now driving experience CRV will not even come close (once again I own both). Now if I would do it all over again, which way would I go? If in need an cross over Forester any time all the time. If I don't need the size I go with civic ;) I think civic is the best car Honda makes. Don't miss understand me I love my CRV, just as much as I love my Forester, but neither car is perfect. They both handle good enough in snow, so don't believe in this talk which all wheel drive system is better as most of average people wont notice the difference. And my CRV never failed me in the snow. So drive both and than decide which one feels right. That's what I did and Forester was just a home run. And the small issues that bug forester are not as a big deal, unless you blew head gasket ;) but I think that issue been corrected on newer models. One more place where Forester wins is more dog friendly, and you can get turbo if you want ;)
 

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Oh yeah I know how people claim that they do 28-32 mpg well I am not even close I get 21 ;) 23 if I drive like an old lady, mix driving 50/50 city/highway. I never owned a car that I could drive 60 on a highway ;) I hardly ever go under 75 ;)
 

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Just to note... not sure how related it actually is though, but my 2007 XT 5-speed with the larger STi turbo (VF43) gets 25-26mpg on the highway steadily, and 21-22 in mixed driving with a heavy foot. Only drawback is the premium fuel, but the X model should EASILY meet your fuel mileage expectations based on what you're used to with the CR-V.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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On mpg, check out the 2009 model yr MPG thread:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f107/2009-mpg-32717/

As noted in post #310, I am seeing 27.9 as avg mpg on the display computed over an accumulated mileage of just about 4000 miles, most of which is in town and suburban driving.

CRV's are great vehicles, but I've always felt them to be more of a cross over than an SUV. Just me. Forester has the heart of an SUV, apparent as these bone stock '09's go on maneuvers in Ukraine with a BMP armored personnel carrier and a T-72 tank:

YouTube - Subaru Forester on military range

There are a ton of Forester clips on Youtube, but that one is my favorite 'recruiting" vid! :Banane36:

If you plan to offroad or softroad a lot, the automatic transmission is the better choice.
 

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for comfort check the Outback

I have a 2010 Forester. I love it except for the seat comfort. I would buy an outback if I had it to do all over again. Mine has the power seat, and that could be part of the problem. If you are over 6'1 or wear size 13 shoes spend an hour or so just sitting in the different vehicles.
 

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I just went through this dilemma. So, for what it's worth, here was my thinking:

Outback's strengths:

More comfortable because the pedals are further forward than in the Forester, making for a more horizontal seating position (if you don't prefer sitting upright).

Seemed to have more sound deadening, so it was quieter and seemed more solid. May not be so prone to rattles.

A better stereo and an option for a great stereo (good for those commutes).

Cargo space is much longer, though the total space is similar. One would have to stack things up high in the Forester, which isn't ideal given there is nothing to hold the stacked-up stuff in place.

CVT - I found it to made the Outback fun to drive (always in the correct power-band). The fuel economy benefit is nice, too.

Wider, lower, and longer wheelbase - even more fun to drive.


Outback's short-comings:

CVT - It's brand new. Is it going to be reliable?

New model - Sure, it's a Subaru, but who knows what may have been overlooked.

Price - It's 10% more


That all being said, I bought a 2010 Forester. While I don't find noise to be a problem, many have brought it up, though I wonder if the OEM tires may be part of the problem. Also, I don't have the luggage rack, or the associated wind noise.

If you opt for the tweeter kit and subwoofer (or get a 2.5x Limited), the stereo sounds fine enough.

The automatic transmission takes some time to work in to your style of driving, but it does like to abruptly shift into a steeper gear when accelerating up a hill. That being said, it has one of the most intelligent manual modes I've ever encountered. The vehicle can be started in second gear from a stop and it will allow shifts at as little as ~1700RPM. The gearing allows for rapid acceleration from a stop, but quickly dies off in the upper gears. Overall, I would call the Forester's acceleration 'adequate'.

Lastly, at 6'7", I find the Forester to be comfortable. And, while the foot rest is too small, with size 17 shoes, I haven't had problems with foot space.

It was the aforementioned short-comings on which I mostly based my final decision, though I'm not terribly price-conscious. The Forester is cheap and spartan enough to alleviate any guilt about spilling on, tearing, or breaking interior bits if I need to use it the way it was meant to be used.
 

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Oh yeah if we talking about outback I think if I would do it all over again I would go with outback, as mentioned above the cargo is bigger I got two gsds so the extra length would be nice to have.
 

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Oh yeah if we talking about outback I think if I would do it all over again I would go with outback, as mentioned above the cargo is bigger I got two gsds so the extra length would be nice to have.
Yea its a tough call between the Outback 3.6 and the FXT... on the one hand the XT has tighter handling, is smaller (which is a + for me), shorter overhangs, costs a few thousand less...

On the other hand the 3.6 has a nicer interior (imo), better transmission, more interior space if you need it, a higher perceived luxury about it, but things like visibility and handling are not as good...

The thing I love about the XT though, is that in a few years when my warranty expires, I can easily get the ECU flashed to ~265HP and it will be like a completely new car :woohoo: cant do that with an outback....

Another thought... the XT @ 225hp has a 0-60 of 6.6 seconds, the outback 3.6 @ 256HP has a 0-60 7.1 seconds (source motor trend tests), so imagine how fast a 265HP forester would be :cool:

So its kind of apples to oranges, the sporty crossover vs the more "comfy" crossover... If i could get an FXT with the outbacks interior i'd be in heaven :Banane29:
 

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2010 Forester 2.5x tourin
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Tire noise

Hello mojidoji
I just purchased a 2010 Forester Touring package and was interested in your comments about road noise. My forester came with Bridgestone Dueler HT D687. I checked TireRack.com and found these tires to rate very low in most categories. They were especially bad for road noise. Check out this link. What tires does your Forester ride on?

Consumer Survey Results By Category

I just went through this dilemma. So, for what it's worth, here was my thinking:

Outback's strengths:

More comfortable because the pedals are further forward than in the Forester, making for a more horizontal seating position (if you don't prefer sitting upright).

Seemed to have more sound deadening, so it was quieter and seemed more solid. May not be so prone to rattles.

A better stereo and an option for a great stereo (good for those commutes).

Cargo space is much longer, though the total space is similar. One would have to stack things up high in the Forester, which isn't ideal given there is nothing to hold the stacked-up stuff in place.

CVT - I found it to made the Outback fun to drive (always in the correct power-band). The fuel economy benefit is nice, too.

Wider, lower, and longer wheelbase - even more fun to drive.


Outback's short-comings:

CVT - It's brand new. Is it going to be reliable?

New model - Sure, it's a Subaru, but who knows what may have been overlooked.

Price - It's 10% more


That all being said, I bought a 2010 Forester. While I don't find noise to be a problem, many have brought it up, though I wonder if the OEM tires may be part of the problem. Also, I don't have the luggage rack, or the associated wind noise.

If you opt for the tweeter kit and subwoofer (or get a 2.5x Limited), the stereo sounds fine enough.

The automatic transmission takes some time to work in to your style of driving, but it does like to abruptly shift into a steeper gear when accelerating up a hill. That being said, it has one of the most intelligent manual modes I've ever encountered. The vehicle can be started in second gear from a stop and it will allow shifts at as little as ~1700RPM. The gearing allows for rapid acceleration from a stop, but quickly dies off in the upper gears. Overall, I would call the Forester's acceleration 'adequate'.

Lastly, at 6'7", I find the Forester to be comfortable. And, while the foot rest is too small, with size 17 shoes, I haven't had problems with foot space.

It was the aforementioned short-comings on which I mostly based my final decision, though I'm not terribly price-conscious. The Forester is cheap and spartan enough to alleviate any guilt about spilling on, tearing, or breaking interior bits if I need to use it the way it was meant to be used.
 

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Flipper,

I have the same tires. It could be that as they wear, they will get louder. It could also be that I'm not sensitive to tire noise. My Forester seems quiet to me and I am coming from a Mercedes. I will note, however, that I hear things outside the Forester that do not hear in the Benz, such as stereos, trucks, etc.

Regarding the Bridgestone H687's, I must confess that I don't understand why they have such low ratings. Granted, they don't channel water as well as some other models, but they are reasonably grippy and quiet. We'll see about how they do in snow and how long they last. I've had considerably worse tires than these and yet they are rated very poorly.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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This is a Forester forum. We're all understably biased toward the Subaru. You need to drive a 2010 CRV and a 2010 Forester. Drive them on the same day. Drive them more than once if you need to, don't be afraid to waste the salesperson's time. New car is a big purchase.
What I'm hearing from you between the lines is that you are very happy with the CRV. That being the case, I wouldn't be in any hurry to switch over to Subaru. They are both excellent vehicles, and since you are buying new please buy the one you really like best. Give some thought also to the dealership you will be using. How far away, how good the service dept., what is their reputation, what's their policy on loaners, etc.
Good luck,
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 
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