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Subaru Outback & Forester

12:29:57 PM
Does anyone have experience with these models? I'm currently looking for a car which is still a city car but also suitable for (climbing-)trips.
A key feature is that it should be big enough to allow for a 185cm person to sleep in the back, the seats should therefor fold flat.

Any other info?


12:32:19 PM
im about that height and just fit in the back of a subaru outback. have doen it a few times but it hasn;t been my best nights sleep.

btw avoid early model 97/98 outbacks as they had a few teething problems.

12:34:56 PM
... there is a 2001 model one presently for sale in the 'For Sale' threads of this site.

12:42:57 PM
G'day Felix.

I'm a relatively new owner of a Forester. Had it since just before Christmas. IT's a MY07 Forester X,
Manual. Definitely able to sleep in the back, the seats fold down nicely, and here's a link to a good
idea of how to extend the sleeping area for taller people:
Mattress Base/Sand Tracks
EDIT: sorry I forgot you have to sign up to access the above forums - it's a grat resource for 4WD'ing
and outdoors in general so worth it.

They're great cars, enough guts to go off road for a bit, but still small and efficient enough to be an
every day/work car around the city.

Mine is currently stock apart from hard wired GPS and UHF. The guys who take them more seriously
off road seem to quickly get new tires (Geolanders seem popular), some get a 2-inch rise kit, but that
has some warranty issues.

With regard to the outbacks, My brother (2005/06) and mother (2003?) both currently have one. Both
are automatics which i'm not a fan of. But again they're reliable, hold a little bit more gear then the
Forester (only marginally though!). I'm pretty sure they have the same ground clearance (200mm) but
because of the Foresters approach and departure angles it's better for rutted off road driving.

The Forester X is the non-turbo model, but because it's a manual it also has Dual Range gears. Go up
to the XS and you just get some luxury creature comforts. Go up to the XT and you get a Turbo
(almost as powerful as a stock WRX) along with the luxury.
1:11:27 PM
I am 173 cm tall and could sleep in the back of my forrester if I really needed too.. I can't imagine I would want to do it every weekend though. My head/feet would be fairly snug against the drivers seat/tailgate. The seats in my forrester do fold flat though.

If there is only 1 of you, you could sleep accross wise...

My car has been stupidly reliable, but has also been very regularly serviced so I guess that makes a difference. They will get you into most places that you would want to go.
1:20:21 PM
i have an outback and it is awesome. perfect city + weekend climbing/skiing car.
travels the best of any car i have owned.

never slept in the back and not sure why you would want to.
i have found sleeping in cars a bit useless in the past. i mean what do you do with all the stuff that was in the back like your climbing gear and esky. seems to involve some major rearranging.

but the back seats fold flat which should help.

1:23:07 PM
I've done a lot of sleeping in the back of my car when the weather is bad! Just stack the gear on the front seats and at your feet. Always great to wake up with a good nights sleep to discover the rest of the camp has flooded and been blown away overnight (had this happen several times at Stapylton!)
1:49:20 PM
i'm 197cm and had issues with sleeping in the back of my 2003 forester. having sold it since (i hadn't worked for 5 months - repayments were getting hard) i look back and wonder if it wouldn't have been better getting an outback of the same vintage.
the main problem with that is the $$$. the outbacks are bloody $$ compared to the foresters.
i'm not convinced that the foresters are bigger than the outback. i think the boot of the F is actually shorter than the boot of the O. so while you get storage height, you don't get the length. However, i did still manage to get all 5 of us plus 4 people's gear for a week at araps and my gear (6 months in tassie) into the back with only a bit of gear on roof racks.
i still think the outback has more grunt and probably more room, though the city efficiency would probably suffer. i reckon if you have the $$ to not worry about initial costs, i'd buy an outback.

1:53:28 PM
I'm around 6'2" and can sleep diagonally in the back of my Outback. The seat bases fold forward when you lie the seats down therefore they limit the leg room. To make it more comfortable I took out the seat bases and slide the front seats forward creating about and extra foot of room.

The outback isn't a true 4wd but does pretty well in most conditions, departure angles are probably the biggest problem. I've cracked both the rear and front bumper and they're not cheap to replace unless you have an "accident" and insurance covers it.

They are an awesome car if your prepared to accept them for what they are!

....... Not a race car :)
2:16:34 PM
"the main problem with that is the $$$. the outbacks are bloody $$ compared to the foresters. "

Not in NZ, they are loads cheaper than OZ. i got a 96 outback for 6k.

2:26:44 PM
On 8/02/2008 citationx wrote:
>i'm not convinced that the foresters are bigger than the outback. i think
>the boot of the F is actually shorter than the boot of the O. so while
>you get storage height, you don't get the length.

Who said they were? The Outback is a larger car - it's built on the Liberty sedan platform, whilst the Forester is built on the Impreza hatchback platform.
3:52:02 PM
On 8/02/2008 nmonteith wrote:
>On 8/02/2008 citationx wrote:
>>i'm not convinced that the foresters are bigger than the outback. i think
>>the boot of the F is actually shorter than the boot of the O. so while
>>you get storage height, you don't get the length.
>Who said they were? The Outback is a larger car - it's built on the Liberty
>sedan platform, whilst the Forester is built on the Impreza hatchback platform.

Well, noone, but i was trying to make the point that sleeping in the boot aside, i still think the outback has more boot room spatially, even though it's boot height is lower than the boot height of the forester.

4:00:59 PM
Outback certainly feels roomier for the passengers as well.

4:12:29 PM
They are both small compared to many other items listed on the similar thread, but that is OK depending on your $ and needs.

5:14:28 PM
Thanks for all thehelpful comments.

Sound like good cars, both of them.

As for the sleeping in the car: I actually prefer it to a tent almost. It's dry, you can sleep whereever you want. And if you add a top box you can stor mist of the stuf there. Otherwise it's just 5min of shifting it to the front. In Europ I probably spent 95% of my climbing trips in the car. There a holden commodore or a VW passat would be my first choice (I even spent a couple of surprisingly comfortable nights in a VW Golf II :-). But I figure here in AU you need something a bit tougher.
7:52:10 PM
I've had an Outback since late 99 (MY 2000 New). The AWD is great on tracks - mud, sand and snow. I've not slept in it, but the seats do fold down flat and it is longer than the Impressa based Forrester. Outback has bigger boot space when you have more passengers on trips.
The limitations are obvious - front overhang, in particular, limits creek crossings, driving over steep humps etc. The clearance is better than my old Subaru, but it's a soft-roader, not a 4WD. Deep soft sand (eg beach) is a problem due to clearance and wheel ruts. Gun it!

Gets between 8 - 8.5 L/100km on climbing trips. Gets around 10.0 to 10.5 around town. I use 98 Octane on trips and 91 around town - the 98 makes no difference around town in terms of economy. The 98 pays for itself easily on trips with improved economy.

It gets up Goat Tk and Vic Ranges Rd and over 'Parks Victoria speed humps' - if you drive slowly and diagonally across them. Handles well on the dirt roads of the Gramps..... although it still can hit Kangaroos if you drive too fast.

Get a Manual as they have dual range - and the lower range is useful.

The 2.5L engine is fine with the car fully loaded - the 3.0 L option is a waste. It makes the car heavier and fuel economy suffers a bit for not much gain. But as said above, it's not a sports car. If you want to tow, you need something else, not the bigger engine.

You just have to weigh up the extra cost over the Forrester (or other options). Very reliable and well built. I had my old Subaru for over 365,000 kms.

Rat Man
3:20:57 PM
I've got a 99 GT (turbo) Forester and it is the best car I've ever had. Surprisingly capable offroad for a car that isn't a proper 4wd as mentioned earlier they have a bit more clearance when entering and exiting angle changes.
As for sleeping in, I'm 188cm and found it terrible, but there were two of us in the back. If you're alone it'd be much better (but less snuggly).

What's you're driving style though Felix? Do you like to go fast when conditions allow (TURBO!!!) or are you a sedate driver? My car is pretty thirsty but I blame my driving for most of that, not the car.
And how much serious off-roading would you do? As I'd be inclined to lean towards the forester for off-road work. Just remember the skins on all subarus are very thin (keeps them light for fuel economy) so they dent easily. I drove along a particularly overgrown fire trail behind merijig (before the fires) and recieved a creased line on my door from a thick branch, didn't take any paint off though.

If you're happy to go a little slower, the non-turbo models are great particularly with dual range gearboxes and overall they're extremely reliable cars in 6 years the only trouble I've had are two split CV boots and a noisy timing belt pulley bearing.

If I lost my GT tomorrow, I'd buy another one - that's how much I love it.

4:04:51 PM
Michael is on the money. I've clocked up 240,000km on my 00 Outback. Super quality car. Brilliant to drive in the city and in the rough. It really isn't suitable for proper 4wd stuff - but I've gone through some impressive deep holes in it that a 2wd would never have done.

The only negatives are:
- Not great to sleep in if you are 187cm, which I am. But ok.
- Expensive to maintain.
- Bad clearance at the front. I've rooted the front number many times (but you just wait for some sap to run into you in the city and get it replaced).

But an exceptionally good car.

4:22:06 PM
I drive an 03 3L Outback. Awesome to drive on the highway. Will get you up and down some pretty steep tracks if you know how to drive 'em and you're a bit fearless. Drifts sideways nicely through the corners too. Its quicker then the 2.5L. Will beat any little boy racers in their white 'rokrat' Outbacks with sick mad exhausts and tinted windows.

The only reason I'd buy a forester is for the turbo. The Outback has more room then the Forester and the same off road capabilities.

8:22:57 PM
Well Christian, Australia isn't really the place for high speed anyway :-) so as along as the car goes 120 I'm happy here - maybe without using too much petrol then ....
What is your experience with fuel consumption btw?

I'd use the car mostly in the city and for trips to the Grampians or then maybe at some point for some bigger trip to the Blueys or so. No real 4WD stuff, just the typical Grampians dirt roads I guess. I've driven a Mazda 323 there and it survived but it somehow feels wrong.

I guess the most important feature is the bigger storage room which these cars obviously have and the possibility to sleep in the back. Does anyone know how wide they are inside
- from door to door
- from wheel to wheel (so the minimum width)?
The higher ground clearence comes in handy, too; and the 4WD is more an extra feature.

Why expensive to maintain, MrKyle?

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There are 63 messages in this topic.


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