“It’s not the Subaru Forester’s first rodeo when it comes to finding itself in a sticky, messy, or dirty situation and then taking care of it.” (more…)

“The pillars on which these cars are built are the fundamental blocks that allow their owners to put their faith in them and have a blast while doing it.”

Montebello, Quebec.

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek, Forester and Outback have no problem showing the snow who is the boss.

They don’t even break a sweat if you’re commuting on surfaces that yield minimal traction or when putting the Subaru Symmetrical AWD system through its paces on a winter off-road course.

Let’s take a moment to talk about what make’s Subaru’s system so potent in the snow or on slippery surfaces. To start, Subaru designed its AWD system for perfect balance. The boxer engine, transmission, and differentials create a symmetrical layout left to right. This increases stability in every situation, as there is less weight transfer from side to side.

Also, unlike the competitors, each vehicle is designed from the ground up to have a symmetrical AWD system as a standard feature. This makes the chassis and powertrain a harmonious match. Other competitors often start with a 2WD system and add AWD to the same chassis.

It’s that kind of symmetry and engineering that instills confidence in Subaru owners.

More than 96 percent of Subaru vehicles sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today.

The symmetry allows for predictable and stable power delivery to each wheel, which was apparent in my test drive. With the traction control (VDC) on, you might experience a little bit of slippage if you go into a corner too hot.

But within moments, you’ll have your back end back where it should be. Yes, it’s a little bit of a killjoy if you’re honing your skills to qualify for a driver’s seat in WRC, but for 99.9 percent of the owners, it’s a saving grace.

Subaru’s active systems do their best to keep the driver and its passengers feeling relaxed and calm behind the wheel. Such was the case as the temperatures in Quebec plummeted below -15C. The frigid yet abundantly sunny day seemed like a perfect pair for taking the aforementioned Subarus for a test.

Starting the day with the XV Crosstrek, which has an MSRP of $24,995, was a treat. This light-on-its-feet crossover has charm and character. Even with the available CVT transmission, it’s pleasant to drive and has the ingredients to make it a desirable all-season kind of vehicle.

Next came the Forester. At a starting MSRP of $25,995, this five-passenger Subaru has some great qualities. Its high seating position elevates the driver to have a great field of vision and the roomy interior and excellent cargo capacity off 974L (seats up), or 2,115 L (seats down) sure fits a lot of stuff inside.

Lastly, and my favourite of the batch, was the all-new 2015 Outback ($27,995.)

Maybe it’s because I love wagons, or the fact that there’s an impressive 1,005 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats (2,075L with them folded), or that you can get it with a 6-speed manual, it’s a very well-balanced vehicle. Not to mention comfortable and quiet too.

Both the Forester and Outback have a little something extra, too. The CVT equipped models feature X-Mode, a system that further helps you gain more traction in low traction environments, and comes with hill descent control.

All of these great cars come with 220 mm of ground clearance, meaning you can save your money on a snow shovel! Okay, that’s not entirely true, but that ground clearance allows you to trek deeper off the beaten path if that’s what you’re into.

Throughout the day’s activities, whether it was engaging the X-Mode system while stopped in the middle of a snowy incline, or allowing the hill descent control to work its magic descending that same snowy mound, one thing is certain: Subaru builds a strong product.

One might argue that they’re a little behind when it comes to styling and aesthetics. But not everyone needs the prettiest SUV on the market or one that is the most tech-savvy when it comes to infotainment.

The pillars on which these cars are built are the fundamental blocks that allow their owners to put their faith in them and have a blast while doing it.

Visit www.subaru.ca for more information.


Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The reliable Subaru Forester is a very impressive blend of utility, comfort, handling and fuel efficiency in a compact package…

The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.
The 2009 Subaru Forester.

A redesigned third-generation Subaru Forester was an early 2009 model year release.

A new look, better performance, enhanced safety features and more interior space were all achieved without drastic changes to the exterior dimensions of this popular compact utility vehicle.

A “Boxer” type engine, with horizontally opposed cylinders (like a Porsche engine), and a symmetrical all-wheel-drive system distinguish a Subaru, as a Subaru. Forester has an excellent history of mechanical dependability and the Subaru essentials are packaged with a practical, utilitarian body.

Compared to the previous generation Forester, the ’09 came with a new chassis with a wider track and a longer wheelbase (by 9 cm), plus a new double wishbone rear suspension. The structural changes also yielded extra cargo space and more rear passenger head and legroom.

The single overhead camshaft base engine can produce 170-horsepower and fuel economy is rated at 10.6/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway). While reliable, it’s no rocket and flat-out acceleration to 100 km/hour takes more than 10 seconds. Agile handling does help compensate for tame straight-line speed.

A turbocharged variant has twin-camshafts and can produce 224-horsepower. However, it likes premium fuel and consumes 10.9/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway). Manual transmission models have an electronic “hill holder” feature. When stopped on an incline this feature delays release of the foot brake to prevent the vehicle from rolling backward and gives the driver more time to achieve a smooth take-off. The automatic option was a conventional four-speed.

Forester got top marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in its rollover test. The roof is more than double the strength required by U.S. federal safety standards.
In addition to all-wheel-drive system, a Forester comes with anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability control system called Vehicle Dynamics Control. It also provides what Subaru describes as a ‘virtual’ limited slip rear differential function.

The 2009 Forester was offered in four trim levels; 2.5X, 2.5X Touring Package, 2.5X Limited and a 2.5XT Limited model with a turbocharged engine. Even a base Forester 2.5X comes well equipped with heated seats, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, roof rails, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls.

A new PZEV (partial-zero-emissions-vehicle) edition of Forester was added for the 2010 model year. Emissions are about 90 per cent lower than most (2010) vehicles, according to Subaru.

In 2011, the base 2.5-litre boxer engine got a double overhead camshaft upgrade, plus new bore and stroke dimensions. While maximum output remained at about the same level, more power is available at a lower rpm and fuel economy improved. Other than a new height-adjustable front passenger seat no significant changes were made in 2012.

The reliable Subaru Forester is a very impressive blend of utility, comfort, handling and fuel efficiency in a compact package. While Forester has a loyal following, Subaru’s smaller dealer network may be an issue, depending where you live, and used resale values are typically higher than average.

Price Check: 2009 – 2012 Subaru Forester (November 2013)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2009              2.5X Limited                                                 $16,000 to $20,000

2010              2.5X Limited                                                 $19,000 to $23,000

2011              2.5X Limited                                                 $22,000 to $26,000

2012              2.5X Limited                                                 $25,000 to $29,000

*Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A reliable auto technician prior to purchase should always perform a complete mechanical check.

Recalls on the 2009 – 2012 Subaru Forester:

2009: An oil supply pipe to the engine turbocharger may crack, at the stay brazing on the cylinder head-side, and this could potentially cause an engine compartment fire. Dealers will replace a cracked pipe with a modified unit or install an additional bracket to increase the rigidity of the pipe.

2009 to 2012: A faulty centre rear seating position seatbelt retractor may not allow proper installation of a child restraint or booster seat. Subaru sent owners a locking clip with instructions on how to properly secure a child restraint or booster seat. Dealers will replace the centre seatbelt retractor upon request.

2009 to 2012: Dealer-installed accessory puddle lights may short circuit and cause the lights to melt. Dealers will install an additional fused wiring harness to protect against short circuits.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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