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I Survived ... Riding with a Subaru Rallycross Driver

  

Impressions

 

Daily Driving

 

A quick stop at the horse barn, lunch, and driving the local roads along with short jaunts on the freeway dictated automatic mode from the Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), providing the perfect balance. “Everyday driving was very casual, very comfortable,” commented Bucky.

 

Lane Departure and Sway Warning and EyeSight1 provided alerts and braking when necessary. Bucky, of course, had to test out the EyeSight with his front yard bushes. Yep, it worked.

 

 

Fun Driving

 

 

Traction Control

 

ON: “I didn’t turn Traction Control off, and it didn’t disrupt my driving at all. So Traction Control is really good. Usually Traction Control will shut down your driving and really disrupt your rhythm. It kept me really smooth through those twisties. It was pretty nice. Power was still delivered; Traction Control didn’t take it away.”

 

OFF: “This car was really fun with Traction Control off. It was even better.”

First action item: disengage Traction Control and turn off Lane Departure and Sway Warning and EyeSight, giving us fewer system alerts and mechanical overrides.

 

To further sense vehicle capabilities, Bucky chose manual mode for the transmission. The paddle shifters provided smooth, seamless shifting, almost eliminating the feeling of gear changes, leaving the raw feeling of powerful torque. The Forester had the ultimate power of a performance car rolled into a nimble SUV.

 

Bucky switched between Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) Sport and Sport Sharp (Sport #) modes. Feeling out the modes, he selected the optimal Sport # for the mountain roads we were climbing. “Sport Sharp mode gave it better throttle response, a little quicker and a little bit more torque.”

 

And then we were ready to launch up and down the mountain.

 

 

Power, Grip, and Handling

 

A thrilling trip, the Forester handled the various demands effortlessly. This incredible machine provided overall excitement no matter the path driven.

 

“Throttle response, brake responses are awesome – very smooth,” said Bucky. “I have an SUV and there’s no way you can rail that thing like you could rail this. The all-wheel drive in this, the traction, the way this just set and went around these turns. Mine would’ve been off the side of the road and squealing. It pushes; this didn’t push.”

 

"You can put it in Sport # mode, what I call attack mode; you just go on the attack." - Bucky Lasek

 

Bucky drove this vehicle to the max at every turn, and I expected nothing less with a rally driver at the wheel. “It was like driving a luxury car through the turns, yet it was an SUV. It didn’t feel like an SUV; it felt
really smooth, powerful, and torque-y. You didn’t feel the weight of the SUV. It was like driving on clouds through these turns because the vehicle really sets.”

 

What would Bucky Lasek modify?

 

  • Wider tires: it comes with 18” rims; I would just put on beefier tires
  • COBB access port

The 18-inch tires stuck to the road, never lifting and never squealing. Bucky's reaction: “Tires were 300 tread wear, 225, 55, 18 inch. That’s where this thing got so much grip in the turns. That’s pretty good for 300 tread wear.”

 

 

Comforts and Conveniences

 

The technology was simple, and displays were straightforward. “I wasn’t overwhelmed by all the features,” commented Bucky. The controls were driver-friendly and were all on the steering wheel. The must-have touch-screen navigation delivered simple displays and instructions, enhancing the drives.

 

Exterior

 

“The front end is sportier, definitely a lot sexier. The headlights are nice, the intakes, the fog lamps, the grille. It has a very I’m-going-to-eat-you look.”

 

One thing seems to be missing, though – the distinctive hood scoop normally associated with these Subaru models. But that had no impact on the power or performance it delivered.

 

Question: How does the new Forester XT direct cooling air to its intercooler?

 

Answer: Air comes in through the drill into ducts that route the air to the intercooler.

 

Watch as Bucky takes a look under the hood for the first times and explores the intercooler route.

 

1 EyeSight is a driver-assist system which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is
always responsible for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle
maintenance, and weather and road conditions. Please remember to turn off EyeSight when going through a car
wash. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations.

 

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