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Please help me decide on which subaru?

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Hey everyone,  Im new to the forum and have been reading as much as I can.  I know people have asked this question, but it seems like it was with the older models.  Any input  or advice would be greatly appreciated.  So basically I'm finally looking to get my first subaru.  I have it narrowed down to 2018 crosstrek premium with 6mt, 2018 forester 2.5i premium with 6mt or wrx,  Currently wife has ram 1500 longhorn (5seater) and I have ram 2500 6seater.  I have family of 6.  This vehicle is supposed to be my toy / daily driver.  Picking up a second job and will be traveling about 60 miles daily.  I prefer the back roads winding through farms in erie vs the straight highway.  Narrowed down to these 3 models because I want manual transmission to keep me engaged. I have tried paddles, but it just isn't the same.

WRX all but eliminated because would probably have to trade in my truck to make it work.  In my eyes, my ram is the family vehicle, so it needs to stay.  BRZ is out for the same reason as Dodge challenger scatback with shaker body.  My wife actually loves it as much as me, but rear drive in NE PA can't be daily driver and I would have to trade in family vehicle.

The only other vehicle I am considering outside of subaru is civic SI,  This is actually the best SI I have ever driven.  She thinks it is sexy as a date car and it is fun to drive.  I saw reports that the reliability is down for honda which I don't like.

Pretty much leaves me with crosstrek vs. Forester.  Local dealer doesn't have them on lot to test drive.  It looks like I may need to drive to Pittsburgh or Ohio to drive both.

In my uneducated opinion, crosstrek is impreza with clearance which is why I am not talking about the impreza. We have discussed  the idea of needing to take 2 vehicles everywhere and she is fine with this.  I am "ok" with this.  

Crosstrek wins the mileage and initial looks.  Which is more fun to drive?  Capable off road and in the snow?  Being taller is the forester more likely to flip?  Are all 2017 impreza accessories compatible with crosstrek?  Is crosstrek or forester more reliable?

I think like most people here my dream car would be crosstrek wrx.  One can dream though.

Thanks again.


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I have a 09 forester. Very similar design to current MY. And ill tell you it doesn't ever feel like its going to tip, unless I take a 30 mph corner at 70.


The crosstrek Imo is underpowered. Even flooded in a 5 speed seems like I'm going to get passed by a pruis (little exaggeration but you get my point)

The crosstrek is a lifted impreza.

No hate om the crosstrek, I LOVE them.


Both are similar enough cars and should handle very similar in the snow.


The forester has a 2.5L engine where's the crosstrek has a 2.0 (unless changed in the current MY)


They both are just as reliable. These new engine (after the oil consumption issue) has no real issues.


Just a thought. In 2018 Subaru is releasing they're brand new Ascent. 7 passenger, 2.4L turbo engine. Very nice car so it looks.

Edited by golucky66
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Thank you golucky! I'm certainly not looking to go to track in either of these. I do enjoy flying down gravel and dirt roads, access roads etc. I have zero off road knowledge and almost got my Ram stuck in the sand. I drove out on the sand bar in Ohio and tried to drive in dry loose sand with factory tires. I was able to put it low and rock out, but that was interesting with the kids in car. Besides being fun to drive, I want to be able to merge on highway, most manuals I've driven this isn't as problem. The other would be taking my son and other scouts to Boy Scout camp. Currently he is only a small 11, but it would be nice to drive 3 14-15 year olds, their gear in troop trailer. It would be embarrassing, to get stuck on steep gravel or muddy hill because vehicle didn't have enough torque.

Prior to Ram I had an outlander sport which was auto and I could merge ok in. I can't imagine the crosstrek is slower than the outlander? Does the forester have much more cargo space with seats up? Realizing my wife has a truck, if I can get groceries or hockey bag in trunk should be sufficient. Roof racks are also awesome! Is the new global platform the crosstrek is on truly a significant advantage over the forester?

Before I completely rule out wrx, question for owners. If snow tires added can you get around in anything or still limited by clearance? I need to be able get out in anything for work. That's the other reason leaning towards crosstrek or forester.

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So I've driven a 17' 5mt crosstrek. It wasn't like... Really slow or anything. It's probably sufficient for the car. Even with 5 people and luggage in it.

I feel though that if you went to its max weight with or without a trailer. You'd notice a little more of an issue merging with traffic etc. But then again, you have a lot of weight on the car why would you be pushing it?

Never driven an outlander so can't help with the comparison.


You could definitely fit hockey sticks and groceries in the crosstrek. I feel like the forester would provide more space then the crosstrek. But there are true numbers put there if you wanted to compare facts on which one has more cargo space.


Not sure about the global platform. In theory and the way Subaru has been marketing it, it sounds really promising. I think they're too new for anyone to have any concrete answers on it though.


About the wrx. My best friend has a 03 WRX (I know, much older. But ground clearance hasn't changed much if at all)

He's never had a serious issue in the snow. But he doesn't drive when it get past 4-5".

The problem with the wrx and impress (non crosstrek) is that once the snow is higher then the bumper (which happens often in CT) the car turns into a snow plow. And no you have to keep traction while plowing snow. The deeper the snow the easier to lose traction.

Imo, unless you want a "race car" or a fast car. Stay away from the wrx's. Higher maintenance cost, less reliability at higher mileage, higher insurance rate. I'm not again the wrx's I like them. They're just not right for a most family men.


If I were you id test drive both the forester and crosstrek and see which one you like.

Don't worry too much about the power issue. Because any car fully loaded isn't going to be in the left lane doing 85+.

Heck, bring some stuff to the dealership and load it in both cars (to test cargo space) see which one fits you,your wife, and your family better.

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Snow driving will depend entirely on local conditions. if roads are cleared well you're only concern is traction.


If they don't then you need the clearance.

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Thank you again golucky66 and idosubaru.  I went to local subaru dealer yesterday and test drove impreza 5mt, they didnt have crosstrek in mt and the forester with 6mt.  I can say from experience that the crosstrek is slower then the mitsubishi outlander sport 2012-5 (cvt) and my 2010 mazda5 (cvt).  The mazda 5 had 2.3 or 2.5 and filled to absolute brim was able to get to highway speed and pass.  Due to the bigger engine I would compare to forester.  The forester was fun to drive, maybe a little slower, but i would be confident getting on highway with it.

Sadly the crosstrek is probably the slowest car I ever drove.  The outlander sport had same size engine and loaded to brim and with 1500 pound trailer I had confidence going up steep hills etc.

Took my wife to see them and she shot down both.  Not "sexy enough" for third car.  She did like the sti that just came off the truck.

Idosubaru, they are descent at clearing roads here, but do to work, I may need to get out before they get to them.  After discussing with the wife, leaning towards wrx and just putting sti spoiler on it.  She wasn't big fan of how regular wrx looks.  Her head turn is the only one that matters to me.  I used to be about the sleeper vehicle, but at this point in my life, I'm no racer and can accept that.  We think we should be able keep my truck and do wrx, no chance with sti.  Would you recommend studded snow tires or would performance snow tires be adequate.  I think I am leaning towards studded to help with any black ice I may encounter.  If forecast calls for anything over 3 inches Ill just drive truck until roads are clear.  Thank you guys again for your input.

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See what I mean about the crosstrek? It's so sad :(


Either way, the wrx are nice cars. Just HAVE to keep up with maintenance or it won't late 100k+.


Here in Ct, I've always just run good all seasons (and I mean good) and usually do just fine (until the car turns into a pole) in which case, good snow tires would help.

I think there's something about studded snow tires on subarus. Do a little bit of research on that because I'm not sure.

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