Totaled Montero...thinking Subaru replacement?

dookie

Observer
Bear with me please...I know little about the Subys and am frantically doing my research on a dozen different vehicles. New vehicle wasn't on the radar a few days ago, but my Montero was just totaled and I have a whole (business) week of rental coverage with which to research/locate/buy a replacement. Like that's gonna happen.

This is primarily a daily driver...'expedition' use is light-duty...deep sand on the OBX, some mild(ish) fire/logging roads in western NC. Fuel economy and ground clearance are significant factors, as is reliability/serviceability (everything I've ever owned has gone 200k+ with mostly DIY service). Budget is <25k, ideally <20k.

I post here as the Outback (2010+) and Forester (09-13) are on the short list. Either would likely need a lift. I know about the Subaru-specific forums and have been madly reading over there...just thought I'd ask here for a less biased opinion! Looking for opinions on these vehicles, as well as other options. The turbo CVT would be my choice for the Forester, but I see complaints about turbo reliability, cheap interior, and the CVT offroad (and I also see raves). For the Outback, the 3.6 auto, if I can find one in budget. I've spoken to Primitive Racing re: both models and their opinion is that off-road capabilities are essentially equal, with the notable exception of bigger overhangs on the Outback...which shouldn't be an issue in my use.

Opinions on those two? What else should I be considering? Thanks for any help...
 
The forester is a great car. I had a 05 and am thinking about picking up a new one for the wife. I know a lot of guys who lift their foresters. Unless you really need the extra speed don't bother with the turbo. It eats gas and you have to use premium. They have decent room and have great safety ratings. The new gas mileage is pretty good. Up in the 30s for highway. Check out subaruforester.org and there is also a forester Facebook page with a ton of modified foresters that might peek your interest.
 

Thirty-Nine

Explorer
Just to clarify, the '09-'13 Forester XT (turbo) had a traditional four-speed auto; no CVT. I owned a non-turbo 2012 Forester 2.5X for several months. Very spacious, comfortable car. Interior quality was a bit on the plasticy side, but the car felt well built and solid.

From my website:
http://www.subcompactculture.com/2012/10/a-bit-bigger-six-months-with-our-not-so.html

Subaru AWD is great on dirt and gravel; snow and sand. FYI, we traded our '12 Forester in for a '13 Impreza WRX—a lot more scoot!

Andy
 

E.J.

Explorer
I'll bet you a dollar that most of the criticism against the CVT offroad is keyboard speculation.
 

justfred

Adventurer
I traded my 2002 Land Rover D2 for a 2011 Forester MT.

I chose the MT over the turbo, because it felt a lot more fun to drive, gets better mpg on regular gas, and has higher towing capacity. I drove the Crosstrek with CVT and didn't like it, felt very spongey (and crappy towing capacity).

The Forester is taller and shorter; the Outback is longer and lower, but there's really not a huge difference. I prefer the slightly taller seating position.

I would question using either in deep sand.

The Subies don't come with a transfer case, so there really isn't a low-low range; and I don't know of any aftermarket transfer cases for recent ones. I'm also not sure about locking diffs.

They also don't come with recovery points, and with the unibody, it's hard to add them, especially to the front. I haven't tried using my tow bar for recovery, yet.

Tires (and airing them down) can make a big difference in sand, of course - but I think I'd carry a good jack and maybe some sand ladders and be prepared to use them.

I've been considering a lift and better tires at some point.

I've been impressed with the amount of space in the back, and the fit and finish are good.

If I were buying again, I'd get a 2014; it gets great reviews.

If I were you I'd really think about whether body-on-frame/transfer case is worth it. Try all the small "utes" if you can. Hyundai Santa Fe. Ford Edge. The Honda CRV and Toyota MR2 don't seem to be offroad-friendly. I would also test drive an LR2, even though they're overpriced!

Some other resources:
http://www.subaruforester.org/
http://offroadsubarus.com/
http://www.subtle-solutions.com/
 
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tarditi

Explorer
Forresters are good vehicles - I had a WRX rallycross setup for years and it was a solid little car. I drove it (in spirited fashion) on Tail of the Dragon as well as rally-cross on ploughed/graded trails and fields.
The subaru community is very welcoming and informative - there are some really great people on those forums.

When you say firebreak/logging roads, you mean relatively flat, right? Tellico OHV (now closed) was, technically just a network of logging roads. :)

Have you considered a more traditional SUV? 4Runner? Jeep? They're popular for several reasons, but their popularity also brings an abundance of parts and aftermarket support (and drives down prices as a matter of economic scale. I have an xTerra and it's a good 4x4, but the aftermarket absolutely pales in comparison to that of Jeep or Toyota.
 
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wallaceg

Observer
Both the Forester and Outback are great vehicles that should meet your needs. Look into whether you can fit a full size spare inside either. I think it's possible in the Forester, but I'm not sure about the Outback.

I'd also suggest looking at the 2006-2012 RAV4. I bought a 2010 RAV4 4wd V6 over the Subaru offerings. It's a bit more useful for hauling stuff (bigger cargo area, 3500 lbs tow rating with the V6), but still has good fuel economy (19c/26h EPA, but I observe 27-28 on the highway). Ground clearance is about half an inch less than the Subaru, though. Having a full size spare mounted on the rear door (where it belongs) is nice and frees up a huge under-floor storage compartment. I use mine frequently on the beaches of Cape Cod and never had a problem with deep, soft sand at 12 psi with the 4wd lock engaged. There are a few AT tires available in the stock size (225/65R17), and many to choose from one size up (235/65R17).
DSCN3357.jpg
 

Tinker

New member
If you aren't looking for the space of the Outback and are concerned with the CVT, I'd recommend the Forester. The 09-13 Forester has the 4EAT, not the CVT, so you're getting a tried and true transmission. The newer Forester (and I believe 2012+ Outback) has a newer generation CVT, and it seems to do well offroad. The SH Foresters do well with a mild lift (1" spacers and 2" with springs) and will get you around for a lot better fuel economy than the Montero did.
 

javierbarroso_13

New member
Subaru Forester 2014: Expedition Vehicle

Hi! I have a new Subaru Forester 2.5i 2014 and I am looking forward to do a good trip on it, probably from Alaska to Ushuaia, if I have the time and the money I would like to do a my trip around the world!!! I am looking to do this trip in a year or so. I would like to know if the Forester is up to the task and what mods would be wise to have done to it. I think the basic mods are a roof top tent (I don´t know which one), more off road oriented tires (I have the stock ones, Yokohama Geolandar), lift kit, under protection, and a recovery kit (don´t know anything about these ones).
Looking forward for recommendations!

Thanks!
 

p nut

butter
I was pretty impressed with Subaru's AWD system. Couple weeks ago, went through a muddy road, and the traction system navigated us through flawlessly. I think my Land Cruiser would have had slightly harder time getting through it. Our Outback is a '13 with CVT. I like this car the more I drive it. Close to 9" of ground clearance, so for what we do with it, that is plenty.

Here is a AWD test vs. other cars (for whatever it's worth):

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_MXK2nzt2Y

Looked at CRV's, Sorento's, Rav4's, but the AWD system won us over, along with the MPG and cargo capacity. Would have gone with a Forester with the gigantic sunroof, but we liked the extra cargo room for the kid's stuff.

Hi! I have a new Subaru Forester 2.5i 2014 and I am looking forward to do a good trip on it, probably from Alaska to Ushuaia, if I have the time and the money I would like to do a my trip around the world!!! I am looking to do this trip in a year or so. I would like to know if the Forester is up to the task and what mods would be wise to have done to it. I think the basic mods are a roof top tent (I don´t know which one), more off road oriented tires (I have the stock ones, Yokohama Geolandar), lift kit, under protection, and a recovery kit (don´t know anything about these ones).
Looking forward for recommendations!

Thanks!
Many have done it with a lesser car, so I think as long as you're up on maintenance, along with potential failures, like tires, you should be good. I don't even know if a RTT would be worth it for you or not. Simple ground tent would be cheaper and lighter.
 

dookie

Observer
Save your time and money and buy a 4runner, you will not be disappointed!
Getting down to it. Our shortlist has devolved to just the Outback 3.6R and the 4Runner Trail. Wife wants the truck and I wouldn't complain (at all), but the Outback is much cheaper over the life and can certainly handle what we will use it for. We shall see, we shall see...
 
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