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Old 02-16-2004, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default XT test drive (WRX owner)

My wife has been hinting around for new vehicle and the XT seemed to fit the bill pretty well, so we finally test drove one today.

Popped the hood first- looked pretty familiar under there for the most part. The IC looks a little small, but that would be easily remedied w/ a WRX or STi one. The turbo looked familiar- it should .

The intake setup didn't impress me a lot- the intake is drawing out of the engine bay vs the front of the vehicle- again (guesing) easily remediable w/ a WRX intake (delete the silencer w/ a elbow ofcourse).

The overall look was nice, the rims were nice (but 6.5" width- that's familiar
). The tire size is an odd one 215/60/16- not a lot of hi po tires in that size- could probably drop down a little in dia and find decent tires.

Full size spare- nice touch.

Rear seats that fold down w/ a pull of a button- very nice.

Weight- was very suprised only 3200 lbs- not bad at all.

Brakes looked familiar (for good reason).

Driving- the shifter would have to be swapped w/ the short throw- no biggie. I thought it was a little laggy, suprised me w/ the TD04 and a 2.5 l. I've got my WRX spooling 16.9 psi @ 2900 rpms so I'm little spoiled. Open up the exhaust a bit and add some engine mgt I'm sure it would wake up faster. Still good overall power and torquey in the sweet spots.

The suspension was pretty firm, firmer than I would have thought- in a good way.
Not STi RA firm, but still firm.

I'm sure it has the "good" oem alignment, which hinders things a bit, gain easily remedied.

Brakes- change pads/lines and put the H6 rear rotors in and it would change immensely (for the better).

Overall I was very pleasantly suprised. Very similar to the WRX in many respects. For some reason I was expecting a lathargic, rolly-polly SUV and was suprised to find essentially a larger WRX.

Two thumbs up for the XT.
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Old 02-16-2004, 11:58 PM   #2
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Hmm. Some XT owners might disagree with lag, since the XT is on full boost by 2900 or less.
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Old 02-17-2004, 02:15 AM   #3
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what would have given you the idea that the Forester would have been rolly polly? It's built on the Impreza platform and tends to handle quite well even with stock suspension. I do admit it did exhibit the typical roll due to a slightly higher center of gravity, but I've surprised many a Wrx owner with my stock (old) suspension. As for what's on my car now...well lets just say it's not much rolly or polly, more like a little bonce and a lot of gforce.
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Old 02-17-2004, 04:08 AM   #4
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I'd disagree witht he brakes really needing an upgrade too. I've had all four rotors orange / red hot and it still was stopping. Now that's frikking impressive. The stock brakes are much better than I think you give em credit for. I very much dounbt the normal driver is going to achieve that sort of brake temp!

Granted, I'm looking into an STI conversion...... but that's admittedly overkill.
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Old 02-17-2004, 08:10 AM   #5
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Default Re: XT test drive (WRX owner)

Originally posted by BIGSKYWRX
For some reason I was expecting a lathargic, rolly-polly SUV and was suprised to find essentially a larger WRX.

That could be because the FXT is essentially a larger WRX.

(actually, just taller) Glad to read your favorable review. I myself am deciding what to do about tire size. One thing I hadn't thought of until just now is that the "nice touch" of a full size spare would be negated if I futzed with diameter too much.
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Old 02-17-2004, 08:36 AM   #6
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It is rolly polly compared to the WRX, but I drove a WRX as well and was disappointed by the acceleration. Talk about turbo lag. I know Cobb has done a lot to rectify that, but stock? After getting out of it all I could think was "this thing does 60 in less than 6 seconds? ".
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Old 02-17-2004, 09:28 AM   #7
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As my change from 215/60R16 OEM to 225/50R17 hardly changed the diameter of tires as all I don't think I'll have any trouble using the full size spare (original 16"). I don't think a 1% difference would harm AWD driving a few miles to get a flat fixed.

It wasn't "rolly poly" before the plus sizing, but handling improved a lot with Falcon Ziex 512 instead of the "SUV" Geolanders, and the bigger wheels make for much better control in the twisties.

Everything I've read says it's the WRX that has the turbo lag, and that FXT is a rocket right off the line. Sounds like your WRX has a lot of Mods, BigSky. If that's the case you're probably right to be thinking about comparing your WRX to an FXT with all the Mods you mention....

I find the stock (except for the wheels) FXT plenty fast, etc.


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Old 02-17-2004, 09:47 AM   #8
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I wasn't giving it enough credit before I drove, that's for sure. I've driven several smaller SUV's- yawn, no yawn here.

This one had no boost gauge, but I would be highly suprised if it was @ full boost at 2900 rpms, but I've been wrong before .

Good point on the full size spare being "gone' if going to a different diameter- ofcourse one could buy five tires if he had to.

I give the oem brakes a lot of credit, I ran mine at PIR last year in 100+ temps! Brake upgrade I'm talking about would help out any vehicle, but particularily if you hit the mountains/canyons much. Aftermarket higher coefficient pad (not talking track pad here) give you very good bite, but also the advantages of higher op temps which are advantegeous when on the brakes a lot (down a mtn say). SS lines are more durable and give a better feel- plain and simple. The "H6" rear rotor upgrade is a often overlooked upgrade. Simply bumps up rotor dia to 290mm (from266), giving a little more torque to the rear brakes- this moves bias slightly rearward which you'll find makes a vast improvement in braking. I should have mentioned fluid upgrade as well- again if your going to be strenuous w/ your brakes.

Suspension wise I see that STi offers several spring (and even struts) sets for the XT. Ofcourse that means lowering it some, which may be counter productive depending on what you have in mind for it..

Again a hearty two humbs up for the XT.
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Old 02-17-2004, 11:39 AM   #9
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Originally posted by Roo
Hmm. Some XT owners might disagree with lag, since the XT is on full boost by 2900 or less.
FXT does have lag. Lack of torque is also an accurate assessment. but its not bad for a 4cyl, compared to other 4cyl.
either way its no V8.
brakes could be stronger, but they are adequate for street use.
improved handling without reduction in ride height would be a plus.
the shifter throw for m/t is long...about the same as S4 avant...too long and innacurate for any performance driving, but adequate for street.
the FXT is what it is. a solid street wagon that can venture off the path.
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Old 02-17-2004, 12:41 PM   #10
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I drove a FXT 5 speed. I currently have a COBB stage 2 WRX wagon. I felt that the XT was quicker off the line. But it felt like it ran out of breath near the redline- WRX deffy pulls harder. The boost on the XT is only like 11.5 stock, so I'll bet an MBC or better yet a good reflash from COBB would remedy that high rev anemia.
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:03 AM   #11
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We (wife and I) bought an XT on Saturday for her and we both love it. I drive a WRX (slightly modded) and it's very impressive. The handling, the acceleration, the braking, everything was far more than I expected. It is a hell of a vehicle.
We are going to race after break in... Update on that soon.
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