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2018 Forester or Outback? Both have 8.7" ground clearance...

34 posts in this topic

I have to order a new fleet vehicle and am leaning toward the Forester due to the fact that it only comes with strong rails, so I can use my Thule bars and rig it any way I want.  I do like the larger rear cargo of the Outback but dislike their proprietary folding crossbar tech.  I think it's good for most people, but not me.    Given the 8.7" of ground clearance and paddle-shifting capabilities, I may get a 4x4 permit this year.

 

Good idea or bad idea?  I aim to drop the psi to 10-12 and have all the requisite tools and commodes, etc..  It will be used mainly to transport kayaks, SUPs, and bikes.  I've read some of the Forester owners' posts on the sand and wanted to hear form the Outback drivers too.

 

Thanks guys!

 

Stak

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While I currently have a 2017 Forester, my beach vehicle is a 2010 4Runner.  Had a 2013 Outback, didn't like the CVT drivetrain and I've been buying/driving Subaru's since 1973.  They were all manual trans and got better gas mileage than the auto trans Outback IMO.  Traded the Outback after about a year for a used 4Runner.  The Forester is the Premium model with a 6 speed manual.  More fun to drive, even though I'm old and retired, and gets ~31 mpg on the local roads.  Lots of Oubacks on IBSP along with many other AWD vehicles.  If this is a lease you're only stuck with your decision for a few years, not forever.        

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I have a 2015 Outback, my beach vehicle, have had no problems on the beach. Besides the extra room in rear cargo, lots more room in passenger area as well ( drove a Forester as a loaner and noticed right away the difference.) As far as air down, I have never dropped below 15 psi, more than adequate. Pretty sure the Outback accepts Thule bars 

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Either should handle the beach fine, though you shouldn't need to go that low on tire pressure. 20 psi was the sweet spot on my 17 forester in soft sand. Try 20 and see if it's laboring, and if so, 15 should be plenty. Remember to turn off vdc too.

 

As far as a choice between the two, I went with the forester since it was about 3k cheaper and shorter for better fit in my garage. V6 on the outback would have been nice, but the 2.5 on the forester is surprisingly quick.

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Thanks guys. I ordered the Forester since I really want to mount my Thule Hullavator on the roof.  I would have to buy all new Thule Podium mounts and the distance between the crossbars would be too short for my liking.  I will install a 2" hitch for my platform bike rack to free up the roof for the kayak and rod rack.  See you on the beach!

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Just curious, what’s wrong with the Outback factory racks? I carry my Revo deck down with my 16’ Tarpon in a ‘J’ on them all the time, long distances. I’ll give you that they are too narrow for my 12’ jon boat, but perfect for the two yaks.

Edited by Jason B

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We have a '17 Forester. Nice lil vehicle surprisingly fast with the 2.5 4 cyl  and the CVT transmission. Very easy to change the oil, filter right on top. 

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If I see one more Subaru stuck on the beach I am going to hurl... Please take my advise if your going to do beach driving and get a 4x4 which a Subaru is not.  Good car though.. I own one.....

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4 hours ago, Billwetzel said:

If I see one more Subaru stuck on the beach I am going to hurl... Please take my advise if your going to do beach driving and get a 4x4 which a Subaru is not.  Good car though.. I own one.....

Have to disagree with you on this one. A properly aired down Subaru can hold its own in sand. Plenty out there to support this.

 

0929171101.thumb.jpg.08a0def0df1c36489a2b4ce8ded5c9a9.jpg1003171012.thumb.jpg.7046188fdd05b11d282eefaa7c000476.jpg

 

 

Edited by steve maranto
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Seen plenty of them stuck.. they seem OK until you hit some really soft sand. I own a forester and would not take it on the sand especially some of the soft sand spots I hit. I remember just last fall I guy and his girl getting stuck in an outback on the south fork. They were aired down but buried. My 4x4 even struggles through that part if the beach. My point? If you have a fairly hard sand beach and don't plan on taking any where else you are probably fine. But don't trust it in soft sand. 

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What state are you in?  I'd be wary on some of the LI beaches.  Sometimes theyre very nice and easy to drive on and other times really chewed up.  The 8.7" ground clearance can be misleading.  As far as i know, they measure from the lowest spot on the vehicle.  So while my truck is listed at 9" or so, thats from where the lowest spot of my differential dips down.  The frame and most other components are much higher. Closer to 16" I believe. Whereas on subaru the ground clearance is pretty much to the frame.  I had a forester before my truck and absolutely loved it.  Great vehicle and in 7 years of ownership had no mechanical problems.  Wish I could have kept it and bought the truck.

 

Just take it easy and try to go with someone thats experienced with a 4x4 in case it hits fan.

Edited by mitchellgoosen
mispelling

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I gotta agree with Bill here but there is an IF...

 

IF you are hardcore hitting the beach, then get a 4WD with some solid clearance. Real deep ruts and sand as mentioned above - easy to get buried. Seen it on Long Island even with 4wd vehicles that have lower ground clearance and aired down. Jammed up a single lane for hours.

 

IF you are driving on flat beach like shown in the picture - most AWD are fine. Get it, have fun, but know your limits.

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I can only speak to my experience on the Delmarva beaches which was overwhelmingly positive.  Near the ramps is quite rutted

0928171833_HDR.thumb.jpg.9e2347b2f4539da2dbd76ba9fd77e61c.jpg

 

but the people who didn't air down enough causing those deep ruts didn't make it too far down the beach. Within less than a mile, things flatten out nicely. Keep in mind the forester weighs significantly less than most trucks and therefore floats right over the soft sand when aired down. Nevertheless, good advice from other posters to know the vehicle's limits.

 

To the OP, make sure to upgrade the spare donut to a full size tire and update the thread once you have a chance to get out on the beach.

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How do they ride with the cargo carrier on the back .   How do you guys carry your yaks on them.  I am getting a 2'' receiver on my Forrester so I can pull my 13' Whaler to the ramp.  But I have to say I miss my 4WD Tacoma. 

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