Subaru Forester: Towing --- CVT or 6-sp?

phsycle

Adventurer
First water crossings are not ideal for any vehicle. I doubt that 4runner owner thought about diff vent extensions, and greased up/ sealed wiring harness plugs. Wheel bearings etc.

The Toyota is no more water capable than Subaru other than intake height.
Water crossings are not an issue. But those steep, off-camber sections with big rocks. I know I would be missing Low range and rear locker. Most places, the roads are fairly well-graded, so I wouldn't have to worry about them much. But you just never know what you might find around the corner. I guess I could hold off on the lift, just add A/T tires, and buy some Maxtrax and a hi-lift.

My fuel savings at 25K miles/year would be about $2200, so would save roughly $11K in 5 years. Maybe a little more, since I run 91 in the Tacoma, and if I got a Subaru I would do 87. For some reason my Tacoma does not like the lower octane when I have tried running it.

I am keeping my current Tacoma, so anything like that...I'll just take the Tacoma, and to be honest I rarely do water-crossings in the Tacoma, as I usually park it at the trail head and use the bike.

There was a couple miles of this in one of the areas I like to go. Couple "oh chit!" deep spots along the way, was trying not to get wet that day too...

If you got a new(er) Tacoma or 4Runner, and say got 19MPG average. And 28MPG average on the Subaru. At 25k miles, $2.5 gas price, you'd be $1,057 difference. I run 85 in my Tacoma and it does great.

Those forest roads can be so unpredictable. One year, it is fine. The next, it's almost impassible. I don't know what my tolerance for risk is for stuff like that.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
If a road is impassable by a Subaru you either need the security of a second vehicle to self rescue or you hike it or ride the dirt bike. I grew up doing deep backcountry trips every summer. Usually involved an hour or two on this kind of dirt road to the trail heads. Our 65hp non turbo diesel 5spd fwd VW did the trip for 18yrs never once came to a spot that was impassable. Rough? Yep required choosing a wise line? Yep

The biggest issue was vehicle vandalism at the trail head. Gas tanks slashed fuel stolen / drained. Tires stolen. Etc

The lower profile vehicles or ie more local looking vehicles were less likely to be bothered.

In 2010 wife and I were about to buy a Mercedes GL suv. At the last minute I said no way were parking that at a trail head so we bought a subaru and a used Sequoia for half the cost. Haven’t had any problems yet. And the Subaru rips the dirt roads way way better than the truck.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Water crossings are not an issue. But those steep, off-camber sections with big rocks. I know I would be missing Low range and rear locker. Most places, the roads are fairly well-graded, so I wouldn't have to worry about them much. But you just never know what you might find around the corner. I guess I could hold off on the lift, just add A/T tires, and buy some Maxtrax and a hi-lift.



If you got a new(er) Tacoma or 4Runner, and say got 19MPG average. And 28MPG average on the Subaru. At 25k miles, $2.5 gas price, you'd be $1,057 difference. I run 85 in my Tacoma and it does great.

Those forest roads can be so unpredictable. One year, it is fine. The next, it's almost impassible. I don't know what my tolerance for risk is for stuff like that.
I knows my fuzzy maths isn't my strong point. :p

Basing it off of Tacoma@17 and Subie@33 HWY since that is 98% of all my driving. Paying $2.90ish a gallon for 91 octane now, so I just rounded up to $3.00, since gas prices fluctuate all year.

Taco fuel cost/year: $4411

Subie guestimate: $2272

Difference: $2139 (so basically $2200 ballpark)

87 is at $2.63 currently in my area at that it would be $1992, so a touch more savings that is if I could squeeze 32-33 out of the Scooby.


87 in my Taco it spits and sputters, it does after all have 365K miles on it, but I have always run 91 in it ever since I bought it 16 years ago.

The biggest issue was vehicle vandalism at the trail head. Gas tanks slashed fuel stolen / drained. Tires stolen. Etc

The lower profile vehicles or ie more local looking vehicles were less likely to be bothered.

In 2010 wife and I were about to buy a Mercedes GL suv. At the last minute I said no way were parking that at a trail head so we bought a subaru and a used Sequoia for half the cost. Haven't had any problems yet. And the Subaru rips the dirt roads way way better than the truck.
I have one gas can stolen over the years, but I forgot to put in the bed of the truck with a camper shell, and left it on the trailer.

Here in Idaho, if you toss a NRA sticker on the back you're good. :D
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
If a road is impassable by a Subaru you either need the security of a second vehicle to self rescue or you hike it or ride the dirt bike. I grew up doing deep backcountry trips every summer. Usually involved an hour or two on this kind of dirt road to the trail heads. Our 65hp non turbo diesel 5spd fwd VW did the trip for 18yrs never once came to a spot that was impassable. Rough? Yep required choosing a wise line? Yep

The biggest issue was vehicle vandalism at the trail head. Gas tanks slashed fuel stolen / drained. Tires stolen. Etc

The lower profile vehicles or ie more local looking vehicles were less likely to be bothered.

In 2010 wife and I were about to buy a Mercedes GL suv. At the last minute I said no way were parking that at a trail head so we bought a subaru and a used Sequoia for half the cost. Haven't had any problems yet. And the Subaru rips the dirt roads way way better than the truck.
I don't think that's necessarily true. There is a canyon with a number of trails right by me. I typically take my 4wheeler or dirt bike on it. I've taken my old Tacoma as well, which made it through most of the trails. There are some pretty steep, off camber sections, with rocks everywhere. A Subaru could maybe make it through 70% of the trail, but prove to be not enough for the rest. I think the biggest issue is the lack of low range. Even in my Tacoma in 4H, there were a couple of sections that I could not do until I switched to 4L. Not really a sketchy situation, but just enough gnar to require something more than a Subaru--I think. But I could be 100% wrong, since I have not taken a Subaru up that trail. I've been surprised by capabilities of certain cars in the past.

I knows my fuzzy maths isn't my strong point. :p

Basing it off of Tacoma@17 and Subie@33 HWY since that is 98% of all my driving. Paying $2.90ish a gallon for 91 octane now, so I just rounded up to $3.00, since gas prices fluctuate all year.

Taco fuel cost/year: $4411

Subie guestimate: $2272

Difference: $2139 (so basically $2200 ballpark)

87 is at $2.63 currently in my area at that it would be $1992, so a touch more savings that is if I could squeeze 32-33 out of the Scooby.


87 in my Taco it spits and sputters, it does after all have 365K miles on it, but I have always run 91 in it ever since I bought it 16 years ago.
Wow, you only get 17MPG highway in your Tacoma? Ouch. My old Tacoma was at 21, and my new Tacoma is 23 (highway). Gas cost around me is $2.38 (85 octane), which I rounded up to $2.50. I tested between premium, plus and regular. I've seen no difference, really, so I just stick with regular. No pinging while towing, either.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Wow, you only get 17MPG highway in your Tacoma? Ouch. My old Tacoma was at 21, and my new Tacoma is 23 (highway). Gas cost around me is $2.38 (85 octane), which I rounded up to $2.50. I tested between premium, plus and regular. I've seen no difference, really, so I just stick with regular. No pinging while towing, either.
That is it, occasionally 18, but that is pretty rare. That is with me driving it conservatively. ARB bumper (70 lbs???) Wildernest camper IIRC those are 250lbs, and 32" AT tires.

If I take the long way home through back roads which has a bunch of stopping and starting it goes down 15. Can see why I am sick of putting gas into it.

Ya know looking on Fuelly Foresters and Crosstreks don't get as good as gas mileage as I thought. Couple people getting over 30. Might have to rent one and see what I can get out of it. Possibly have to forgo the Subie thought and get a regular hatch like a Civic, iM or Golf, as I really want something that got closer to 40 mpg. As I don't "have" to run down roads with a car, can always just use the truck.

Have been looking at Lexus CT200h too, used prices aren't too bad. They appear to get a consistent 40ish mpg. Loose the manual trans, since it uses the Prius's system but the commute is mind numbingly boring anyway.
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
That is it, occasionally 18, but that is pretty rare. That is with me driving it conservatively. ARB bumper (70 lbs???) Wildernest camper IIRC those are 250lbs, and 32" AT tires.

If I take the long way home through back roads which has a bunch of stopping and starting it goes down 15. Can see why I am sick of putting gas into it.

Ya know looking on Fuelly Foresters and Crosstreks don't get as good as gas mileage as I thought. Couple people getting over 30. Might have to rent one and see what I can get out of it. Might have to forgo the Subie thought and get a regular hatch like a Civic, iM or Golf, as I really want something that got closer to 40 mpg. As I don't "have" to run down roads with a car, can always just use the truck.
If you go Subaru, I would skip the Crosstrek. The little 2.0 doesn't have much power to tow or maintain good speed over high-elevation mountains.

But for 40mpg....you will want something else. You could see if you can get an Impreza closer to 40MPG. They are rated at 36, so possible you could do a little better. At least you will have AWD. If not, I would just get a cheap Toyota Matrix (or Corolla, but I like hatchbacks) or Golf.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
If you go Subaru, I would skip the Crosstrek. The little 2.0 doesn't have much power to tow or maintain good speed over high-elevation mountains.
Good to know

But for 40mpg....you will want something else. You could see if you can get an Impreza closer to 40MPG. They are rated at 36, so possible you could do a little better. At least you will have AWD. If not, I would just get a cheap Toyota Matrix (or Corolla, but I like hatchbacks) or Golf.
Seems like the higher the vehicles are in the air the lower the mpg is. It doesn't have to be AWD either, would be nice, but not absolutely needed...had a fairly mild winter this year, pulled my studded snow tires off the truck yesterday, think I only actually needed them a total of 3 weeks this year. We going to hit mid/high 50's by the end of the week. Plus still keeping the truck, can always use that if the weather gets too foul.

Though I am finding some regular VW Sportwagens 4Motion sub $20K. Quite a bit cheaper than the Alltrack, could always lift it if I felt the need. Not quite the 40 mpg, but not horrible either.

https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/697831738/overview/

EDIT: I don't know why I am even looking, I don't even like cars...(oooh I know, I tend to go down these rabbit holes of trying to save money with my fuzzy maths, ha ha!)...it would be nice if they made a little AWD unibody truck the size of the 1st Tacoma, but got 30-40 mpg. Perfect for the commute and hauling the dirt bike on the weekends. Had high hopes for the Ridgline, but it is a let down in the mpg department, and not exactly cheap. Guessing that is why I am looking at cars, some sort of compromise between good mileage and utility.

Oh and it sounds like the fuel savings isn't all that much different for you, 4Runner vs Forester...think I would go with the 4Runner.
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
Good to know



Seems like the higher the vehicles are in the air the lower the mpg is. It doesn't have to be AWD either, would be nice, but not absolutely needed...had a fairly mild winter this year, pulled my studded snow tires off the truck yesterday, think I only actually needed them a total of 3 weeks this year. We going to hit mid/high 50's by the end of the week. Plus still keeping the truck, can always use that if the weather gets too foul.

Though I am finding some regular VW Sportwagens 4Motion sub $20K. Quite a bit cheaper than the Alltrack, could always lift it if I felt the need. Not quite the 40 mpg, but not horrible either.

https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/697831738/overview/

EDIT: I don't know why I am even looking, I don't even like cars...it would be nice if they made a little AWD unibody truck the size of the 1st Tacoma, but got 30-40 mpg. Perfect for the commute and hauling the dirt bike on the weekends. Had high hopes for the Ridgline, but it is a let down in the mpg department, and not exactly cheap. Guessing that is why I am looking at cars, some sort of compromise between good mileage and utility.

Oh and it sounds like the fuel savings isn't all that much different for you, 4Runner vs Forester...think I would go with the 4Runner.
You can also look at it from the perspective of 5-year (or whatever x-year) operating cost. When I did a quick calculation, taking into consideration initial purchase cost (Tacoma is a little more expensive), gas cost (assumed 23mpg for Tacoma and 37mpg for a car), and resale value (Tacoma would be way higher here), they were essentially the same. Of course, you also get a more capable vehicle, better utility, and safety with the Tacoma, so there is some additional value in that.

Years 5
Miles 25000
Gas 2.5

Tacoma Car
MPG 23 37
Initial Cost $23,000.00 $20,000.00
Gas (5yrs) $12,500.00 $8,445.95
Resale $12,000.00 $4,000.00
5yr cost $23,500.00 $24,445.95
 

Clutch

<---Pass
You can also look at it from the perspective of 5-year (or whatever x-year) operating cost. When I did a quick calculation, taking into consideration initial purchase cost (Tacoma is a little more expensive), gas cost (assumed 23mpg for Tacoma and 37mpg for a car), and resale value (Tacoma would be way higher here), they were essentially the same. Of course, you also get a more capable vehicle, better utility, and safety with the Tacoma, so there is some additional value in that.

Years 5
Miles 25000
Gas 2.5

Tacoma Car
MPG 23 37
Initial Cost $23,000.00 $20,000.00
Gas (5yrs) $12,500.00 $8,445.95
Resale $12,000.00 $4,000.00
5yr cost $23,500.00 $24,445.95
That is a very good way of looking at it too. Hardly any difference at the end of the day.

My wife is totally against the idea of me getting a car, tells me to quit being a cheap SOB, and just buy what I want, damn the fuel mileage!
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
That is a very good way of looking at it too. Hardly any difference at the end of the day.

My wife is totally against the idea of me getting a car, tells me to quit being a cheap SOB, and just buy what I want, damn the fuel mileage!
I did that when I bought my Land Cruiser. I burned lots of Dinosaurs! But the thing I hated most was the lame range. Which was why the Subaru ended up as the primary rig.

Just filled up the Subaru today 330 in town miles on 13 gallons out of the 18 in the tank. My sequoia we only see about 230 miles before a fill up.

We have family in eastern WA and typically do a large part of that trip across Eastern OR. I’ve done a few 500 mile runs between fills it was nice passing the tiny remote stations that were nearly a dollar more a gallon than the bigger towns.

The Land Cruiser was sucking fumes at 230 miles and that thing only sucks fumes for about 30 seconds. LOL
 

phsycle

Adventurer
That is a very good way of looking at it too. Hardly any difference at the end of the day.

My wife is totally against the idea of me getting a car, tells me to quit being a cheap SOB, and just buy what I want, damn the fuel mileage!
It doesn’t seem like it’d be worth it to worry about gas costs. Not when it doesn’t amount to very much. I understand trying to be responsible with money, but you live only once. Get something you will enjoy driving.

I did that when I bought my Land Cruiser. I burned lots of Dinosaurs! But the thing I hated most was the lame range. Which was why the Subaru ended up as the primary rig.

Just filled up the Subaru today 330 in town miles on 13 gallons out of the 18 in the tank. My sequoia we only see about 230 miles before a fill up.

We have family in eastern WA and typically do a large part of that trip across Eastern OR. I’ve done a few 500 mile runs between fills it was nice passing the tiny remote stations that were nearly a dollar more a gallon than the bigger towns.

The Land Cruiser was sucking fumes at 230 miles and that thing only sucks fumes for about 30 seconds. LOL
Why can’t Toyota put a decent sized tanks in their trucks? I would love a 30 gallon tank in the Tacoma. Land cruiser and Sequoia needs a much bigger tank as well!
 

Clutch

<---Pass
I did that when I bought my Land Cruiser. I burned lots of Dinosaurs! But the thing I hated most was the lame range. Which was why the Subaru ended up as the primary rig.

Just filled up the Subaru today 330 in town miles on 13 gallons out of the 18 in the tank. My sequoia we only see about 230 miles before a fill up.

We have family in eastern WA and typically do a large part of that trip across Eastern OR. I've done a few 500 mile runs between fills it was nice passing the tiny remote stations that were nearly a dollar more a gallon than the bigger towns.

The Land Cruiser was sucking fumes at 230 miles and that thing only sucks fumes for about 30 seconds. LOL
Why can't Toyota put a decent sized tanks in their trucks? I would love a 30 gallon tank in the Tacoma. Land cruiser and Sequoia needs a much bigger tank as well!
Only a 15 gallon tank in my 1st Gen, reason why I feel like I am constantly putting gas in it. In 2001 they went to an 18 gallon, which I should of swapped in when I did my fuel pump last year, didn't even cross my mind at the time.

That would probably be the cheapest solution out of all them, put in a larger tank in what I already own.

It doesn't seem like it'd be worth it to worry about gas costs. Not when it doesn't amount to very much. I understand trying to be responsible with money, but you live only once. Get something you will enjoy driving.
No it doesn't when you figure in total cost of ownership and resale value. Still shocked of what I can get for my tired old Tacoma, pretty sure I can get $6-7K out of it, and I paid $17K for it 16 years ago.

Think it is me getting older and thinking about retirement, used spend money like there was no tomorrow. Now getting close to that age has me becoming a tight wad. There is a chance I can retire from current job, and work from home in 2 years, so all this worry about gas mileage goes away.

Years ago I rented an Outback for 2 weeks for a mountain bike trip in the PNW/BC, end of the 2 weeks I was hating it, could not wait to get back in my truck. Why I am looking at wagons and hatches again, I have no idea (the allure of decent gas mileage...)
 
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