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Discussion Starter #1
Although mentioned in several places, I did not find a specific thread that compares MDX to Subaru Outback or Forrester.

I sold my '96 Subaru to get MDX. I worshiped that car. I loved every moment of owning it except it being TOO SMALL both for me personally and for my family's needs. Every now and then I see it on the street, since I sold it to a neighbor (kind-of), and my heart skips a beat.:(

Subaru "influence" was one of the major reasons I waited for and shelled extra $$ for Acura rather than getting an Odyssey.

I honestly do not think there is a lot of common grounds between MDX and Subaru to compare these cars, but there is one particular area of interest to me - inclement weather handling.

Many of you remember (and those of who don't - do a search, I am not repeating for the fear of being attacked again and again :)) that I was quite critical of MDX during last winter as it did not go through certain conditions as reliably as that Subaru.

So, with a new winter season coming, I would like to hear some additional comments. I know that some of you either owned Subarus and replaced them with MDX, or ( remery!!!) currently own both vehicles.

I really do not intend this thread to turn into another "VTM4 rules!!!" rallying ground or, "Acura sucks - go get ML instead" trolling. Just objective opinions from people who like (love) their MDX and have high respect (deservingly so!!!) for their Subaru.

Thanks.

P.S. If only they made a Subaru "MDX" :(
 

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vip9 said:
I really do not intend this thread to turn into another "VTM4 rules!!!" rallying ground or, "Acura sucks - go get ML instead" trolling.
Damn :p

Vip, my sis 'n law has a Forester and it's very nice. I got to drive it a couple of times last Xmas and I can say it handles winter conditions with aplomb. Unfortunately I was in Orlando at the time so I'm sure that doesn't help you much :)
 

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We've got both an Outback and an MDX, love 'em both! (see sig). Went to buy a used Outback in late 2000, but there were enough design changes between 1999 and 2000 that we went with the newer model. It's a real road-hugger, and probably one of the most sure-footed cars we've had. (Oh yeah, and they are real winters up here). We'd buy another one of these in a heartbeat.

We did look at the Forester before I got wind of the MDX; the bottom line was that the Outback was just nicer and actually has more interior room.

Just because of the lower center of gravity, the Outback is probably more stable on curves than the X, but this is really an apples & oranges kind of comparion. Best to have one of each! :D:D
 

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I had an automatic Subaru Outback.

I was going to buy a Subaru VDC until I saw the MDX for 3 Grand more.

I bought the MDX over the VDC mainly because of more room, the seats are higher off the floor.

The MDX's 4 wheel drive system is not as transparent. The shift from front wheel to rear wheel is perceivable ie the front wheels can chirp before the torque is transfered th the rear. This never happened with the Subaru. Also the MDX on slippery corners is not as stable in part due to its center of gravity but also due to the slow torque transfer and the crap Integrity tires.

I am not bashing the MDX as it is a far more comfortable but mearly pointing out the deficiency it the 4X drive system as compared to the Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I know there is another Subaru in my driving future... I cannot say the same about Acura. Not that I do not like MDX - quite the contrary. And I am sure that in the years to come, if MDX is as reliable as Subaru was (hopefully, I'll forget about all 1st MY problems and a dozen or so trips to a dealer :(), I will like it more and more.

But as it stands right now, Acura will be the last one on my list if I need another car and Subaru makes a similar one.

To echo what Starview said in his post (w/o going into technical details) in all 5 years of owning Subaru, I NEVER had a wheel spin nor fishtailing! The only time I had a "difficulty" was during a blizzard of '96 (in NYC) when my driveway got about 1' to 2' of snow so that it almost reached a radiator grill. I still got out!!! but it was hard :)

Ghost is right, and I said it before as well, Subaru and our 'X are just too different to compare one-for-one. But, with all the talk of "smart" VTM-4, "no need" for traction control, etc., I am just curious what other "people in the know" think about MDX vs Subaru handling.

I also looked at new Outback and Forester before buing MDX. Surprisingly, not only Outback has more interior room and a nicer design, but both those cars are significantly smaller than my '96 was (and I thought it could not get any smaller :( for my 6'1" 200+lbs frame)
However, as remery said when he bought his (or, actually, hers :)), you could get VDC close to invoce. Add to that free scheduled maintenance and the real price difference climbs to $5-$7K. Once again, though, it's like comparing apples to oranges.
 

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Some Subarus have free scheduled maintenance? Please elaborate! Thanks!

We're interested in a number of models as a second vehicle. The Subaru Outback is certainly an interesting choice. However, I want Subaru to add side-curtain airbags (which I want as, given the current state of safety, consider essential in a lower-riding sedan). By the time we buy that may or may not happen.

My understanding is that not all Subaru AWD's are equal. E.g. the power distribution to front/rear varies. The manual tranny Legacy/Outbacks and the VDC have a full-time split dividing a lot of power between front and rear wheels. The other automatic Outbacks have a much more pronounced bias toward the front, distributing power when necessary. That may/may not come into play under more severe conditions when you don't have to wait for power to distribute to the rear.

Curiously, the stability-control-equipped H6 VDC was outscored by the non-stability-control-equipped Passat V6 4Motion Wagon in Consumer Reports' emergency handling test. Probably because of the tighter (firmer) suspension on the Passat. The Sube will be more reliable than the Passat, however.

One thing that's refreshing about shopping for a Subaru -- you'll be negotating from around invoice with no hassle, big change from no negotation around MSRP or MSRP+ with the MDX.

Perhaps too small for folks, but the Impreza is really nice too. The WRX is a pocket rocket (on the highway) and its VTD drive system is also highly sophisticated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
William, my recent knowledge of Subarus is a hear-say. Remery is a better source since he got a VDC not long ago. I believe VDC or VDC-"Some stupid-designer-name-edition" comes with free scheduled maintenance and On-Star (or something similar).

WRX looks like a GREAT toy car - did you see those 0-60 numbers and stuff??? :)

I am not sure about side curtains though.

I know that VDC has a different kind of AWD from all other Subarus.

If I remember correctly, in my '96 I had a permanent 80-20 torque split going to 50-50 when needed.

I do not know if they offer VDC as a sedan as well or only as a vagon. Although, IMO, Outback sedan is not as "pretty".

Be prepared to have a feeling of "riding on you butt" especially after MDX. Subarus are really low-driving-position cars.

IMO, you cannot go wrong if you choose Subaru!

Passat is also so cute! But Outback is better!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A quick afterthought...
I think I saw Subaru ad recently with 0% or another quite low financing % for all 2002's.
 

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vip9,

Yes, you'll find good incentives with Subaru.

Side curtain airbags are not available in any Subaru in the U.S. (not sure about other countries, but I doubt it). Even front side airbags are only available on the top-trim variants (e.g. the only Impreza with them is the WRX, you have to buy an Outback Limited, LL Bean, or H6 VDC). Subaru has a good side frame construction but I'd like to see them catch up here.

There is indeed an H6 VDC sedan as well as the wagon. It's personal taste, but like you, I like the look of the wagon more than the sedan.

Some folks will assert that the Subes made in Japan are significantly better in quality and reliability than the Subes made in North America.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
wmquan said:
...Some folks will assert that the Subes made in Japan are significantly better in quality and reliability than the Subes made in North America.
Mine was made in Indiana - never any problem. Oil changes and other "standard maintenance" twice a year for 5 years.
 

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A true Subaphile Speaks Now!

As vip9 says and my signature confirms, I am the proud owner of both vehicles but with a $11K price differential. I paid $29.5K for my (oops hers) 2001 Subaru VDC H6 Wagon and $41.5K for the MDX which includes the accessories. Big price difference and not nearly as much value difference. I cannot comment yet on winter performance since I bought both last Spring but previous Subarus have been winter jewels. If Subaru had offered a larger vehicle, I would have bought it in a heartbeat over the MDX but that was not the case. However, our Great Pyrenees pooch (120 lbs worth) fits in the Subaru nicely with the back seat down and is actually easier for him to get into than the MDX because of a lower step up.

Quality wise I would have to give the edge to the MDX since the Subaru has developed a number of rattles and some of the interior material are downright cheap but the leather is better quality than the X and the seats more comfortable and a killer wood steering wheel. The Macintosh stereo in the Subaru is better than the Bose but the Subaru lacks some of the MDX creature comforts such as steering wheel stereo controls, no navi or trip computer, memory seats, homelink, and power passenger seat.

Drive train is better on the MDX because of the 5-speed vs. 4-speed transmission and the MDX is quicker off the line. However the Subaru H6 engine is buttery smooth compared to silky smooth on the MDX. I like the brakes better on the MDX but my wife likes the Subaru's better.

Service is much better on the MDX since the Subaru dealer offers no loaners and does not treat you nearly as nice. Subaru sales service is far superior to Acura's to the point where I was getting e-mails from Subaru USA asking if I was getting responses from dealers. One hadn't and within 20 minutes of notifying Subaru USA by e-mail I got a phone call from the dealer. No 3-year free service was included with mine but I did get an extended warranty from Subaru directly for far less than what Acura was offering for the same coverage.

Bottom line, Subaru is a better value in my mind at MSRP for the MDX and 7 passenger capacity is not an issue. At invoice for both, it's a push without any winter driving data points. I am not sure the VDC and traction control options will make that much difference but I will let you know after some snow comes and I can test both.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: A true Subaphile Speaks Now!

remery said:
As vip9 says my my signature confirms, I am the proud owner of both vehicles but with a $11K price differential. I paid $29.5K for my (oops hers) 2001 Subaru VDC H6 Wagon and $41.5K for the MDX with includes the accessories.
That's a $12K difference, but it's OK :p

Looking forward to seeing your comparo once the white stuff shows up.
 

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wmquan said:
Some Subarus have free scheduled maintenance? Please elaborate! Thanks!

We're interested in a number of models as a second vehicle. The Subaru Outback is certainly an interesting choice. However, I want Subaru to add side-curtain airbags (which I want as, given the current state of safety, consider essential in a lower-riding sedan). By the time we buy that may or may not happen.

My understanding is that not all Subaru AWD's are equal. E.g. the power distribution to front/rear varies. The manual tranny Legacy/Outbacks and the VDC have a full-time split dividing a lot of power between front and rear wheels. The other automatic Outbacks have a much more pronounced bias toward the front, distributing power when necessary. That may/may not come into play under more severe conditions when you don't have to wait for power to distribute to the rear.

Curiously, the stability-control-equipped H6 VDC was outscored by the non-stability-control-equipped Passat V6 4Motion Wagon in Consumer Reports' emergency handling test. Probably because of the tighter (firmer) suspension on the Passat. The Sube will be more reliable than the Passat, however.

One thing that's refreshing about shopping for a Subaru -- you'll be negotating from around invoice with no hassle, big change from no negotation around MSRP or MSRP+ with the MDX.

Perhaps too small for folks, but the Impreza is really nice too. The WRX is a pocket rocket (on the highway) and its VTD drive system is also highly sophisticated.
I believe the LL Bean edition may have some sort of free maintenance programme for a number of years.

Some sort of head protection system is DEFINITELY being worked on, but I can't go into more details than that right now.

The manual transmission Subarus (WRX excluded) split power 50/50 via a viscous coupling limited slip centre differential. The automatic transmission H4 Subarus and LL Bean H6 have an 80/20 split. However, this electronically based system (no VC LSD) is pro-active and transfers power to the rear wheels upon acceleration at <b>any</b> speed, not just up to a certain cutoff. It does feel more FWD biased than the manual transmission AWD system though. The WRX and VDC sedan/wagon use the VTD (Variable Torque Distribution) system with a 45/55 split. The system can transfer power back and forth as needed. The VDC vehicle, of course, have stability and traction control.

The Passat won probably because of its performance tires and tighter suspension. Both would result in reduced body roll, and better grip than the Outback's softer long travel suspension, and somewhat off-roadable all-season tires. Note that in Japan, one can get the VDC system on the twin turbo charged Legacy. Now that would be a serious contender to the Passat, should the VDC and H6 ever be offered on non Outback trimmed Legacys.

Finally, a new Forester is due early next year. Expect it to be larger (based on the Legacy platform evidently) and will have some of the things that some people want ;-).
 

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I think Remery will be quite happy with the H6 VDC's winter performance once the opportunity presents itself.

My wife has some friends who have Subes and live in North Central Washington state. They're quite happy with the more generic Outbacks' winter performance, and they get real, heavy winters there. The H6 VDC should exceed that.

Only complaints are some smaller quality issues, mostly annoying rattles from the back. While Subarus are scoring well in CR's ratings, I still suspect they might be a half-notch below mid-sized Camry's and Accords, though of course being AWD they're more sophisticated in that respect.

Co-worker and her husband were seriously shopping Foresters several months back and I was impressed by how their sales experience went (even though ultimately they did not buy because they opted for a larger, truck-based SUV - a used 4Runner). The dealership was very polite with them and kept calling her to see what else they could do.

Closest Subaru dealership to me was a combo VW/Subaru dealership (Mazda too maybe). We test drove a Passat 4motion Wagon there, this before the H6 VDC released (and other than too-firm seats and some questionable ergonomics that may have been later corrected with the 2001.5 model, the Passat was terrific -- nice near-luxury interior, adequate power, firm German feel, some well-thought out touches like doors that swing open extra-wide for easy access). Salesperson was very low key, let us take the vehicle out by ourselves for as long as wanted, just asked us to come back with the same amount of gas that we left with. We really liked that. On the other hand, the service area didn't look too great. Can't always judge a book by its cover, of course, but it was a mess. Though you can get it serviced anywhere.
 

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have the sube... waiting for the mdx

Hope I can provide some input as winter approaches... my 02 mdx is due any day/minute now. After 4 years of use, we are still happy with our outback wagon. When I bought the outback back in '97 my wife wanted a "jeepy" thing.. I really didn't want to spend the $$ for a Jeep... Even today she is still happy with the outback... the only problem is that it is a little underpowered with the 4 cylinder engine.. The entrance to the local highway is on an incline and the really would be nice if the outback had a little more power.. the newer models have the v6 option.

I'm looking forward to inheriting the outback as my every day station car when the MDX arrives..

Actually, I got a panic call from my wife today.. she tapped the front end of the outback against the cement base of a light post.. putting a nice dent in the front bumper, just in front of the driver side front wheel.. luckily, the sheet metal wasn't touched. this is after my three year old closed fist punched her in the nose... the outback has an appointment with the body shop and we are now looking into military schools for the 3 year old... anyone have any suggestions in the NY area?

( only joking )
 

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2.9% financing

vip9 said:
A quick afterthought...
I think I saw Subaru ad recently with 0% or another quite low financing % for all 2002's.
 

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Re: 2.9% financing

wexy99 said:
sorry... meant to say that I just caught a forester commercial on tv with a

"as low as 2.9% financing" offer
 

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Another Tidbit

Much to my surprise, I was able to fit 4 adults, one 5-year old grandchild and a 120 lb. dog comfortably in my wife's Subaru Outback Friday. I didn't think the dog would fit with the back seat up but I was wrong. Granted was not as comfy as the X but the dog didn't complain.:)
 
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