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  #1  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 12:56 AM
Jason Jason is offline
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Default Newbie Advice Please - Forester XT, Outback or Prado

Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to give me your opinions. I'm looking for a vehicle later this year and was looking for some real world advice on the capabilities of the current generation Outback & Forester XT. In specific beach use here in Australia.

Budget:
Up to about $35K but for the right car I'd spend more, I'm happy to spend less than that if for example a previous generation used vehicle is more capable and reliable than a newer generation vehicle. $35K will buy me a nice Forester XT Premium or a nice Outback Gen 5 6 cylinder perhaps around 4 years old or even a little newer. Whereas I'm looking at V6 Prados & Pajeros that are 8 - 10 years old for my budget.

What do I want it for:
Primarily a daily driver, (I also have a classic Mercedes) I'd like a vehicle that can handle some beach work at places like Fraser Island, Double Island Point and Moreton Island here in Queensland. This is something I'd only do maybe two or three time a year and would always be with for lack of a better word "real 4x4's" so recovery from larger vehicles with experienced off road drivers would always be close by. We'd like to use it to go camping and perhaps tow a small trailer or even at some stage a light camper trailer, this would be mostly on road to main stream campgrounds and generally not off road. Other than that it will be like many city based SUV's and rarely venture off normal roads.
I would want to fit underbody protection of some kind and I've seen a few videos on what's out there. I don't want to modify or lift the vehicle at all. If I bought a Forester XT I'd consider a second set of wheels and tyres that are more suited to off road or beach use if that's what was recommended and simply change them out when I plan on being adventurous.
My off road experience is very minimal
I'm only interested in petrol as I don't want the hassles of modern diesels with injectors, high pressure fuel pumps, sensitive fuel filters and the dreaded DPF.

Advice I'm seeking:
- Is a Subaru as capable as a traditional 4x4 like a Prado for beach work? I know there's not much difference in ground clearance between a Forester and a Prado.
- Which is best suited to off roading, the Forester XT or the Outback?
- In regard to the Forester is the XT is it OK for off roading or is it more suited to being a semi performance orientated road based SUV or should I just save money and go for the 2.5 non turbo? Are there fragile components on the XT associated with the turbo or suspension that do not like sand or salt water?
- In regard to the outback is the 6 cylinder worth the extra cash or is there minimal real world difference between the 6 and the 4?
- How does the CVT perform off road? Like most people I hear CVT and shudder how ever I've read good things about the Subaru CVT and my mind is open.
- What are the off road essentials (other than standard recovery gear) for the type of use I'm looking at to protect my vehicle.

I love the reliability factor of the Subaru product and it's off road reputation is legendary, however I'm less than impressed with their service costs and short service intervals. In saying that I own a W126 Mercedes so I'm no stranger when it comes to managing service and maintenance costs as long as they're not too big too often.

Thanks again for your time guys I really appreciate your thoughts, advice and opinions.

Jason
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  #2  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 02:18 AM
SquiresSquire SquiresSquire is offline
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Quote:
- Is a Subaru as capable as a traditional 4x4 like a Prado for beach work? I know there's not much difference in ground clearance between a Forester and a Prado.
A Subaru is more capable then a Prado or Pajero for beach work, as they are typical more lighter, and the AWD system is one of the best. Make sure to swap out the stock plastic sump guard with a metal one before doing much beach work.

Quote:
- Which is best suited to off roading, the Forester XT or the Outback?
Tomatoes, tomatos, they're about the same. Depends whether you want more features and cargo space (Outback) or slightly less cargo space, and better approach angles (Forester)

Quote:
- In regard to the Forester is the XT is it OK for off roading or is it more suited to being a semi performance orientated road based SUV or should I just save money and go for the 2.5 non turbo? Are there fragile components on the XT associated with the turbo or suspension that do not like sand or salt water?
The Turbos are quite good for the extra grunt. General consensus is a Auto XT to save burning up the clutch, as the Low Ranges are no longer available in the late models

Quote:
- What are the off road essentials (other than standard recovery gear) for the type of use I'm looking at to protect my vehicle.
Sumpguards are a must - Subaxtreme are the only manufacturers in Australia which produce a ADR & Airbag approved sumpguard.
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  #3  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 02:33 AM
MiddleAgeSubie MiddleAgeSubie is offline
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Hey Jason,

I cannot offer Australia-specific advice, but I have done as much as anyone in the US in a modern Outback and I now have a Prado-based Toyota specialist 4x4, so I can chime in.

You must understand that they are utterly different. Neither is better or worse on the whole, H6 Outbacks and FXTs are outstanding and so is Prado. But they excel in very different ways.

Think of it this way, Subaru for fun driving experience and unbeatable light-duty versatility as well as better fuel consumption. Toyota is zero fun to drive, but has unbeatable heavy-duty versatility. Both are extremely dependable when properly maintained.

You don't need the Prado, if you don't do serious rocks and/or carry heavy and/or voluminous loads.

- Is a Subaru as capable as a traditional 4x4 like a Prado for beach work? I know there's not much difference in ground clearance between a Forester and a Prado. Subaru rocks in sand. If you do want to stay stock, you will want to see what the clearance difference is, but 2009 Subarus are decent. Even stock, you will want skid plates.
- Which is best suited to off roading, the Forester XT or the Outback?
It pains me to say it, but the FXT-totally. Why? Angles. The OB's bumpers are hopeless, lift or not. I had about 22.5-23 deg approach angle with a total of 2.5" lift. Ugh.
- In regard to the Forester is the XT is it OK for off roading or is it more suited to being a semi performance orientated road based SUV or should I just save money and go for the 2.5 non turbo? Are there fragile components on the XT associated with the turbo or suspension that do not like sand or salt water? XT for the win, always.
- In regard to the outback is the 6 cylinder worth the extra cash or is there minimal real world difference between the 6 and the 4? Totally worth the extra cash. My H6 lasted 5+ years with me. A 4 cyl would have lasted 1. I have driven a number of H4s of the same generation. Better Prado at that point.
- How does the CVT perform off road? Like most people I hear CVT and shudder how ever I've read good things about the Subaru CVT and my mind is open. A close friend has had 2 with CVT. You WILL have overheating issues on moderate climbs (inexperienced folks will find those climbs scary, so there is that). Presumably something to ask others about for beach. But the CVT in the FXT performs great. It is really fun to drive.


It is true that Toyota has twice fewer service intervals, but since you will be going offroad, you will want to change your fluids more often anyway. As for spark plugs, the FXT should be easy. The H6 Outback...not easy!

There really is no way to go wrong with a choice involving FXT, H6OB, and Prado. They are very different, though, so choose wisely. I was very conservative in my estimates as to what I want to drive and what we would be carrying, so my Outback purchase, while spot on back then, turned out to be the wrong choice in the longer term. Otoh, there are plenty of people in the US with Prado-based 4Runners like mine that really only need a Subaru.

EDIT: the Outback will be a lot more comfortable than a Forester on long drives and some folks never get used to the Forester seats. It also has a deeper cargo area vs a taller one in the Foz.

If you are going to err, err on the Subaru side: cannot go wrong with FXT or H6OB but you can easily overshoot with Prado. The FXT vs H6 question is much tougher, it really depends on one's specific wants, needs, and terrain. If you do lots of highway miles and fast tracks, Outback. If your out of town trips are mostly offroad trips in rougher terrain, Forester. In between, it gets really hard to decide.
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Last edited by MiddleAgeSubie; 23rd April 2018 at 03:05 AM.
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  #4  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 03:04 AM
Jason Jason is offline
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Awesome and really helpful info thanks guys.
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  #5  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 06:24 AM
scalman scalman is offline
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As for prado if you wont go trails that need lockers and biger lifts mud tires then you dont need 4wd prado. But it would go where subarus wont. If i would be living in australia i would go bigger with prado maybe tow trailer and such. But if you realy never will want go to harder trails there then you dont need prado.
Myself i never listen to someone words only, i would watch videos how those subarus and prados do trails do offroad andnfrom that i would decide for myself.
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  #6  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 06:46 AM
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Ratbag Ratbag is offline
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I've towed a two tonne horse float (including horses) almost everywhere with my somewhat modified 1968 Landcruiser.

For almost everything else, I would prefer my Forester ...

I take care that I don't roll it into a ditch. This is something that my Landcruiser would recover from better ...
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  #7  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 08:14 AM
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havachat havachat is offline
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You can drive an Outback on sand but the approach and departure angles can cause major issues. An Outback is an excellent touring vehicle. The Foz is for off-road. The non turbo would be my preference. A big 4x4 is good for towing I used to have one for that purpose!
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  #8  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 09:08 AM
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Ratbag Ratbag is offline
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HC, my one disagreement with your conclusions is that I find my 2006 n/a Forester a very comfortable touring car. At least as good as my Impreza was, or our Camry.

Even with my bad back and osteoarthritis problems, I find the Forester seats excellent. Mind, I do fit high quality sheep skin covers to all our cars. These dramatically improve the shock absorbing quality of the seats for me. I also have quite different driving positions around town and on the open road.
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  #9  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 10:35 AM
scalman scalman is offline
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Well i sat in 3rd gen forester and in 2nd gen outback and seats with all interior on forry i didint liked much vs outback. Bu then i love that 80-90 style more . still seats was way better in outback. I think depends on person height and weight that could be diff opinions.
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  #10  
Unread 23rd April 2018, 08:24 PM
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havachat havachat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
(I also have a classic Mercedes)
which Mercedes do you have?
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