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Old 04-11-2004, 03:51 PM   #1
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Post Looking at a Forester XT

I'm looking at possibly purchasing an RX-8. A little background history:

I'm 18 (I do not like to be associated with my age group; I act nothing like your average 18 year old.) Like my older brother, I received a NROTC scholarship to Penn State which pays full tuition. Because a new car is cheaper than 1.5 years of college, my mom is going to buy me a reasonable car of my choice. I currently drive a 2001 Subaru Outback wagon with a 2.5L H4. My brother chose to get a 2003 WRX (purchased in 2002). I somewhat recently stumbled upon the Forester XT and it has sparked my interest. Any comments? Also, I don't have any experience with a manual, but I would like a manual, especially since it has a turbo. How forgiving is the Forester in learning manual on it?
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Old 04-11-2004, 04:21 PM   #2
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the FXT is not a hard car to learn to drive stick on. the hill holder feature may be confusing (search: "hill holder forester") because it doesnt allow you to roll back when on inclines unless you are in neutral. at any rate, no 2 manual trans cars behave the same, but it is not 'hard'.

RX-8 vs FXT? two different philosophies of driving there. the FXT will behave like your outback, only more body roll, and slightly quicker. the rx8 is obviously a different beast in nature. it really comes down to what you need to do with it, or what you want.
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Old 04-11-2004, 04:55 PM   #3
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I actually found out the FXT is quicker than the RX-8. The only thing I'm not real happy with on the FXT is its styling. The RX-8 on the other hand looks really cool. My biggest problem with the RX-8 is its lack of cargo room. I don't think I can fit all my college stuff in that tiny trunk.

A number of people on the RX-8 forum commented that its manual was very easy to learn on. My brother, who learned on his WRX, mentioned that his clutch wasn't very forgiving. How does the FXT stack up?

Also, are there any reasonably inexpensive mods that could improve the handling/lessen body roll? And would any of these mods void the warranty?

Last edited by Prod; 04-11-2004 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 04-11-2004, 06:22 PM   #4
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no offense intended, but again, youre comparing a raised up 5 door wagon with a sports coupe. two different beasts.
as far as trannys go, subaru transmissions are not ones to abuse i.e. constant burnouts, clutch drops, etc will destroy your drivetrain. the car can be driven quickly, but you have to know what youre doing if you want to avoid unpleasant results in the end. i can tell you this, if you drive 0-60 of 5.x seconds on the FXT all day long everyday, youre going to be real close friends with the service dept! the fxt is not a sports car, its an economy wagon shell with a turbo motor and some nice features. period.
as far as mods voiding the warranty, depends on dealer, depends on mods, and depends on what breaks and whos paying for it.
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Old 04-11-2004, 09:07 PM   #5
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Yeah I know my consideration of vehicles seems random at best. I never planned on redlining the car the whole time. Not only would that kill my engine, it'd also kill my gas mileage. I like having the option to accelerate quickly so I can easily maneuver in traffic or simply beat out my friends' American V6s and V8s on the track. (My friends criticize the fact that I drive an import; the only thing I can say for myself is that I'd beat them in a race if it snowed. They think their American cars are so much better. They are faster than the 4 cylinder Outback, but the FXT would beat every one of them except the one guy who has a Firebird.)

The FXT seems so much more practical than the RX-8 that I'm more of in a limbo of when to buy the FXT. The RX-8 happened to catch my eye and I looked into it. It's about the same price as the FXT (configured as I want it) and its insurance is surprisingly low because it's technically a 4 door, 4 seater sedan. Like I said before, it doesn't seem to have enough cargo capacity, although I've only seen the trunk of one and that had the spare tire kit in it. Maybe if the RX-8 had AWD I'd have a tougher time deciding. So basically, right now the decision is to get the FXT either this year or next year. Any comments on what I should do? At Penn State, freshmen aren't allowed to park on campus. I haven't researched off-campus parking, but according to my brother I don't really need a car. I'll try to figure out whether I do or don't. Should I get the FXT this year or wait a year and stick with the Outback? (Note that I won't take the Outback to college, but I'll use it when I'm home.)
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Old 04-12-2004, 12:55 AM   #6
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FXT has full size spare
I would just hold off for a year, priorities change, point of view changes, focus on school and then at the end of your 1st year make a buy. what you WANT now will probably differ from what you NEED a year from now.
good luck
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Old 04-12-2004, 09:18 AM   #7
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Insurance on the XT will probably be much less than the Mazda as well.
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Old 04-12-2004, 10:17 AM   #8
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Funny, I tested an RX-8 and went back to that Miata/Subaru dealer to buy my FXT !!! Let me explain. I have a Miata and two kids. I was looking at the RX-8 so I could use it with the kids. I was turned off by RX-8 because I realized that I didn't need a replacement for my Miata (which I love), but for my 12 year old Explorer, which was beginning to need yet another transmission. I also discovered that the suicide rear doors couldn't be closed by the kids in the back and because of the BIG hump thru the back you can't slide 2 kids across from a single side of the car; e.g., I'd have to always go around opening and closing doors.

You don't need a car kiddo! Enjoy your freshman year and then choose between FXT and the new turbo Outback and Legacy that are coming out. If you want to really really keep this car and think you might get married and have kids in your mid-20's the RX-8 will be unsuitable. On the other hand, if you're planning on going on to post grad and marrying "late" than you probably won't need a performance "stationwagon"

Don't learn manual driving on ANY new car. Rent one (if you can find a MT to rent ). Yes, the AT FXT is plenty fast for many of us, even those, like myself, who drive other MT cars.

Good Luck!

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Old 04-12-2004, 12:54 PM   #9
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Just out of curiousity, how did the acceleration between the Mazda and the XT compare?
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Old 04-12-2004, 03:17 PM   #10
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i'm torn between 04 wrx wagon, 05 legacy gt sedan and 04 FXT...

but i have a year or two to decide before i trade in the wifes dodge stratus
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Old 04-12-2004, 03:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kohburn
but i have a year or two to decide before i trade in the wifes dodge stratus
eh...just trade in the wife and buy it now
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Old 04-12-2004, 04:40 PM   #12
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I'm sure I have more smiles with my FXT than the RX-8. I'd have to drive the RX-8 now to compare as it was ~8 mo. ago that I did the RX-8 test drive. I'm sure the FXT pushes you back in your seat more on take off. I'd remember that!!!! The only other vehicle I've driven that had FXT zoom was a Porche Cayenne Turbo, which costs $100,000.00

You just can't impress the girls the same way. Let's face it, FXT is totally stealth. I'd pick the RX-8 on looks

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Old 04-12-2004, 04:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corkfish
Just out of curiousity, how did the acceleration between the Mazda and the XT compare?
FXT wins hands down. By magazine numbers, the FXT does 0-60 in 5.3s and the RX-8 does it in 6.6. Also, the FXT runs a 13.8 quarter whereas the RX-8 runs a 15.1. (Some people have mentioned it running high 14s on the forums.) The RX-8 isn't that fast, but it looks cool.


On another note... the 05 Outback has caught my eye. I'm only concerned that its performance will suffer because it's heavier than the FXT. Does anyone know the 0-60 or quarter mile on it? Or if it has better cornering than the FXT? The only thing I didn't like about the FXT during the test drive was the body roll on turns.
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:41 AM   #14
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anybody have pics of lowered foresters with stiffer sways?
i'm curious how well the forester can handle when its setup
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Old 04-13-2004, 09:55 AM   #15
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Again, the "body roll on turns" is totally cured by a few cheap mods. Nobody has any performance data, that I know, on the forthcoming turbo Legacy or Outback, or even the "next" version of FXT. There has been some speculation that Subaru "could" dial them back -- that they perceived coming out with a Forester that is faster than a WRX was a "marketing error". Who knows.....

Many thought it "odd" that Subaru's official specifications for FXT deliberately understate its horsepower/performance.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 04-13-2004, 10:22 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobshere
-- that they perceived coming out with a Forester that is faster than a WRX was a "marketing error". Who knows.....

Many thought it "odd" that Subaru's official specifications for FXT deliberately understate its horsepower/performance.

Cheers,

Bob
What are the actual specs (stock XT of course) if the official ones are false??

Isn't there also a automobile manufacturer agreement in Japan that no production vehicle over 205kw will ever be released?
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:12 PM   #17
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The Foresters straight line performance is great, but the steering feel is nil ( can't feel the road and steering feels over-boosted). The handling is pretty bad compared to cars with any performance bias.
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Old 04-13-2004, 03:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kohburn
anybody have pics of lowered foresters with stiffer sways?
i'm curious how well the forester can handle when its setup
HOT Forester
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Old 04-13-2004, 06:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corkfish
The Foresters straight line performance is great, but the steering feel is nil ( can't feel the road and steering feels over-boosted). The handling is pretty bad compared to cars with any performance bias.
You can sort out the handling some by installing the Version 8 Impreza STI suspension.
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Old 04-14-2004, 01:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Corkfish
The Foresters straight line performance is great, but the steering feel is nil ( can't feel the road and steering feels over-boosted). The handling is pretty bad compared to cars with any performance bias.
I think the handling is actually quite good considering this is a small SUV and is marketed as such. Performance handling was traded for taller suspension and offroad ability. If someone had the inclination the entire suspension system for '04 STi can be bolted right up and with a few other aftermarket mods (stiffer bushings, different tires, etc.) the Forester will outperform almost anything. the only thing that can't be changed is the slightly higher center of gravity as presented by the body. The chassis is the same as the Impreza line.

When it comes to handling performance, just keep in mind what the car was designed to do from the factory.

As to the EJ255 engine, I think that it is just luck (for us XT owners) that the turbo 2.5 made it's premier in the Forester. The forester just happened to recieve the new global "performance" engine first due to it being redesigned first in the Subaru lineup. Given a slightly different model development cycle and the 2.5T could have first shown up in the new Legacy or only in the Impreza STi. Just a stroke of luck really.

Actual FXT specs: ~240 hp, ~250 lb/ft
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Old 04-14-2004, 02:59 PM   #21
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I think the handling is excellent, provided you work within it's inherent characteristic of having lots of travel.

The steering feel is fixed by putting on tires that actually have sidewalls, and inflating them to at least 85% of the sidewall max. The body roll is only an issue if you have to run slaloms on your daily commute (or you plan on autoxing it).

The trick is to smoothly increase the cornering force. If you just crank the wheel over, it pushes until the weight is finished transferring to the outside wheels. If you give the suspension time to compress, it'll stick like you won't believe, and both ends lose traction at approximately the same time. When cornering under heavy throttle (for the NA version, at least) the back end steps out before the front.
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:44 PM   #22
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Fun and utility!
Really lacking in interior ergonomics, but what the heck...
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:02 PM   #23
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Yeah, I guess the other option is to remove any suspension travel.

Mine actually gets off pavement on a fairly regular basis.
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chromer
Yeah, I guess the other option is to remove any suspension travel.
From what I know the car had full travel struts - ie wrx hybrids
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