Would a Volvo owner be happy with a Subaru?

OK, I love my S60, but I'm not sure I can afford two of them. So the 2004 Subaru Forester Turbo has been intriguing. It seems to be a safety-conscious
design, with an interesting side airbag that doubles as a head protector, like a side air curtain; active headrest; and five-star crash test results.
I need: something reasonably economical, that can carry some extra stuff now and then, and occasionally go soft-roading. Have to make a decision by December, when the lease is up on the old car.
Any Volvo owners here who are also Subaru owners? Can a Volvo lover get by with a Subaru?
Thanks.
HW
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H. Whelply wrote:

They are fine, but I'm not a fan of turbos. If they have a non-turbo or bigger engine, get it instead.
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what about the wrx.....i am thinking of looking at that one (vs. a s60r) in anticipation of a new car...in 1 - 2rs from today....
some buddies told me to make sure i checked out the wrx turbo of 03 or 04...they all claim it is a sweet, fast sedan...4 door?......

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I work with a guy who has one, it's fast, that's for sure, seemed fairly comfy and well built, if I were one to buy a new car I'd look into them.
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The turbo in the top model Forester is somewhat detuned from that in the WRX, from what I've read; lower boost, by about three pounds or so. That's fine with me, since I'm well beyond my WRC days. But I like the idea of a vehicle about 300 lbs. lighter than my 2.4T having 23 more horsepower and (if memory serves) 17 more ft. lbs. torque, though at a bit over 3K RPM rather than 1800 or so as in the Volvo. The non-turbo Subaru 4 cyl. is only about 165 HP and about the same number ft. lbs. torque, as I recall. That would be hard to move down to since both current cars are in the 200 HP neighborhood.
HW

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From AutoWeek, July 7, 2003, p. 13: "The XT, a sport-minded edition of Subaru's second-generation crossover vehicle, uses the WRX's turbo four that makes 210 hp [OK, I had it at 220--my bad] in this installation. Whereas in the 300-hp STi the engine is tuned for near-supercar response off the line, the Forester is tuned for strong torque down low, meant for sold around-town performance."
On the Subaru site, it's indicated that the plain WRX sedan has 227 hp, 217 lb.-ft. torque, also more than the Forester. So, perhaps "tuned differently" is somewhat more accurate than "detuned," but the Forester is less powerful than the other cars mentioned. So is "detuned" really all that far off?!
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Well...I wasn't a Volvo owner, but I did own a new 2002 VW passat loaded. It was a $30 thousand dollar car, and very well built. I traded it for a 2003 Forester XS premium. I did this trade for a number of reasons:
1) The Forester was quite a bit less expensive ($22k). 2) Inexpsensive car with proven All Wheel Drive (which I need where I live).
We needed to do this for economic reasons as my wife is out of work and we needed to cut our monthly payments. Luckily, because the passat had low mileage, I only lost about 500 bucks in the trade. At first, it really killed me to get rid of the passat. I loved that car. But, I have now had the Forester for about a month now, I have come to LOVE it. I am having more fun driving this car, and it appears that it will be cheaper to own overall (oil changes are $23 at my dealer compared to $40 for the passat). I have been getting 28-30 miles per gallon consistenly despite the 21-26 it's rated at on the sticker (XT model is rated for less mpg). I say definitely check it out. Take a long test drive. It is VERY well built with no squeaks or rattles, is very practical but fun to drive car. Although not a "luxury" car like a Volvo or even loaded Passat, it holds its own very well. It's hard to compare a $20,000+ car to a car that costs over $30+ - but if you are a practical person its not that hard of a jump. If you are concerned about "status", you may find that the Forester is NOT for you. I love mine though, and wouldn't go back to my $30,000 passat at all. (I considered the S60 when buying my passat - nice car...high maintenace cost though).
Good luck - Dominic

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I'm glad someone responded with comments relevant to a recent model Subaru.
We intend to buy an AWD car next year and will choose from the soon to be released 2005 models of the Legacy GT and Passat. We might consider the V70 AWD but our experience with our 850 turbo has been negative.
For information on the Subaru take a look at: http://www.autoweek.com/search/search_display.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code rnews&content_code705625&Search_Type=STD&Search_ID10463&record! and http://www.subaru.co.jp/legacy/touringwagon/index.html
Word has it that it will come to the US with the same turbo motor as that available in the Forester.
Cheers,
Jim

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I considered Legacy GT also when looking at my passat. I felt passat was a better deal, with the "luxury feel" w/o luxury price! I liked volvo s60 too - but just a tad too much $$$ for me. The legacy GT was nice - but it didn't DO anything for me when I drove it. In other words...a pretty bland drive...but that was a couple years ago now too, and I understand they are breathing some new life into the model this year - so it would probably be worth a good look.
I don't regret my Forester purchase at all... just a note: The passat is 190 horsepower. Forester 165. Passat is a much heavier car. I feel the Forester (in 5 spd) compared to my Passat (auto) are pretty comparable when it comes to everyday driving needs. Forester feels sportier and more firmly planted to the ground though (AWD?).
Good luck on your purchase. Test drives are free....take them all for a few spins between now and then - you will have your mind made up by then if you do!
Dominic

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not too far back we owned both a '91 940T (my car) and a '96 legacy gt wagon (with the 2.5 liter engine)(my wife's car). after her death i drove both.
1) the volvo is infinitely more comfortable and has a much better driver position.
2) the subaru was and is underpowered. it was an excellent driving machine, possible better than the volvo, but definitely underpowered. i took a 3,000 mile trip in it, much of it in mountain driving, and would have much preferred the volvo for that trip.
when i got rid of both of them, i tried the forester, but for comfort reasons plus i chose another '91 940T (getting into a rut, aren't i). the forester is just as underpowered (same engine), somewhat better seating arrangement for the driver.
the subaru was very well made, much better reliability than any volvo i have owned - maintenance was minimal. but since i value the driving experience, and comfort i would not get another subaru till they get a bit more space in them, and either a turbo or the very expensive six cylinder engine.
i have had: '66 240, '72 142, '73 145 '89 240 wagon, and two different '91 940Ts.
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On Thu, 3 Jul 2003 22:41:11 -0700, H. Whelply ( snipped-for-privacy@cox.net) wrote:

The ex and I owned a '95 Subaru Impreza Outback and a '90 Volvo 760 Turbo. The Volvo was definitely a better vehicle to drive, but the Subaru wasn't bad. A little under-powered, and ride felt a little soft. On the other hand, I liked the all wheel drive handling, especially in heavy snow.
I preferred the Volvo, and our negotiations let me keep it. Traded it in a while ago for a newer 850 that I don't like as much.
Bev
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In '95, our daughter was given her mom's 240 wagon as a college grad gift promised earlier. We had decided that any future purchase would be based on our Sierra winters, so would be AWD - though *not* truck-based (SUV). In '95 this left a field of 1, here in Reno, a Subaru Legacy - oh, yes, an automatic was also required which my choice (Audi) didn't include at that time.
As others have suggested, the power at that time was short, so runs over Donner Summit (7,300') required use of 3rd gear to maintain a steady 70. This also meant 4,000rpm, which necessitated new cam seals (warranty). Comfort OK; general fit & finish OK, though not to Volvo standards.
I subsequently got a '98 V70XC as soon as they became available, but the wife happily drove her Subaru until an '02 S60AWD moved into my side of the garage and she inherited the V70XC.
The Subaru met every weather-related expectation handily. Performance was all that could be expected from its 135-140hp, but a turbo (not then available) would have been welcome. Low maintenance costs - I do oil and other maintenance on "my" cars, but the Subaru went to the Dealer for its service requirements, as they were very reasonably priced. Overall, we felt good enough about the Subaru to pass it along to our son, who was in need of a "civilized" vehicle to use when his van wouldn't do.
Subaru was fine, but aren't Volvo-level. Basically, you get what you pay for - the Subaru was fine at $20K in '95, but not up to the '98 V70XC at about $37K or the '02 S60AWD at about the same.
bob noble Reno, NV, USA
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After owning many Volvos I bought a '90 Legacy LS because I needed AWD and Volvo didn't have it at the time. The Legacy was cheap and well appointed. At 90,000 miles the AWD/transmission failed and had to be replaced. Before that the drivers door lock, the drivers sun visor, the air conditioner, and many other items had failed. There is much rust and the tail gate had to be replaced because it rusted out. We retired the Subaru after 4 years and replaced it with a Volvo 850 which we put 175,000 miles on and sold for $6,000. We still have the Sabaru but only drive it in the winter when we need AWD. It is worthless on the used car market. That should tell you something.
A Volvo is an investment.
A Subaru is an expense.
The choice is up to you.
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