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looking for 1st soob, outback wagon vs forester


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13 replies to this topic

#1 snowblind

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 11:03 PM

Hi-
Although I love my 4x4 toyota truck, I'd like to get something with better gas mileage (and airbags). I am pretty set on a subaru as it seems to be about the best mpg for an awd vehicle. I've considered the rav4 or crv but they just dont seem to fit me. Although I am leaning towards an outback wagon, I would consider a forester... I just dont know enough about either to make up my mind yet I guess.

Which has more space from the dash to the tail? e.g. with the seats down, can you put longer things in the wagon or the forester? what if only the back seats are down? I am a windsurfer and like to keep my gear in my car (instead of on a roof rack ready to get ripped off)... the boards are around 8.5 feet. Could I put a few boards along the passenger side (with seats down)? Do either/both have split rear seats so that someone could sit behind the driver when the right-side is full of gear?

Can you sleep in either (comfortably) by putting the seats down and then able to stretch out? which would be more comfy?

I drive 'off pavement' in baja 1-2 times a year and there are often nasty rocks on the soft-dry dirt. Which is better suited for this, the wagon or forester? I think this is mostly a tire issue, but from the 2006 specs online, the outback wagon has MORE ground clearance than the forester? which has a higher load bearing capacity before it bottoms out? which is easier to 'beef up' so it can carry a bit more (need lots of water out in the desert!).

What year should I target? I dont need super fast, so the 2.5 non-turbo engine is fine (and its the best MPG). I read that the 2001 2.5 had a HG leak problem and that was all cleared up in 2002. I probably would spend around 10 grand and it looks like it might be hard to get a 2002+ for this price. Should I target a 2001 that had the HG service? what about pre-2001 with a different engine? what about trannys? any issues with either the manuals or autos? are there any option/trim packages that I might want to target?


Also, I am in the SF bay area... so if you know of something for sale.......

thanks!
Brad

#2 fastwgn286

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 11:27 PM

the outback is much longer than the forester. they get longer with newer and newer generations, whereas the forester is about the same size (slightly bigger, but dwarfed by how the outback has grown)

i wouldn't read too much into the head gasket problem. key bit of advice: buy one that has had them replaced. boom, end of story, no worries!

i personally find the 2nd gen to be the best looking legacy (1st gen outback). i own one and it is quite comfy. you could sleep in there if the plastic cargo tray was out of the car (and all of my crap was taken out of the trunk area)

it has split fold seats (60/40) i forget whether the driver side of the passenger side of the back seat was longer, and i really need to go to sleep...so someone else can check....

dunno if a windsurfer would fit in there. i guess anything fits if you try hard enough (and have a sawzaw in your hand:rolleyes:)

otherwise, its a great car. its nimble, isn;t afraid of mountain roads and hairpin turns, and is the best wagon one can own. welcome to the club

#3 snowblind

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 11:55 PM

I am reading up more, and it looks like the older (late 90s) have 2.2 engines.. ? how are these? no balls compared to 2.5? worse gas mileage? also, how does the 2.5 SOHC compare to the 2.5 DOHC ? (power, MPG, reliability).

brad

#4 fastwgn286

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 04:59 AM

www.cars101.com will have actual numbers. the 2.5 DOHC has the same power as the SOHC, and both have more power than the 2.2. 2.2 is touted as the most reliable engine subaru has made, and the DOHC 2.5 and the 2.2 get very good gas mileage (i get 30 mpg regularly on all-highway trips in my 97 5MT). the only time the 2.2 was in an outback was with the manual tranny MY96s. in 97, subaru made the 2.5 standard engine for the outback. the sohc 2.5 was featured in the 2000 model....and, in order to spare anyone from complaining about me babblering on, cars101 with have specs and history and such (nothing about maintainence, so i guess thats what USMB is for....)

but, if you buy a car that has had the head gaskets replaced, any head gasket problems you are worried about will be settled, and you can enjoy the car for being an amazing car

#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 08:28 AM

I may be biased a little since one of our soobs is an '03 OBW - but you'd likely be happy with either one. The Forester gets its additional cargo cap. by being tall - not much help for long skinny stuff. And the seating is a little tighter. But the F'ter is on the Impreza chassis and will have a lot of 'go fast' options from the WRX STI tuner market. There are some parts for the Legacy chassis (like the Outback) and you could certainly get a rear diff' shield and MAYBE some stiffer spings or something to increase offroad reliability - it likely would never make a good 'rock crawler' but soobs are kinda light and swim through the sand fairly well from what I've read. And probably an automatic is gonna be a little better in sand too. You can search for a mod for the AT that makes the AWD 'switchable' so you can 'force' 4WD when off road too.

I was given an '06 OBW for a loaner when my wife's '03 was being serviced - I prefer the interior layout of the '03 - dunno about any previuos gens.

my .02

Carl

#6 grossgary

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 08:37 AM

in 97, subaru made the 2.5 standard engine for the outback.

this doesn't include the Impreza Outback Sport. these have the 2.2 motor up to 1999 at least. i ended up getting a low mileage OBS with the 2.2 due to the 2.2's excellent recommendations on reliability. it's been great. it is not fast, but has plenty of power as needed. mileage is less than i expected (27 at best all highway miles), but different transmissions and gearing get better mileage (i have an auto AWD).

sounds like you should test drive or go check a few out and compare.

#7 rlsimpso

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:51 AM

I would lean toward the OB. I am considering replacing my GT with an OB, but can't find one with a MT and low miles - less then 50K.

A 2.5 with the head gaskets replaced should be a safe bet. I have 80K miles on mine since they were replaced and no problems since.

Two minor points on the Forester: The earlier models do not have a locking fuel door and the climate controllers are a bit hard to see, that is the ones with the LED indicators.

To me, the Foresters I have driven feel much more basic then the Outbacks. This is not a criticism, basic and simple are good. There is less stuff to go wrong. The new ones are pretty well kitted out.

Being a bit longer, there is a bit more leg room in the Outback.

Get a turbo Forester. That is a real suprise to the boy-racer types.

Rob

#8 outback_97

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:54 AM

The Outback would be a better choice for long items, I wouldn't say it "dwarfs" the Forester though... they're both relatively small vehicles. But, the Legacy platform is longer as stated previously. And I think the OB has grown a whopping 1.5 inches or so in three generations; the new ones don't really have much more interior space. The second gen's ('00 to '04) have the widest cargo area between the "wheel wells" IIRC.

I've had 8' lumber inside my 97 wagon resting on the center console... and 10' pieces of molding that went from the passenger footwell to the back window. You *probably* can get an 8.5' object in there with the front seat folded, maybe folded back + headrest removed rather than forward. I once moved a grandfather clock in mine, but that was under 7'. How wide are windsurf boards? I'd take your largest piece of gear and just throw it in to the car you're looking at, see if it fits.

Good luck, they're great cars!

Steve

#9 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:40 AM

The Outback would be a better choice for long items, I wouldn't say it "dwarfs" the Forester though... they're both relatively small vehicles. But, the Legacy platform is longer as stated previously. And I think the OB has grown a whopping 1.5 inches or so in three generations; the new ones don't really have much more interior space. The second gen's ('00 to '04) have the widest cargo area between the "wheel wells" IIRC.

I've had 8' lumber inside my 97 wagon resting on the center console... and 10' pieces of molding that went from the passenger footwell to the back window. You *probably* can get an 8.5' object in there with the front seat folded, maybe folded back + headrest removed rather than forward. I once moved a grandfather clock in mine, but that was under 7'. How wide are windsurf boards? I'd take your largest piece of gear and just throw it in to the car you're looking at, see if it fits.

Good luck, they're great cars!

Steve


Yeah, I'm having some doubts about windsurf gear fitting. If the passenger seat folded differently, it would be easier. If the OP has some rental companies around, he could actually use a Subie over a weekend and see what's good/bad about it.

Carl

#10 rlsimpso

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:52 AM

Something else to condider is the seats in OB up to the 05's fold flat with the seat bottom flipping up. The new ones, the seat backs are the only part the folds. With that said, we had 20 10 foot pieces of 3/4 inch copper tubing in my dads 05 turbo OB with no problems. Just put a towel on the dash and watch the hard braking.

The OB and Forester usually have roof racks. Thule and Yakima make bars and mounts for sail boards. Why not strap them to the roof? I suppose the sail may be an issue.

http://www.yakima.co...duct.aspx?id=52

Thule's site is kinda annoying, but they list similar items. Just make up a car if you look there.

Rob

#11 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 12:52 PM

AS for sleeping, our OBW will accept the headrests mounted reverse such that they could be used as pillows!

And, as said, it folds almost perfectly flat.

Carl

#12 fastwgn286

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 05:09 PM

this doesn't include the Impreza Outback Sport. these have the 2.2 motor up to 1999 at least. i ended up getting a low mileage OBS with the 2.2 due to the 2.2's excellent recommendations on reliability. it's been great. it is not fast, but has plenty of power as needed. mileage is less than i expected (27 at best all highway miles), but different transmissions and gearing get better mileage (i have an auto AWD).

sounds like you should test drive or go check a few out and compare.


forgot to mention those. but i would have inserted sport to distinguish between the two (after all, the 2000-on outbacks are just called outbacks and dropped the legacy part)

and the headrests are pretty cool if your wife/girlfriend is mad at you and you want a place to crash in the back. or if the sunroofs go all the way back (don't have em, so i dunno how far back they go), you can stargaze from inside the car. they are a little hard to take out with one hand, and must go in this position to get the seat all the way flat.

#13 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:03 PM

forgot to mention those. but i would have inserted sport to distinguish between the two (after all, the 2000-on outbacks are just called outbacks and dropped the legacy part)

and the headrests are pretty cool if your wife/girlfriend is mad at you and you want a place to crash in the back. or if the sunroofs go all the way back (don't have em, so i dunno how far back they go), you can stargaze from inside the car. they are a little hard to take out with one hand, and must go in this position to get the seat all the way flat.


I find that the seat bottom will clear them well enough if i put them in the floor with the posts stuck under the front seat. That's waht I've done every time I need the cargo area and no problem so far.

But they will go in the pillow mode as well.

Carl

#14 scoobyclimbs

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:20 AM

I think an OBW would be good with a 4EAT better in sand since the gearing is lower than a 5MT in first gear. Note the 4EAT in 1st or 2nd gear keeps the trans in 50/50 mode but 3rd and 4th it's 90/10split. An LSD(limited slip rear diff.) is a must for any offroad!

stock tires are fine in sand if you air them down I've been in some fairly deep stuff with no problems.

The legacy outback name is still on the 2000-04 but on the title with no badging. They dropped the legacy name alltogther in '05 Hence the "OUTBACK"

Offroad The Forester is better due to less weight and shorter wheelbase.
I'm a tall guy so I needed a bigger car. You can get anything you want for the outback or a forester . you can lift it/build it/ turbo it .Most Subaru parts are pretty interchangeable with other models, they use alot of the same parts.

I personally thought the Forester to be rolly polly and the outback smooth and stable after driving both/ given the wheelbase.




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