2018 Subaru Forester Premium 11mo Review

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5,418
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KC
I purchased this Fozzie the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend last year. It snowed 12" two days later. Great sign of things to come! I waited until I had experienced 4 seasons before writing up a review as I wanted to be as complete as possible. The Vehicle: - 2018 Subaru Forester Premium w/ CVT - X-mode (not used, no comment) - Eyesight package (adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, backup collision monitoring) - Sunroof - Cloth seats - Cold Weather Package - Auto climate Control Pros: - The visibility in all directions is outstanding. I can't really compare it to anything else. Previous SUV was a 2007 Ford Escape which had nice sight-lines too but not as good. - AWD This is the first AWD vehicle I have ever owned. I really like it so far. Snow and ice have been no problem with the stock Yokohama G91 tires despite plenty of complaints on these tires. I didn't get outside in time to truly test it in 12" snow but I got a few runs in 6-8" snow and it was great. - Interior is really nice, comfortable and well thought out. I like how it is simple, clean and basic in appearance and function. All the materials seem durable and there are no creaks/rattles yet. I wish the upholstery was darker instead of this light gray as I have 3 kids who will stain anything. - Engine, the FB25 is a great engine. Very smooth and balanced. It got very quiet once I switched from 0W-20 to M1 5W30. It wasn't overly noisy before but definitely quieter/smoother after. This NA FB25 was why I felt I had to get a 2018. I didn't want the DI version. I knew the NA version was amazingly easy on oil and I wanted to keep this vehicle for a very long time. - Suspension is very good. It is responsible and comfortable without being mushy or soft. It seems to be a great compromise. I expected it to be firmer/harder which I usually prefer. - Climate Control - I never head auto climate control before. The wife's van has it but never in my vehicle. It has been great. It seems to do very well at holding temperature and using AC as needed or not needed. I never find myself fiddling with the fan speed, vent selection, etc. Auto keeps me happy. - Gauge cluster - the new colored cluster is much nicer than previous generations that were monochromatic. - Sunroof...This thing is massive. It feels like a convertible when you open it all the way. the kids really like it. I have never had a sunroof and I would never pick one out but this was the last 2018 on the lot when I went to buy so I didn't really have a choice. I didn't even notice it had a sunroof until I got in it to head home. - Adaptive Cruise - I thought I would hate this feature but I am addicted to it now. I have a lot of 2-line driving on my commute and the annoyance of having to match people's speed who don't know how to use cruise are gone! Commutes are so much more relaxing. - Eyesight...it works. I wish the system around the review mirror was less protruding into the cabin but I have learned to live with it. - Cargo room is great. no complaints. Bigger than my old Escape and better than any other SUV I looked at recently. - Rear seating is also great. 2 carseats and 3 kids fit fine in the back seat. There is lots of legroom for adults, too. - Heated Seats warm up very quickly. On high, with temps around 0F, the seats will feel warm within about 2-3 minutes. Cons: - No auto headlights. I really expected this to be a standard feature for a vehicle in this price range these days. - No always-on power ports for devices. You have to have a key turned on for any of the 12VDC power ports to work. - The information screen above the stereo changes every time you turn the cruise on. I have a specific screen I like to have up on the information screen and it is highly irritating when the cruise gets turned on for the first time each drive that it changes this info screen. I have to hit the button to change it back to the screen I want. I have no idea why subaru gives you the option to select and customize your info screen and then override it w/out any input from you. You can't even disable this from happening. - Stereo is nowhere near as good as what is in the Chrysler T&C. I'd like to improve it a bit down the road. Observations: - MPG - On my daily commute back and forth to work I average around 35MPG. It is around 33 MPG in the winter and 37MPG or so in the summer. Even when my wife drives it, will usually under up with hand calculated tank average around 30-31MPG. - CVT - The CVT works. I'm not a huge fan of it. I would prefer something like a DCT but I don't hate it either even though I was sure I would hate it. It never has any hunting issues. There is no droning. The CVT seems to be more responsive under partial throttle rather than full throttle. I feel like it accelerates better at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle. - No super long trips but for 1.5 hour trip it was very comfortable and returned 38 MPG round trip at 70 MPH. - No measurable oil consumption on 5k intervals using 0W-20. This is currently the first 10k OCI on M1 5W30 and too early to say anything. - Oil change via vacuum pump in dipstick tube was perfect. Pulling the drain plug after removing oil yielded one drop of oil that was from the end of the drain plug. With the filter located topside, oil changes are super easy and enjoyable.
 
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I have the 17 3.6 OB limited. Your experience sounds similar to mine. I'm at 65k and I originally purchased as a DD for my work and kids activities. The vanilla nature of the Suby just grows on you. The thing I liked the most was the tech in it JUST WORKKS! I've had no issues with any of the tech (lane departure, eyesight, adaptive cruise). I also figured whatever to the adaptive cruise and now I love it. I love the the 3.6 and am doing 10k OCI. CVT has grown on me. If she gets 150k-170k then I'll say I'm sold. I think you were wise to get your's before the only option was the 2.5 DI version you see now. I'm interested to hear your review on this peeve of mine. The feel of the interior in mine is solid but the accent trim is not as robust as it should be. Scratches easy for my liking. The faux wood trim looks good though. So far my only issue has been a driver seat wear/tear that should never have happened. I would like to see a better or should say more durable interior components.
 
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Originally Posted by Inked
Nice write-up. Any loss in MPG after switching to 5W-30?
Agreed. I am betting nope. My sister has the basic model, loves it…
 

Al

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19,168
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Elizabethtown, Pa
Nice writeup. I bought the '18 bc I wanted the Turbo. More than pleased with it. Not worried about the DI "problem" as I bought the 8 year 80K extended warranty. I will get rid of it then.
 

badtlc

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Originally Posted by BISCUT
I'm interested to hear your review on this peeve of mine. The feel of the interior in mine is solid but the accent trim is not as robust as it should be. Scratches easy for my liking. The faux wood trim looks good though. So far my only issue has been a driver seat wear/tear that should never have happened. I would like to see a better or should say more durable interior components.
I don't know how it compares to yours but all the materials feel robust in mine but I will say every forester I sat in before this had a much more cheap/basic feel than this one. This forester feels on par with all the other CUVs in its market. It was much nicer than I expected.
 

badtlc

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Originally Posted by Inked
Nice write-up. Any loss in MPG after switching to 5W-30?
Still too early to tell but so far, no change in MPG.
 

badtlc

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I forgot to add in the original post that I had read many say the AC seemed a bit undersized. I have had undersized ACs before and the Forester AC seems completely fine. 100F with high humidity and it performed well, IMO. I was very happy with the AC performance.
 
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Cincinnati
Badtlc: What vacuum pump did you use for your oil change? And does your dipstick tube have a "curve" to it like in our 2019 Outback 2.5L?
 
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good choice not getting DI + i believe the 18's on up have the long extended CVT warranty due to earlier ones having issues. put 4 SNOW tyres on it + it will stop as well as go safely in the snow as AWD does NOTHING when you are breaking!! good luck todays vehicles are $$$$ + sometimes problematic with all the added bells + whistles aka JUNK on them!! subies like jeeps have a good following of loyal owners. smart move going to a 5-30 oil saving wear for the long haul.
 
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Originally Posted by Inked
Nice write-up. Any loss in MPG after switching to 5W-30?
I'm under warranty and would never dream of running anything other than the 0w-20 Subaru tells me to (My receipts back that up wink ) but 5w-30 and 0w-40 definitely do not affect fuel economy.
 
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My son has a 17 or 18 Forester, not sure what year and a 2019 Highlander. According to him the new safety features are better in the Forester than the Highlander. He also loves the Forester in the snow.
 

badtlc

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Originally Posted by dkryan
Badtlc: What vacuum pump did you use for your oil change? And does your dipstick tube have a "curve" to it like in our 2019 Outback 2.5L?
It is a Pella 6000. And i'm not sure if it is exactly the same but yes, the dipstick tube has a curve about halfway in.
 

badtlc

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Originally Posted by Miller88
Are you concerned about warranty issues by going 10K when the owners manual says 6k?
Not really. I don't think any dealership would be capable of measuring oil viscosity and M1 isn't going to give anyone a reason to blame the oil.
 
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Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by badtlc
Originally Posted by Miller88
Are you concerned about warranty issues by going 10K when the owners manual says 6k?
Not really. I don't think any dealership would be capable of measuring oil viscosity and M1 isn't going to give anyone a reason to blame the oil.
Dealership will not do UOA, they will pull out sample and send it to lab that Subaru uses. Subaru's determination of OCI is based on performance of an engine. Mobil1 will tell you to fallow manufacturer recommendation not their recommendation. Oils behave differently in different engines. I would fallow what Subaru says, not what Mobil1 says. And Mobil1 will tell you same thing.
 
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Al

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Originally Posted by Miller88
Originally Posted by Inked
Nice write-up. Any loss in MPG after switching to 5W-30?
I'm under warranty and would never dream of running anything other than the 0w-20 Subaru tells me to (My receipts back that up wink ) but 5w-30 and 0w-40 definitely do not affect fuel economy.
I have checked it on My Spark and XT. It was around 3 percent as I recall. 5-30 is not going to affect warranty. Keep track of date and mileage. No requirement to do more. No written requirement to keep receipts
 
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The owners manual in my 2018 says that 5w-40 could be used, but must be changed to 0w-20 at the next oil change. So thin for winter and thick for summer? Again, my receipts are all for 0w-20 wink But , with that said, once I get close to the end of warranty and I can 100% be certain I don't have an oil burner, 10K miles on a 5w-30 or will be what I do in this car.
 
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