Subaru Forester


Am considering getting a new Subaru Forester, and am debating on whether or not to get the 2013, or wait until the next generation 2014 comes out. I believe it will be out in late March…which isn’t too far away. Write-ups I’ve seen on the 2014 are favorable in that the design hasn’t changed much, the interior is better, the cargo space and back seats are larger and the gas mileage is better.My only concern or question is about the CVT. Should this be a deal breaker for the 2014?
I have driven the Honda CRV , the Toyota Rav4, the Ford Escape and not comfortable in any of those cars…I know the Honda and Toyota have stellar reputations, but I just don’t care for them. Plus, the visibility is pitiful in those cars!! The Subaru has a huge amount of ‘green house’…and it sits up high and is comfortable. Alrighty. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

You could wait for the 2014 models to come out and test drive them AND the 2013 still on the lot. If both don’t seem all that different, you should be able to get a better deal on the 2013 still on the lot than a 2014.

Don’t feel bad about not liking Honda or Toyota, not everyone does. They’re just the go-to brands for recommendations.

The CVT has proven to be reliable enough to be expanded in more of Subaru lines. Theoretically, with fewer moving parts and less maintenance, it should be a better trans., potentially. But, like @bscar2, I would wait till the 2014 models come out and try out both they and the 2013 holdovers. See which you like best. The CVT has resulted in substantially better gas mileage then the previous auto, so IMO, it would be worth a look.

@dagosa not too many years ago the CVT was NOT deemed to be very reliable. In fact, many car manufacturers moved away from them in favor of “regular” automatic transmissions.

CVTs vary a bit by construction depending on the vehicles they’re fitted in so it’s difficult to say that all of them are bad, all are good, etc.
Sometimes it can be a good idea to hold off on buying the intro model of anything and adopt a wait and see attitude as to whether problems start cropping up.

My oldest son has a 2007 Dodge Caliber with a CVT that has around 75 or 80k miles on it. So far, the entire vehicle including the CVT has been flawless but if the CVT goes belly-up at 100k opinions will probably go downhill quickly… :wink:

Buying a 2013 at deep discount when the 2014 comes out is a brilliant idea.
I tried that with the Toyota Highlander, but did not work. The dealers were willing to give more discounts on the 2013 than the leftover 2012’s. Could not figure what the incentive model was. Ended up with a Mazda!

You are right. But that was then and… Subaru has consistently ranked among the top makers in overall reliability. They have had the CVT in the Impreza and have now expanded it to other models. Tha CVT has been a steady performer Nissan as well . So I agree with @ok4450. If you buy a model with the CVT from a reputable manufacturer now and not an early DAF, chances are, it’s just as reliable as the rest of the car.
Time will tell. IMO, when you see them on a Camry or Accord, you know they have arrived, big time. Wait, I believe the 2013 Accord offers one !

@dagosa I’m not talking about a DAF. I’m talking about cars from just 10 years ago, or even more recently. That’s pretty recent, as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t think anyone argues here that CVTs are not reliable. The problem is that out of warranty no one can fix one, so you have to get a factory rebuilt unit, if available. That’s expensive.

If they were very DURABLE as well, like differentials or manual gear boxes, I would not hesitate to buy one. The durability is yet to be proven. It’s a similar situation like the battery in a Prius. At least it has a very long warranty.

My aunt in Holland had one of those DAF cars with the rubber belt CVTs, similar to those on a snowmobile. It was quite troublesome and not very durable.

I grew up in the Netherlands and remember those 60’s DAFs. Very ugly little cars.
There was a rhyme in Holland back then that said “Elke maf rijdt een DAF” meaning 'every goofball drives a DAF". It was considered an old people’s car but it actualy had racing provenance, believe it or not:

One side benefit of the DAF CVT was that one could drive those things as fast in reverse as in forward so they used to have National Annual Reverse Races in the Netherlands - all DAFs, of course. It used to be narrated by this very funny quick witted Dutch comedian so it was fun to watch but probably wicked dangerous to do.

Anyway, CVT is a good idea but one would hope they’ve improved on it by now. DAF was 30-40 years ago. Subary might have perfected it. Time will tell.

is the CVT the only option for the 2014 Forester, I thought I saw some dealers with the 4 speed automatic transmission still available on the 2014??

Pretty sure the 2014 only comes with a manual or the CVT. As an all-new vehicle, they wouldn’t overlap transmissions.

I looked on Edmunds and the Subaru site and they say only the manual and CVT are available.

Even though Subaru is a great manufacturer, should you ever be a first adopter with a new model?



First model year for car, transmission engine means it was “rushed” into production to keep up with/beat the competion

Manufacturer might still be working out bugs and glitches

They feel it’s more important to have something “out there” rather than to hold back while perfecting it.

Over time, as long as we have ICE cars, you will see more and more CVTs. Subaru and Honda, two of the more reliable car makers offer them. To be blunt, I would not buy one from some manufacturers but would from Subaru and Honda. The cvt has been successfully used by Subaru In other models but with the same drive train for several years. It’s not a Vega experiment. Subaru, unlike GM or Ford, cannot afford to absorb a model with poor reliability. The company is too small and it uses too few variations of the same drive train to get away with it.
It’s not a new drive train.

Hey, you can’t go wrong with a Forester! Consumer Reports’ best rated small SUV and the only 5 star crash test rating? It’s a no brainer! Reliable? Ha! I have 239,000 on my 1999 and it uses no oil, original starter and alternator! My daughter’s 2002 has 200,000 and the same! My son’s 2005 has 159,000 and the same! Ha! We know and we love 'em!


Glad to hear it.

But there are plenty of first year products that aren’t so reliable

My comments were really about first year reliability, not so much about the Forester

I would prefer to have the last year or two of a car, rather than the first. The bugs will have gotten worked out by then, unless it was a horrendous POS to begin with

I am looking at a base model 2014 subaru forester that has no roof rack. There are four points on the roof that the dealer says two crossbars could attach to. Anyone know about that?

As far as the 2014 Forester is concerned, it uses the same 2.5 L motor with a Cvt , a combination first introduced in 2009 with the 2010 models in the Legacy. The drive train is not a first year product. It’s just the first year in the Forester. So, we are going into the fifth year with no more problems then the reliable auto in all other Subarus made. Some of them have to be well over 150k and still no overt indication of unusual failure rates.