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2012 3.6R Limited Pearl White Satin
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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to get a new car soon, considering the engine ONLY, which one should I pick Outback 3.6R or Forester XT?

It seems that FXT would cost more in the long run because of potential Turbo maintenance and Premium gasoline requirement?

I was told that bigger more powerful engines would last longer because they don't work as hard as smaller engines (lower RPM also translate to smoothness). Is this true with Turbo too? Would 3.6R last longer than FXT given a same normal driving condition?

There is one post in one thread that says the FXT is faster when overtaking even with lower HP. Is this true? If it is, is it only because the FXT is lighter FXT than 3.6R?

Thanks.
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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12,301 Posts
Based on engine only I'd go with the 3.6.

Similar power, although a smoother torque curve. Runs on regular fuel. Timing chain not belt. Available with the 5EAT which I much prefer to the old (but nearly bullet proof) 4EAT.

Don't get me wrong, the XT is a blast to drive...but for keeping a car longer than a few years I'd get the 3.6 with no looking back.
 

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Two very dramatically different cars and rides. By the way

Forester is now the dated subaru offering and platform not counting the nearly non existant Tribeca. LOL

Forester is quite small and far less refined compared to the legacy/outback platform. Also the outback is large compared to the Forester. If your looking for a small zip in zip out wip into parking spots - etc type ride the Outback is not that type of car regardless of engine choice. The Forester however would be your zip in zip out type of vehicle.

If you want a smooth quite very comfortable long road trip car the forester doesn't hold a candle to the outback.

So what are you looking for? By the way the 3.6R is not fast nor does it handle like a fast car - it just has nice smooth power. The FXT is more of your WRX scrappy ride with a boxy body on it.
 

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2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
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A year ago I went in to my local dealer prepared to bring home a paprika XT Forrester. I ended up ordering a Limited OB for the same price as a loaded XT. After driving both there is no comparison. My opinion: If you want fast get a WRX/STI. If you want an SUV type vehicle get the OB. YMMV.
 

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A year ago I went in to my local dealer prepared to bring home a paprika XT Forrester. I ended up ordering a Limited OB for the same price as a loaded XT. After driving both there is no comparison. My opinion: If you want fast get a WRX/STI. If you want an SUV type vehicle get the OB. YMMV.
^ what he said
 

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2011 Outback limited 3.6
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77 Posts
Being fast is a relative term that denotes a comparison. So compared to what, is it not fast, or compared to what, is it fast? You make the call. The 3.6 OB quarter mile times @15.5 seconds for an almost two ton six cylinder, is for sure not slow! Being a amateur drag racer for many years, I see many two ton eight cylinder Cars struggle to get into the 12-13 second range, even with 3-4 hundred HP. As for it not handling like a fast car, now that is a subjective term. You can't just go around making blanket statements as if they were fact! That being said, In my opinion, it does handle like a fast car. Notice how I said "IN MY OPINION".
 

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2011 OB Prem 6 spd now 2006 Built WRX.
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866 Posts
As it stands;
Refined looks/comfort/design with cheaper gasoline input = Outback. Slimmer/better handling/HID headlights stock but still with slightly dated features/designs = Forester. It's up to driver interpretation and functionality I think... but in short the Forester handles better, OB has a better interior.
 

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2011 Outback Premium 6MT
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546 Posts
As it stands;
Refined looks/comfort/design with cheaper gasoline input = Outback. Slimmer/better handling/HID headlights stock but still with slightly dated features/designs = Forester. It's up to driver interpretation and functionality I think... but in short the Forester handles better, OB has a better interior.
The Outback also does not feel like a tin can -as the new Forester does.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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Hmmm… Since you can’t just buy the engine, the equation remains Forester/Outback.
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6r, 1998 subaru impreza 2.5rs
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94 Posts
I wouldn't worry about the engine on either (outdated or not). They both are a proven technology.

I am debating the same thing right now (OB vs forester). Everyone here has said it. Two very different vehicles. Forester, smaller (inside & out), you sit higher up in it, more performance oriented, larger aftermarket, easily upgradable to ~300hp, Parts are compatible with sti & wrx (of similar years), so performance upgrades tend to be cheaper, premium fuel.

OB, larger, smoother highway ride, luxurious (at least compared to forester), reg fuel, pretty much opposite.

Take both for a drive, one should stand out to you..

I want a forester XT, but we are leaning towards the OB 3.6 as we have kids in car seats, and OB has ALOT more room for junk.
 

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'12 6MT Premium OB, AWP, Moonroof
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I traded my 2010 Forester XT Limited for a 2012 Outback Premium 6MT. Logged in 24k miles before I dumped it. Here are my impressions of both.

1. Hated the FXT 4-speed auto. It's horrible. It's slow. Came from a 2005 WRX wagon. I miss that stinkin' car.
2. Gas mileage on FXT is horrendous. 280-300miles a tank. Outback 420miles a tank. 80% highway 20% local.
3. FXT is noisy and unrefined. Outback sits nicely and quiet. Not too shabby on aggressive cornering either.
4. FXT plastic dash trim is easily scratched, cheap. Outback plastic dash has a brushed alum texture, much more durable (will look great in 10 years).
5. FXT Premium gas vs. Outback Regular gas
6. FXT stereo... simply put... sucks. Outback, love my bluetooth streaming audio and rear camera.
7. The only plus I give the FXT is the huge sunroof. I miss that thing.
8. Outback has built-in rack rails along with trunk privacy storage area under the trunk mat.
9. FXT has SQUARE cup holders. DUMBEST design ever. I didn't think it would bother me but it wears you down eventually. :28:
10. FXT has regular headlamps. Outbacks = projectors. The spread and beam focus is night/day. Particularly if you uprade to 4500k HID's.

Best of luck on whichever vehicle you decide on.
 

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'12 6MT Premium OB, AWP, Moonroof
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Pertaining to performance and aftermarket compatibility with '09-'12 FXT, there's nothing out there. I tried. Not as easy as previous gen WRX and manual Forester XT's. The 2009-2012 four-speed auto tranny killed it.

I believe Pacific Import Auto in Seattle were the only ones who took the time to create the '09 Forester XTi. Ran them 40 man hours estimates $40-$50k just to get it to a stock STi level.

Fantasy 2009 Forester: Getting the full STI swap | Driving Sports


'06-'08 YES. STi swap, a.k.a. Forester XTi very popular. Chassis much more upgrade-friendly.

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"Forester, smaller (inside & out), you sit higher up in it, more performance oriented, larger aftermarket, easily upgradable to ~300hp, Parts are compatible with sti & wrx (of similar years), so performance upgrades tend to be cheaper, premium fuel."
 

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2012 Subaru Outback 3.6r, 1998 subaru impreza 2.5rs
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94 Posts
There is still lots of parts that are cross compatible. I just think it's still to new for people to try.

Simple mods like Stage 1,2 would gain significant power. Although I noticed that Cobb doesn't have anything for the 2012 XT.
 

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2012 3.6R Limited Pearl White Satin
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186 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thank u all for the inputs. Based on them and my specific needs, it looks like OB 3.6R is the winner.
 

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2010 OB 3.6R limited
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Thank u all for the inputs. Based on them and my specific needs, it looks like OB 3.6R is the winner.
not so quick.... You didn't say what are you looking for? reliability(go with the 3.6R OB), Fun to drive....Definitely the FXT. I was in your position too 2 yrs ago, I went with the 3.6R because of reliability, comfort and (rear seat space for kids car seat. If I wanted speed and fun to drive, I would have gone with the FXT.... I sometime still wonder if I should have gone with the FXT....

OK, you have heard a lot great thing on the OB from follow OB owners here, so I won;t repeat!

This week I got a dealer loaner forester (non Turbo) for a day. What a nice car to zip around the Metro CHicago hwy.... The OB is a horrible car to zip around congested Chicagoland hwy compare to the FOrester.... YEs, The Forester felt like a cheap, "tinny" car but much, much better car for these roads.... EVen without the turbo...Add a Turbo???? ****, bring on the Evo or STI!

so, Test drive both car before you decide, it's OK to get advise here, But make sure you Test drive both car.... and ASK yourself what type of car ou want? (Family hauler with some HP or somewhat Un-tame small SUV that is actually fun to drive on pavement. FOrester XT is also better off road! (Better approach/departure angle plus 0.2" more ground clearance.)
Oh and that HUGE moonroof and BEST rearview visibility on the Forester...
 

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Engine alone I would go with the 3.6 OB. Fun to drive alone, I would be inclined to go with the Forester. Don't have much experience with the OB 3.6 or the Forester turbo but I do have a Foresters 2012 2.5X 4 speed auto and 2011 Forester 2.5X 4 speed plus a 2010 OB with the 4 cylinder and CVT (about 45,000 miles I have put on it) - every time I drive one of the Foresters I think how much better it drives and handles in comparison with the OB. Sure, the 4 speed auto is "outdated' but it works good enough and the Forester's design offers far better driver visibility than the OB. The Forester may have less space cubic feet wise but I think it is easier to use than the cargo space of the OB. Subaru on!
 

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2012 3.6R Limited Pearl White Satin
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Discussion Starter #18
Actually, I posted a similar question at the Forester forum, and I got the same answer. For my needs, family oriented stuffs, OB is the way to go.
I agree with you guys opinion about FXT is a fun car, that's why I am kinda curious. I will test drive both next weekend. Hey, we might have a little bit extra money at the end of this year and let's get both :).
But just earlier, we found another competitor..., VW Jetta SportWagen. I am always curious about Diesel/TDI. I wish we had Forester Turbo-Diesel here.., but then again that would be my car only since the spouse doesn't drive MT that well.:(
 

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2012 Outback 3.6L Limited
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I have not driven the Forester XT but the 3.6R Limited my wife has is plenty quick. I have the 2005 Accord V6 coupe with 6MT so I'm used to quickness and her OB definitely does not feel like a slug.
 

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2011 Impreza OBS
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I have never driven the 3.6R OB. However we own an OB 2.5i CVT Limited, and I drove my best friend's 09 Forester XT many times.

On the road: Forester has a stiffer chassis and better handling manners. It really handles a lot better than our OB. And there are quite a bit aftermarket parts to improve suspension and handling since most of the parts are compatible with WRX. UNfortunately it comes with disappointing 4EAT rather than 5 MT you get in WRX.
Off-road: I just briefly drove the Forester off-road, although I have watched it being driven in many occasions. And again, the stiffer chassis and shorter wheelbase gives it more agility off-road. I guess 4 EAT makes more sense here than on the road, giving a better awd distribution. Forester has a better ground clearance as well.
And the Forester's turbo engine would most likely perform better than the 3.6R as the altitude raises.

But in the end Outback fits my daily driving needs better than Forester. It is more comfortable, more economical. It has better quality interior. It has more space at the back and a bigger cargo area. And at the end of a long day at work, it just feels like a better place to be in.
 
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