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Forester was not even on my list when I began searching for a new car.
The automobiles that were at the top of my list were Kia Sorento, Honda CR-V, Honda Passport, Infiniti Q50, VW Tiguan, and Hyundai Santa Fe. My preference would be never ever own a CVT transmission.

Further research revealed the the QX50 was assembled in Mexico, and many owners had complained about substandard assembly quality. It also featured a very complicated new engine that neither supplied excess power or mileage. It did have a 4 year warranty and the superb Infiniti dealership behind it with a fleet of loaner cars available.

That brings me to the Kia Sorento. It has a powerful engine, and an 8 speed true auto transmission. The features seemed quite good including the generous warranty. I went for a test drive at the local Kia dealer. It seemed be comfortable, have good visibility... except the front corners, more later. The acceleration was very odd to me. You depress the gas pedal, and you get a very specific acceleration. pressing it a little more does not reward you with an increase, and pushing just a hair more forces a downshift and really hard acceleration. I found it VERY disconcerting. The dealer to me seemed a bit on the sketchy side but very nice to me.

Honda has sold me my last three cars. They were well in front to supply me another one. I drove the CR-V and was suitably impressed. The CVT transmission was not to liking because lit wanted to find the powerband of the engine and stay there while adjusting the drive ratio to suit your acceleration needs. So you would take off and the engine would seek a very droning RPM and stay there. The acceleration was brisk (quicker than the Forester). Steering and brakes and visibility were more than adequate. A follow up drive in a Passport was also very nice, real 8 speed transmission, and many nice features. But like the KIA, the hood was very high up and flat, generally limiting any visibility of what was happening at the bumper. Very much like a pickup truck. Not a problem if you park in a driveway, but our cars are ALWAYS in the garage when at home.

Our garage has two doors that are 8 feet wide. Not being able to see where the bumpers may come into contact with them was a problem on the Kia, and Passport. The issue was less noticeable on the VW Toureg, which also enjoyed a true shifting transmission. Unfortunately I was trying to move away from a three row automobile, and the two row Toureg required 4 wheel drive. A very nice car but it was far enough from the ideal one that it fell by the wayside.

Next door to the VW dealer was the Subaru dealer. I had the day to shop so I stopped in. I had previously test driven a Forester when I was car shopping 4 years ago, so I thought I would give a gander... Well they were bigger now than before, but still had a sloping hood that increased the visibility entering our garage. I first looked at some low end models, but I was not really impressed. One item on the required list was seat memory. My wife and I are vastly different in stature. The salesman had to check... He had one Touring model that just came on the lot, but it had not been prepped for test drive yet.

He drove up in a white Forester Touring model. It looked nice enough. Then he opened the door... You could have pushed me over with a feather. The interior was a saddle color with bold stitching on so many surfaces. I tried to keep a cool demeanor, but I fell in love. After looking at so many uninspiring black interiors, this one really popped. The salesman mentioned that it was a rare combination, but I said the car is for my wife, she will have to decide. I made an appointment for the next day, and we both had a chance to drive it. My bias against a CVT went by the wayside because someone actually programmed it to respond in a favorable manner. I had to play it cool to make the deal, but my wife confided that that car excited her in way that no others have in the past.

We ended up buying the car, but there was another couple waiting to buy it if we turned it down. I had planned on continuing to the Honda dealer that day and buying a CR-V Touring model. While I was waiting I had a chance to do some more research on the pros and cons of both vehicles. The Forester had a problem sitting and draining batteries, while the CR-V has dozens of complaints with leaking sunroofs. A battery, I can deal with, but a leaking sunroof is deal killer.

What is your story?
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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2,325 Posts
A bigger reason not to by a CR-V is the oil dilution problem that Honda is having with the CR-V's 1.5L DI turbo.
 

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2019 Forester Touring CVT
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190 Posts
I actually debated getting a 2016 BMW X1 with the M-sport appearance package in a nice blue color. Would have probably pulled the trigger but there was a recall on a trim piece and they were unable to sell the car till it was fixed. While waiting I went back to my ORIGINAL option. SOOO happy I did.
 

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2019 Forester Sport
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123 Posts
I'm a utilitarian car buyer. I generally buy on specs rather than looks. Having had a really good 23 year run with the cheapest 1995 Honda Civic 2 dr coupe made (5 speed stick), I wanted to like another Honda. I was tired of trunks; buying a Weber grill and unboxing it at the Lowes so that I could get it into the car, I decided I wanted a car that had a cargo hold, hence it was going to be a crossover. A lot of my hiking friends got Foresters and loved them and I got to ride and check out the Foz and liked what I saw. These folks took the Foz into some pretty rough roads. Not exactly off roading, but pretty rough roads. The CR-V and Rav4 had new 2019 models, too. The Mazda CX-5 also got high marks. The CR-V had the oil dilution problem and that scared me off. I went and looked at the 2019 Foz and really liked the relatively plain, clean lines. The interiors are all way too busy compared to old school and I hated them all :) . CR always gives good marks to Subarus. They have great safety features; I liked the knee airbags as I have read that there are lots of leg injuries now that air bags protect upper body. I also like that Subaru is a community minded company and donates $. Perhaps the other vendors do as well, but they don't use that as a selling point. The Forester had the best visibility and the rear blinkers are orange, not red (those red rear blinkers should be outlawed; they are difficult to spot with red brake lights).

I didn't test drive any of these vehicles because I knew they would all feel very foreign and I would not be able to tell one from the other. Since I wanted all the safety features, I wanted a Sport with package 22 (RAB + blind spot detection + Cross traffic alert). I didn't think the distracted driving was worth the extra $ for higher trim line.

I'm very happy with my Subaru. It's very different than the Civic and I'm still worried about all those electronics, but the 10yr/100k warranty should ensure maximum car life as I don't drive a ton of miles.
 

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I thought I was down to a 2017 Volvo XC90 vs a 2019 Ascent but I was disappointed with the cabin roominess of the Ascent. I was hoping it'd be closer to a Forester with a 3rd row but it's not. It doesn't have the tall/boxy cabin of the Forester. Visibility isn't in the same ballpark as a Forester and that's an important thing to me.

After test driving the Ascent and coming to my senses about not wanting to deal with the total cost of ownership of a Volvo, I circled back to a Forester.
 

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I looked pretty hard at the Honda CRV & Volvo xc40. I test drove both, but did not like the ride of the Honda (too "mushy"). I liked the Volvo a lot, but was put off by the sales person trying to get me to subscribe to the car rather than buy it. In addition, it would have been a fair amount more money. Finally, I was afraid of the Volvo being an "orphan" car and not being able to get service outside of local dealer. I have had great experience with Volvos in the past, but there was just something about the 40 that put me off. I also thought of the xc60, but the cost was way too high. Also, where I live (NH) there are a ton of Subarus around and every garage fixes them.
 

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2018 Forester Limited auto CVT
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54 Posts
If it had a steering wheel, 4 wheels, 4WD, auto trans, and a 4 cyl engine, I test drove it. So that's quite a few SUV's for sure. The Forester was my favorite and that's my story.
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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213 Posts
I had been searching for about a year for a Tacoma Offroad. After driving an access cab, it was not what I expected from a newer truck. Then I saw a Rav4 Trail, drove it and loved it, but a friend asked me if I had looked at Subaru at all. So the whole purpose of my trip to visit my friend was to purchase the Tacoma but ended up going to the local Subaru dealer and in the showroom was a dark grey Forester Sport, I could see myself in this car. 3 days later and not even a test drive I ordered the very same grey Sport. 6 weeks later it was all mine and it was the best purchase overall.
 

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2007 Forester XT Manual
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317 Posts
WRX.

But then everyone and their mother has one. Then I started to do some research on the forester.... gear ratios did it for me. And the huge sunroof.
 

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2011 Subaru Forester Automatic
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85 Posts
I purchased my 2019 Forester Premium to replace my 2011 Forester. I chose the Forester in 2011 because of the visibility and that fact that AWD was standard and not an extra charge. I didn’t look at anything other than a Forester this time. The Rogue and Rav-4 have tiny rear windows and the visibility is was one the main things I love about the Forester.
 

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2017 Forester XT
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13 Posts
I really enjoy my ‘17 FXT. The car is peppy, fun to drive, great in the snow, and very reliable. It’s my first Subaru. I hope they will have a turbo engine added back in the Forester in the next two model years, if not this might be one and done for me. A straight 4 banger just doesn’t do it for me.

Truth be told I put a deposit down during the pre-order period on the new Tesla Model Y. I hope Musk hits his timeline as I have driven the model 3 and the car was great. I need a hatchback so an SUV version makes sense. I figured if I can afford a more sustainable vehicle, I might at least give Mother Earth some breathing room. Did I fail to mention 0-60 in 3.5 secs for the performance model...
 

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2006 Forester
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38 Posts
We already had an 06 Forester w/ 140k miles on it. We were in the market for a new car to replace a Pontiac Sunfire that was taken out by a deer. We test drove a Honda CRV-EX. We liked it fine but wife had concerns about visibility and I had concerns regarding the oil dilution issue. Also wasn’t sure about owning a car that’s so ubiquitous.

The 19 Forester Premium that we wound up buying was the second vehicle we test drove. Both of us preferred the visibility in the Subaru and as parents of a four year old have always been impressed by Subaru’s safety reputation. Purchased at Memorial Day. Has been to Boston from NC and back on a road trip and currently has about 4500 miles. No regrets at all with our decision.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium CVT
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After totaling my '98 Camry with 300k+ on it, I decided on a used compact SUV for my next car. I wanted something great in snow, room, good mpg, performance, and low miles. Another thing -- I did not want black interior. Having had great cars from Honda and Toyota, they were my first choices. While I was waiting to find a Rav4 that fit my price range that did not have black interior, I saw the video of the 2015 CR road test in fresh snow comparing the Rav4, CRV and Forester. The Forester was the clear winner, and the Rav4 the overwhelming loser.
Test drove a '16 CRV, but didn't like the fit or feel. Just wasn't for me. Tried three 2.5L Foresters, '16, '17, and '18s and enjoyed driving all three -- settled on the '17 premium.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,201 Posts
I actually debated getting a 2016 BMW X1 with the M-sport appearance package in a nice blue color. Would have probably pulled the trigger but there was a recall on a trim piece and they were unable to sell the car till it was fixed. While waiting I went back to my ORIGINAL option. SOOO happy I did.
I believe, knowing what I know I would have given the X1 a serious look.
 

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2019 Foz Limited
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19 Posts
Before we bought my wife's 2017 Touring, I decided I had to give due diligence. I looked at Ford Escape (small), Hyundai Tuscon (meh), Honda CRV (was going to be updated in 2018 and we didn't want to wait), and Mazda CX5 (really liked this one). My wife wanted a Forester, period, and wouldn't look at anything else. So that decision was made.

When I bought my 2019 Limited to replace my '11 Outback, I test drove a Crosstrek Limited first. I could have gone either way, but ultimately I liked the extra space the Forester had. And I really wasn't a fan of the orange stitching in the 'trek interior.
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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17 Posts
We researched and test drove the Jeep Compass, Ford Escape, Crosstrek, VW Tiguan and the Forester.

Coming from a 15-year-old Jeep Liberty that we bought new off the lot, I really wanted another Jeep and I liked the look of the Compass. Test drive was good and I was ready to buy a Trailhawk trim level.

We then tested the Ford Eacape. Small, cramped, sluggish engine. Didn’t even give it a second thought.

Next up was the Tiguan. Liked it a lot but my wife has a ‘17 Passat and it reminded me too much of it. Came across as a bit boring but a solid number two.

Then we hit Subaru for the Crosstrek. Liked the car. Liked the features. Loved all the technology. But it was too small for us. No cargo room. We wanted something bigger. Salesman takes us into viewing a Forester. Didn’t like it as much at first. We left with some marketing material.

After doing more research and test driving the vehicles again it came down to the Compass and the Subaru. Nothing bad against the Forester but I really wanted the Compass. I knew it was just because of the badge. When I actually sat down and objectively took a look at both vehicles, the Forester won. More interior space, more visibility, more cargo area and the technology included for the price really won me over. It isn’t as off-road rugged as the Compass but I don’t go off the road much these days like I used. Plus, a decent set of ties and I’m confident the Forester can get me out most situations.
 

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2019 Forester Sport Auto
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132 Posts
I really wanted a Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road but couldn't afford it with leather seats (the cloth seats looked and felt cheap) and I liked the new RAV4 until I saw it in person. I had also liked the new Chevy Blazer RS and Chevy Colorado ZR2 (weird gas pedal feel) but couldn't afford either (even with my father's retiree discount) along with the Subaru Forester Sport and Mazda CX5. One Saturday I decided to look at the Forester Sport in person even though I really didn't want cloth seats. Well needless to say I loved how nice the seats were and after a test drive fell in love with it. 6 months later I still love driving it and volunteer to drive whenever possible.

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2016 Forester XT
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I looked at the CR-V and RAV-4. Then I watched YouTube videos on the AWD capabilities and ended up with the forester. I was split between the manual and XT. If only they made the XT with a MT. Ended up with the ‘16 XT.
 

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2019 Forester Premium CVT
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31 Posts
I bought the 2019 Forester to replace my 2009 Nissan Rogue with 212K and a CVT that is hemorrhaging fluid. I had always liked the Forester and wanted to by one. It was number one on the list. Other cars were the Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav-4, Mazda CX-5 and the VW Tiguan. All cars must be AWD and have heated seats. I live in Buffalo, NY. Enough said.

Tiguan was #5 on the list and added at the last second. I went there first. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised with the Tiguan. Its a bit on the ugly side but no major deal breakers. The Tiguan moved up substantially in the rankings.

Next was the Rav-4. I though it had the best looks of any of the cars I drove. There were some major design choices that rubbed me the wrong way. Having to remove the subwoofer to change a flat tire is silly, IMO. I hit my head on the door frame when I got in. I'm 5'10. This shouldn't be an issue. The info screen looks like someone jammed an iPad into the dashboard. I hated the way it looked and knew it would always bother me. I keep my cars for 10 years and pile on 200k or more if I can. I'm not going to drive a car I hate for a decade. Dropped to #5.

The CR-V was a great ride. My salesman was very knowledgeable. Really nothing wrong with it. I would not have a problem driving it for a decade or more. I was slightly concerned with some of the recent reliability issues but other than that, I really liked it. Tied for #2 with the Tiguan.

Mazda CX-5. Nice car. Subwoofer/spare tire combo. Info screen like the Rav-4 but not quite as awkward looking. Drove nice on the short test drive. Just not my cup of tea. #4

Forester. Loved the roomy-ness of the Forester. I fit much better in this SUV and felt very comfortable. Acceleration was good enough for me to get on an expressway. No deal breakers. Test drive was successful and began negotiating a deal.

The Forester was the car I though I wanted but drove the others to be sure. I feel I gave all the other a fair opportunity to knock the Forester off the top of my list. The Forester held them all off.
 
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