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Old 06-20-2013, 10:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Outback vs Forester

For the last 10 years I've been driving a 2003 Subaru Forester with automatic transmission. I use it for commuting, for toting stuff home from Home Depot (my rear-seats are almost always folded down) and for driving to winter sports in NH's White Mountains - xc-skiing and snowshoeing.

I've been considering a 2014 Forester Premium BUT I have a few concerns:
1. No paddle shifters on the CVT. On long-downhills my Forester accelerates in "drive" with my foot off the gas so I drop it into 3rd to get engine braking. Else I'd have too much brake wear/brake overheating. But the 2.5L '14 Forester with CVT doesn't have that option!
2. It's a first model year after a major re-design - there's lots of data on this and there's a very consistent pattern across the industry that such cars have statistically significantly more problems than subsequent years.
3. The new Foresters are very popular so there are long waits and dealers aren't in the mood to deal. I take pride in paying close to invoice for every car I've ever bought (I'm 60).

So I'm thinking, how about an Outback? (2.5L Premium with Winter Package) What are the pro's and cons compared to a Forester?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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get the Outback... it is tried and true with some minor changes for 2013
they are offering some good cash discounts but no such luck with any new model no matter what manufacturer.

it has the paddle shift / manual CVT and works quite well for me so far... 6000 km
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plnelson View Post
For the last 10 years I've been driving a 2003 Subaru Forester with automatic transmission. I use it for commuting, for toting stuff home from Home Depot (my rear-seats are almost always folded down) and for driving to winter sports in NH's White Mountains - xc-skiing and snowshoeing.

I've been considering a 2014 Forester Premium BUT I have a few concerns:
1. No paddle shifters on the CVT. On long-downhills my Forester accelerates in "drive" with my foot off the gas so I drop it into 3rd to get engine braking. Else I'd have too much brake wear/brake overheating. But the 2.5L '14 Forester with CVT doesn't have that option!
2. It's a first model year after a major re-design - there's lots of data on this and there's a very consistent pattern across the industry that such cars have statistically significantly more problems than subsequent years.
3. The new Foresters are very popular so there are long waits and dealers aren't in the mood to deal. I take pride in paying close to invoice for every car I've ever bought (I'm 60).

So I'm thinking, how about an Outback? (2.5L Premium with Winter Package) What are the pro's and cons compared to a Forester?

Thanks in advance.
OB is a nicer ride however Subaru added more complex content to the Forester to make it attractive over the crosstrek and outback

By the way the CVT in the Forester is manually shiftable my guess is that they listened to us who FREAKING hate the paddle shifters and the manual shift is tied into the center console shifter which is far better given it doesn't spin around with the steering wheel.
Lineartronic® CVT with low mode (2.5i models) or 6- and 8-speed manual shift modes and paddle shifters (2.0XT models)

The new Forester has some cool stuff the OB doesn't have but its all electronic systems stuff they could easily put on the OB. As for ride the OB is better but the Forester on the smaller Impreza platform 1500lbs towing max weight etc is more sporty in the driving sense.

So if you have passengers and gear the OB is a better choice but if your just solo nearly all the time I would look at the Crosstrek also given its the same platform just packaged a little differently.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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By the way the CVT in the Forester is manually shiftable my guess is that they listened to us who FREAKING hate the paddle shifters and the manual shift is tied into the center console shifter which is far better given it doesn't spin around with the steering wheel.
Lineartronic® CVT with low mode (2.5i models) or 6- and 8-speed manual shift modes and paddle shifters (2.0XT models)
You contradicted your guess with facts in the same sentence. Non-XT's appear to have no paddle shifters with another mode other than "D" to shift into (my guess is it's labelled "L" for "Low") while the XT's still have paddle shifters.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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outback is so much more comfortable. the impreza/forester is an economy car. a legacy/outback is a bit more upscale.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plnelson View Post
So I'm thinking, how about an Outback? (2.5L Premium with Winter Package) What are the pro's and cons compared to a Forester?
I haven't looked at the 2014 models, but I was making the same decision between Outback and Forester when I was shopping.

I made a chart of all the cars I was considering and started filling in specs. Things like cargo space, legroom, MPG, towing capacity, etc. I was baffled to find that the Outback was just "better" than the Forester in every category. In 2013 the Outback is actually BIGGER than the Forester - both cargo and passenger space! And it got better fuel economy to boot. I couldn't come up with why anybody would buy the Forester over the Outback for that model year. I asked the dealer about that, and they told me that for some people car buying is an "emotional" process (his word choice), and that people may just like the look of one vs the other even if all other variables are comparable.

Again, I only compared the 2013 models and the Outback came out ahead. Maybe for 2014 the tables turn back the other way!
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Se7enLC View Post
I haven't looked at the 2014 models, but I was making the same decision between Outback and Forester when I was shopping.

I made a chart of all the cars I was considering and started filling in specs. Things like cargo space, legroom, MPG, towing capacity, etc. I was baffled to find that the Outback was just "better" than the Forester in every category. In 2013 the Outback is actually BIGGER than the Forester - both cargo and passenger space! And it got better fuel economy to boot. I couldn't come up with why anybody would buy the Forester over the Outback for that model year. I asked the dealer about that, and they told me that for some people car buying is an "emotional" process (his word choice), and that people may just like the look of one vs the other even if all other variables are comparable.

Again, I only compared the 2013 models and the Outback came out ahead. Maybe for 2014 the tables turn back the other way!
This is exactly why Subaru added fancy off road system stuff to the Forester over the OB.
The 14 offers decent control and some software updates that add more complex traction modes which they currently do not offer in the OB. The Turbo also is part of that difference. AFter all we all know that the boxy body on the Forester means its a SUV right? ;-) The XV is the same vehicle just packaged a little different with different options.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I also compared OB & Forester and bought OB.

OB's Pro: Noticeably more space, smoother ride
OB's Con: A bit more expensive (2013 OB is probably cheaper than 2014 Forester now), no X-mode

Concerning the first year CVT, I would not worry too much because Subaru has a long history in developing CVT (in Japan).

Test drive OB and see if you like the CVT to start with (test it on a downhill to feel how it acts). If not, you might want to look for 2013 Forester.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subiesailor View Post
OB is a nicer ride however Subaru added more complex content to the Forester to make it attractive over the crosstrek and outback

By the way the CVT in the Forester is manually shiftable my guess is that they listened to us who FREAKING hate the paddle shifters and the manual shift is tied into the center console shifter which is far better given it doesn't spin around with the steering wheel.
I'm not sure what the source of your information is, but the CVT in the regular 2.5L Foresters in the US do not have manual controls. That's probably been the single biggest complaint about them - the only control they have is a "low" mode - roughly equivalent to 2nd gear.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a 2012 Outback with a CVT. When I purchased it, I intended to buy a Forester, but wanted to test drive the Outback for the heck of it. The salesman, who I had known for a few years and trust entirely, told me that I would not buy the Forester if I test drove the Outback. Obviously he was correct.

Last year I took my Outback from Columbia, MO to Zion NP via Arches NP/Canyon Lands NP and back via Great Sand Dunes NP/Mesa Verde NP. I went over Loveland Pass (11,900 ft) and averaged over 29 MPG for the trip. I did not once have to downshift the CVT to keep the car under control. I do not recall thinking that I was braking too much either.

One thing I did notice about the CVT was that I was able to maintain a constant speed up even the biggest hill. I could watch other cars fall behind, knowing that their transmission were wasting time downshifting.

The CVT also freaks out unsuspecting passengers. If you are feeling froggy, you can run it up to the red line and leave it there until you reach an acceptable speed.
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