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2010 Subaru Forester Questions...from China

Hi y’all - I guess this is CarTalk?s first ? I?m posting from Shanghai, China!

I just bought a 2010 Subaru Forester 2.0XT 4Automatic (yeah, Subaru sells the 2.0 L models outside of North America) in early May to welcome our first born (who is 100 days old today, btw) and have several questions about the car.

- Mileage: 2,600km

- Driving environment: daily downtown commute (think NYC-type traffic)

1) When in D, after releasing the break and slightly stepping on the gas, there is this ?crankiness? feel, it?s as if for a sec, the transmission computer can?t decide whether it?s the 1st and 2nd gear that it should operate in, and the vehicle sometimes accelerates and decelerates abruptly (for very short period/distance) ? now I did do something against the manual and common sense, which is that before 1,600km, when I had to overtake a car, I accelerated really aggressively and the engine reached 4,000-5,000 rpm once or twice (manual says no 4,000 rpm or more before first 1,600km). Not sure if that caused the stiffness in the transmission and whether the first maintenance (due when reaching 5,000km) will solve that?

2) Related to 1), last night, I had to do some ?emergency acceleration? again and the engine reached 7,000-8,000 rpm at one point ? I banged my head hard against the wall afterwards real hard ? would one instances like that damage the engine or transmission???

Yeah, 2.0L+AWD pulling a 2 ton vehicle ? a bit sluggish ? should have gone for the 2.5L model

3) I know that when driving down-slope, you put the car to the 2nd gear or ?L? or sth in a ?traditional automatic transmission? (where D, 3, 2, 1/L is physically fixated), but what about newer type of transmissions on European and Asian cars like the Subaru 4AT, where you can only use the +/- to switch gears (in manual mode) ? should I leave it in D or manually switch it to 2nd when driving downhill?

4) On fuel efficiency ? Shanghai has extreme climate so we need to use the A/C in both summer and winter a lot. These days, I manually switch the A/C on and off very frequently (e.g., I turn off the A/C when accelerating, or climbing up the elevated highway ramps, etc.) ? does that ultimately help improve fuel efficiency, or am I doing myself a disservice since the process of starting the A/C compressor consumes more energy than when it?s running constantly?



Good luck Joe, with both the kid and the car…They are BOTH going to need it…

On 4) it does nothing to turn off AC when accelerating/climbing hills. If you press the accelerator enough your vehicle computer senses this and disables the compressor temporarily.

Just leave the car in drive. Don’t worry about high rpm on one or two occasions during suggested NOT required break in for first 1000 miles.

It is a good thing you have the 2.0L engine vs 2.5L. The 2.0L has been incredibly reliable throughout the world and devoid of head gasket issues plaguing Subaru for at least 8 years.