Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Subaru Forester

Bubbles and I were researching the right vehicle that suits to our lifestyle and needs here in The Nation's Capital. Of course, there are a lot of things to consider in buying a new car, and for us, these are the most important:
1. Space - Since we will be expecting visitors from the Philippines, we need a big space for luggages and, possibly, balikbayan boxes with all Filipino goodies! :) This means that we need compartment space, thus we decided to go for an SUV.
2. Fuel efficiency - Despite considering an SUV, which normally consumes more gas than sedans, we are looking at a Sport Utility Vehicle with better fuel economy than luxury gas-guzzlers
3. Road Safety - In a four-season state like Virginia, there comes a time when blizzards strike, so we need a vehicle that can withstand inclement weather like 6-8 inches of snow.
4. Price - There are plenty of SUVs to choose from and of course we consider the best value for money.
5. Comfort - We want a vehicle that is warm in the cold winter and cool in the warm summer. Along with good baggage space, passenger space should also be good.

I did a lot of web browsing and reading, I even read the Special Edition of Consumer Reports Best Cars. Based on most websites, and even friends we talked with here, we needed to narrow down our choices to at most 5. So that's just what we did. From a flurry of at least 10 small SUVs, we narrowed down to 5 models: Kia Sorento, Jeep Liberty, Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav-4, and Subaru Forester. With the help of some friends, we took a look at these cars in the nearest dealers, compared prices and features, even compared agents and sellers. From the 5, we further narrowed it to three: The Forester, the CR-V and the RAV-4. Here is what car critics said about these three (based on Consumer Reports Magazine):

The Good:
Transmission, handling, braking, rear seat, controls, access, reliability
The Bad:
Road Noise

The Good:
Agility, fuel economy, rear-seat room, access, controls, reliability
The Bad:
Thigh support for tall drivers (ahem!), side-hinged tailgate requires lots of room to open

The Good:
Fuel economy, ride, handling, rear seat, visibility, driving position, controls, access, crash-test results, reliability
The Bad:
Driver's seat lumbar support

From the reviews, it is a three-way tie among our three choices. This means that we needed to resort to another consideration, the price. Just by comparing prices online, it seems that the RAV4 is the priciest of the three, followed by CR-V, then the Forester.

What was the tipping point in choosing the right ride? I don't really have a very clear idea. Going to the Subaru dealer just felt right, and the agent we talked with was a kababayan. With this, it seems like the Forester became the runaway winner. Of course because he was a kababayan, he gave us the best deal for the Forester.

Looking at it on a more serious note, we did consider the Forester for several reasons:
1. The Forester offers the All-wheel drive (AWD) at all trims, even the base product. The base product for the two other brands give a front wheel drive at base.
2. The Forester seems to give more of the needed baggage space. It felt more roomy inside
3. The Forester was given excellent, if not the highest remarks among small SUVs
4. It seemed that the Forested gives the greatest value for money.

After much consideration, scrutiny, and prayers, we decided to purchase the 2011 Subaru Forester 2.5x Premium, with all weather package. The all-weather package offers heated seats, wiper deicers, automatic seats, and all-weather tires and mats.

With these features, plus excellent service from the guys in Subaru, we were truly satisfied.

Automatic Transmission
Automatic light-adjustment mirrors, compass. And of course, a rosary for guidance and protection
Dash Board
Metallic Gray

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