Home » Every Argument I Made To Trade Our Old Forester For A New Forester

Every Argument I Made To Trade Our Old Forester For A New Forester

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I’ve been enjoying this bit wherein I try to convince my family to trade our old Forester for a Ford Maverick or a Chrysler Pacifica or, even, an Acura Integra. I’ve yet to be successful and so, completely seriously, a friend suggested I try to convince them to get a new Subaru Forester. That’s an absurd idea, I thought, but I might as well try. I want to trade our Forester for something.

It’s not that I don’t like my Subaru Forester. I feel about my Forester the way I feel about Tuesdays, decaf coffee, and the State of Connecticut. They’re all things I sometimes experience and often enjoy, but I find hard-pressed to enthusiastically endorse.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Cars are expensive and I’ll only get to own a certain number in my lifetime, so the idea of buying the same people-mover twice is odd to me. Sure, I’ll probably own another Volvo 240 and, maybe, another E39, but two new Foresters? It’s more my natural inclination to upgrade to an Outback or downsize to Crosstrek for the sheer novelty of it.

2022 Forester

The only way I could see myself getting a new Forester is if I get a different trim and, thankfully, Subaru now offers the more off-roady Wilderness package. This is a Premium trim Forester, like my 2016, but with an extra 0.5 inches of ground clearance, 17-inch alloy wheels with big Yokohama Geolander A/T tires, some distinct suspension tuning, and a bevy of visual upgrades. The Wilderness trim’s MSRP is $34,320, which is not bad when you consider a Premium trim car now starts at $29,695.

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So, how to convince the family (and myself) this is a worthwhile upgrade?

Argument One: We Already Like The Forester And This Is A Better Forester

The most likely Forester I would buy is a 2003 XT with the five-speed manual that somehow had 210 horsepower and could knock off a 0-60 mph time in about 5.3 seconds according to Car And Driver.  Otherwise, I think the Forester represents a Toyota-like approach to gradually improving a product.

It’s so gradual, in fact (maybe glacial) that it allowed our buddy Kevin McCauley to make a joke that never stops being funny:

Foresters Chart

You know what’s nice about the new Subaru Forester? Although it’s improved in almost every way over our car, it looks and feels and acts a lot like the car we already use. Does familiarity really breed contempt? Nah, more like it breeds contentment. This is, first and foremost, a way to get my family to school, and Girl Scouts meetings, and camping.

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Subarusign

This new Forester fixes almost all the problems I had with my current Forester. Specifically, and I say this a lot, it’s annoying to not have Apple CarPlay. Just this morning I was up at 5 am in my swimsuit heading out to get some laps in, and it was cold outside so I blasted the heat, as one does. I’m from Texas. I don’t like being cold. Because my phone was on a vent-based holder, I had the heat up high enough that it sent my iPhone into an emergency shut down mode. This was bad, because I’d never been to this particular pool (my YMCA is undergoing emergency repairs) and so I had to drive around a town I’m not familiar with at 5:30 in the damn morning trying to find a well-hidden Y while my phone cooled off.

2023 Forester Wilderness Interior

Ergonomically, though, it’s mostly my same car.

From a drivetrain perspective, the 2.5-liter flat-four in my Forester produces a completely adequate 170 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded gas. If there’s one annoyance, it’s that my Forester can only tow 1,500 pounds. The new Forester isn’t that much more powerful, offering a 2.5-liter flat four with 182 horsepower and just 176 lb-ft of torque.

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The Wilderness package, though, upgrades the towing capability to 3,000 pounds, which means campers are now a real possibility. I like campers. My family likes campers. Campers are cool. Is it worth the the slightly worse fuel economy (25 city/28 vs 24/32 for our car)? Maybe…

2023 Forester Wilderness Badge

Another enhancement is the inclusion of paddle shifters. I know, I know, it’s a CVT. Paddle shifters on a vehicle that doesn’t conventionally shift between the gears is slightly absurd, sure. I don’t care.

2023 Forester Wilderness Xmode

The CVT is the weakest part of my current Forester. No matter how hard I mash the throttle, the car just sort of lurches forward when it decides it wants to. I’ve driven plenty of CVT-equipped vehicles and Subarus are often the most annoyingly tuned, with a bad habit of slightly juttering at low speeds. This new Forester isn’t any better, but having the ability to use the paddle shifter to tell the car to just hold the damn “gear” is a huge improvement, especially in the snow.

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Overall, it’s our car, just slightly better in most ways.

How well did this argument do? 6/10

Argument Two: It’s A Fun Toy!

2023 Forester Wilderness Drive

Just look at this thing. It looks like freakin’ Jack Nicholson from “The Shining.”

Could I take my own Forester, put bigger A/T tires on it, and go traipse around in the snow? Sure. Could I also add my own fog lights, off-roady wheels, longer coil springs and shock absorbers, a front skid plate, and larger wheel arches? People do it! I even have a box somewhere with fog lights I need to install.

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I probably won’t, though, because I’m putting all of my spare energy into my older BMW. For less than $5,000 over a Forester comparable to mine, I can get a car that’s admittedly much cooler.

2023 Skitime

Being from Texas, as previously mentioned, I don’t understand snow. I have never skied. I want to give my daughter all the things in life I did not have so we recently took her up to Vermont for ski lessons and I, just to try it, also took a lesson. I did not hurt myself, which is apparently good for a first time skiing?

Besides learning how to ski and seeing some of our dear friends, I was looking forward to this trip because I knew it was snowy as hell and I love driving in the snow. It’s like mud, but slipperier! I definitely just drove around for an hour “to get beer” and instead found an abandoned construction site to go whamp on this thing.

2023 Forester Wilderness Wheel

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It whamped. It wasn’t the biggest whamp of my life. I’d say 7/10 whampage. That’s still plenty of whamp. [Editor’s note: If you have no idea what Matt is saying, join the club. -DT]. The A/T tires are not ideal in the snow like a dedicated winter tire and the CVT gets confused if you’re not quick with the paddle shifters. But it spins and tosses snow up in the air and it doesn’t get stuck.

How well did this argument do? 2/10

Argument Three: We call our car “Subie” and we wouldn’t have to change that

Having a kid is just constant changes, man. One day you’re happily reading “Goodnight Moon” and the next your kid informs you “that book is for babies” and a little part of you gets locked away, maybe forever.

So, this is a silly one, but it’s a real one.

How well did this argument do? 2/10

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Argument Four: It’s Easier To Clean

I am not Mr. Adventure-Haver. I will never be mistaken for an X-Games competitor. Tony Hawk, dead, will be more daring than I am alive. Still, once you get a Subaru there’s this sudden sense that, yeah, maybe you do want to camp. Maybe you could buy a kayak.

Having a child is already begging to have your car destroyed, and this is only exacerbated by my would-be Patagonia daddy lifestyle. I’m frequently wiping mud off the interior or vacuuming sand out of the back.

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The Wilderness has some great tweaks for our lifestyle. The big, chunky all-weather mats are easy to clean (I hosed them off before I returned it). The water resistant StarTex cloth held up well to our wet post-snow clothes.

Both the bright light LED in the cargo area and the full-sized cargo tray in the back are huge upgrades for what we do (I’m currently using an old flattened cardboard box in the back of my car to absorb fluids).  I also like that the roof rails are much stronger and can hold 800 pounds of whatever I want to toss on there.

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This car is an REI Co-Op membership on wheels.

How well did this argument do? 8/10

In Conclusion

2023 Forester Wilderness Wide

Will we upgrade to a Forester when our car’s time is up? Yeah, maybe. Just for the MPG penalty I’m not sure that the Wilderness will be the trim I’d get, but I do like it.

Honestly, all this is making me think is of all the upgrades I should make to my current Subaru.

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Photos: Author, Kevin McCauley.

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Slow Wagon
Slow Wagon
1 year ago

That sounds like a complete waste of money. The new forester wouldn’t really get you anything you don’t already have, except worse fuel economy and a car payment.

Slow Wagon
Slow Wagon
1 year ago
Reply to  Slow Wagon

You could easily install an apple carplay head unit for a few hundred bucks. Or get a windshield mount for your phone…

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 year ago

Why do you want to replace a 2016 model? That’s only like a couple years old, tops, right?

ElmerTheAmish
ElmerTheAmish
1 year ago
Reply to  Gubbin

The Covid era has been a bitch at erasing the last three years!

I’m constantly finding pictures on my phone, thinking “wow, that was so cool! When was that, just a couple years ago, right?!” only to find out it’s been 4, 5, maybe 7 years ago…

Thirdmort
Thirdmort
1 year ago

Having just bought some gear from REI (they have a big sale going on now), I can confirm that the REI crowd is basically the same as the Subie crowd haha

Bryan Pai
Bryan Pai
1 year ago

Quality stuff as usual, but the bigger news is Subaru still sells the Legacy sedan. A SEDAN. I am shocked since I thought that was cancelled years ago.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 year ago

This car is an REI Co-Op membership on wheels.”

This is the twitter version of a forester review.

Thirdmort
Thirdmort
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

It’s a scarily accurate take though ha

Tim Connors
Tim Connors
1 year ago
Reply to  Pat Rich

An REI Co-op membership is far cheaper.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago

The point of a Forester is to buy it, and subsequently beat it to death over a number of long, hard years.

Replacing it with a new one sort of defeats the point. I actually find the 15-18 years pretty decent looking. The latest generation is honestly, hideous. They took the ’18 and stretched the body to the point where it looks bloated and ungainly for the platform it’s on. Also, I hate lobster claw taillights. They look dumb.

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
1 year ago

I preferred my 2007 to my 2015.

MDMK
MDMK
1 year ago

Subaru’s been skating on consumer loyalty and dog friendliness for years now while making their vehicles incrementally less attractive and more mediocre vs the competition. The mid 2010’s gen Forester is arguably the most attractive generation then they started adding random discordant design elements in 2017 starting with the square peg tailights and continuing to this Wilderness trim looking like a aftermarket company’s SEMA exhibit.

I have this feeling Subaru will become the Mitsubishi of the 2030’s.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
1 year ago

I fail to understand why people who can’t live without apple/android car head unit integration would rather drop thousands on a depreciating car over buying a couple hundred dollar head unit and throwing it in the already depreciated pile they currently have. Seems so stupid to me.

Also, matt I really don’t think you can have your cake and eat it too. You get your pick of fun, affordable and manual or offroadish, mile eating people/cargo mover. The current car is in the latter camp, so maybe just go buy a Highlander and give up?

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
1 year ago

What is that Ford Escape doing in the collage

Last edited 1 year ago by Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
TurboCruiser
TurboCruiser
1 year ago

thatsthejoke.jpg

R53forfun
R53forfun
1 year ago
Reply to  TurboCruiser

Thank you. I assumed that was the joke but didn’t want to ask :). I had actually missed the Escape and was wondering wtf about the Ascent and Outback …

Cody
Cody
1 year ago

Why not just buy all-weather floor liners (not mats, liners are better!), upgrade the stereo to one with Carplay, and call it a day? A 2016 should be nowhere near its replacement time.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 year ago

“The CVT is the weakest part of my current Forester. No matter how hard I mash the throttle, the car just sort of lurches forward when it decides it wants to. I’ve driven plenty of CVT-equipped vehicles and Subarus are often the most annoyingly tuned, with a bad habit of slightly juttering at low speeds.”

This is a good argument for why you should sell your current Forrester ASAP, and an even better argument for why you absolutely should not replace it with another Forrester.

PJ
PJ
1 year ago

I used to work in parts at a Subaru dealer. Part of my position was placing orders. I can’t tell you the amount of transmissions I ordered for Foresters in the 4 or so years I was responsible for placing orders. Hundreds of each model I’m sure. Less so on Imprezas, crosstreks, and BRZs, but at least 300-500 each of the other models. Subaru CVTs are the worst transmissions ever. They will not last the length of the warranty period. I do not understand how that company makes money, with the constant warranty replacements.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 year ago

Actually, the Forester does have two distinguishing features: a HUGE awesome sunroof, and windows you can actually see out of! NOBODY does that anymore in 2023 😀

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

The visibility out of the Forester is one of the very best features it has for sure.

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
1 year ago

Yeah, when I was cross shopping the CX-5 vs the Forester, the visibility was night and day.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 year ago

Ha, Kevin’s sign is still right, though. It’s a Subaru Forester. They blend into the scenery and drive fine, for now. Do you know what vehicle recall I still got the most number of confused, exhausted emails from confused, exhausted owners who wondered why their vehicle burned oil and/or ate a piston—years after I wrote it up, and even as I was out the door? Subaru, including the Forester. Somewhere at Jello Picnic, whichever poor soul who gets all the misdirected emails for long-gone staff members is still probably getting questions about that recall from exasperated owners who are tired of their Subaru’s crap.

I do appreciate that people kit these up for off-roadin’, though. The Wilderness’ black plastic cladding is hella silly, but it’s like a factory off-road version and that’s fun.

I would be open to other vehicles, personally. And not just parsh!!! Okay, maybe a parsh. Live a little, and consider a fast jellybean in a fun color. Point being, there’s a bajillion little crossovers out there now, and a lot of them drive pretty well and don’t have the CVT you don’t like in this one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stef Schrader
SparkySparkington
SparkySparkington
1 year ago

My hypothesis is that eventually you’re going to wear your family down with the constant polling, which will yield an overall upward trend in your arguments’ success. If you time it right, you may be able to convert this into a particularly fun trade, so choose wisely!

Also… (pedant hat on) The Yokohama tires you mention are, perhaps counterintuitively, named Geolandar (officially stylized in all caps as GEOLANDAR), rather than Geolander.

(pedant hat off) Looking forward to reading more of these!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

Argument #1: it’s a better Forester

Surprised this got a 6/10 response. This is like saying, “it’s a better margarine.” Who cares, it still ain’t butter.

Argument #2: it’s a fun toy

An RC drone is a fun toy. A Forester is the toy equivalent of a Slinky. Once you’ve seen it come down the stairs once, or snapped it in your sister’s face a few times until she grabs the end and stretches it across the room so that it no longer retracts, the fun is over.

Argument #3: we can still call it Subie

What are you, five?

Argument #4: it’s easier to clean

This got an 8/10 response? Who’d you poll, just yourself? ‘Cause it sounded from your write up that you do all the cleaning, so why would your family care?

Anyway, a dead cat is easier to bathe than a live one, but where’s the fun in that?

My vote: two thumbs out, hitchhiking to some choice other than a new Forester.

Strangek
Strangek
1 year ago

LOL. According to the chart I think I have an 11th generation Forester, same color y todo. I would also like to trade mine in for something!

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
1 year ago

I have a crosstrek because it is a manual wagon. Not overly expensive either.

E P
E P
1 year ago

The CVT became the fatal reason why I won’t be getting another forester. Mine started crapping the bed last year and that thing is a sealed black box that only dealers are willing to touch, and their solution is always going to be “install a new one”. I decided I’m not gonna get a CVT again unless forced to in some strange hostage situation.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago
Reply to  E P

We also had our CVT replaced at 20k miles, which is abysmal. Hopefully this new one lasts, but I am also out on CVTs and won’t be buying another car with one if I don’t have to. At least Subaru has stood behind their crappy CVT and extended the warranty to 100k on it.

Stacks
Stacks
1 year ago

I enjoy this series, so I hope you keep failing forever, Matt.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 year ago
Reply to  Stacks

I do to, as I think it’s very similar to how a lot of us think about cars if we’re honest with ourselves. I’d love to constantly replace to experience all the damn cars if I could. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years going through these thought exercises, even though I know the outcome is likely to be “uhhhh you’re keeping your car bud”.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
1 year ago

Or here me out. What’s better then one old BMW. Two clapped BMWs. Really three clapped BMWs is the adequate amount to reliably get you most places. And sure taking a ZHP up to Killington in February, you might slid into a ditch or into a moose. That doesn’t matter when you’re a clapped BMW collector. That’s the state of Vermonts BMW now! Just ski back home, it’s probably downhill. Get in your other new to you e46 with every warning light blasting and continue your journey.

Brandt S
Brandt S
1 year ago

Subaru: the company with either the laziest or worst designers of all companies. Either they make the car worse or don’t change it at all. Pick one. For me the Outback looked best in maybe 2011 or so before the CVT era. It’s been pretty much a slow decent into unpainted plastic cladding more and more of the car ever since. Same with the Forester.

Jdoubledub
Jdoubledub
1 year ago
Reply to  Brandt S

2010 was the debut of the CVT, but prior to that you had head gasket issues with your traditional auto gearbox so not really sure that’d be an improvement lol

Brandt S
Brandt S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jdoubledub

Haha, so I guess I meant 2009. It LOOKED better because it looked like a wagon. I had a Legacy from 2013 with the CVT and it was utter garbage.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 year ago

How in the world do you stand the steering center dead spot? Totally serious question. I cannot tolerate my mom’s Forester for that reason. And when she drives, she is constantly twitching the steering wheel without realizing it in order to get some feel back. As a passenger, your head is getting constantly tossed because of it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Crank Shaft
Marc Miller
Marc Miller
1 year ago

So where did this “test” Subie come from?

Chris Nolan
Chris Nolan
1 year ago

Today I learned that my wife’s forester isn’t the only one to shudder a bit accelerating at low speeds. That makes me feel better.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Nolan

My wife’s Outback does that sometimes too.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Nolan

I have noticed this phenomenon on many different CVT equipped cars. I have felt this stutter on Toyotas and Nissans as well.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
1 year ago

Yo, the state of Connecticut? Comparing it to Decaf, or a Tuesday??? Them be fighting words my friend.

JT4Ever
JT4Ever
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

My wife’s Family is from Connecticut. Fun Fact #1: It’s known as the Nutmeg State. Fun Fact #2: you can call CT residents Nutmeggers. Fun Fact#3: they HATE being called Nutmeggers.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  JT4Ever

I had to look: seems it’s known as the nutmeg state because the early (European, one assumes) inhabitants were so shrewd and industrious that they could make a living selling wooden nutmegs.
Sounds like they’re being called con men

Last edited 1 year ago by TOSSABL
JerryLH3
JerryLH3
1 year ago

I spent approximately five hours in Connecticut last October. Bonchon was great, I don’t have those in Florida.

8/10, would go back (both to Bonchon and the state).

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