If you want a hardy, reliable car, a Subaru is a good bet
1 weeks ago, 07:04
First, I would like to thank you for your honest opinion in this column. It is an eye-opener and challenges our thinking and views as well as debunks some myths.
I amm looking forward to buying an SUV. I currently drive a Golf MKV but I live in an area where the road is so bad that I want to replace it with a car with better ground clearance. I have researched on different cars and have a few in mind: the Subaru Forester, Nissan Dualis, Nissan X-Trail, BMW x1, and VW Tiguan, all 2l petrol turbo/non-turbo. On the basis of reliability, safety and frugality, which one would you recommend.
Secondly, have seen you advise against turbo engines, especially in a Forester; can it be extended to the Tiguan TSI and X1 twin turbo?
This is a topic I have covered at length before, so you will forgive me for not going into details. Reliability is a Subaru forte, so the Forester takes that cake... though we could say it is more of dependability in light of the European competition and the Dualis.
Safety is a funny result because they all score rather poorly on pedestrian safety, fairly well for child occupants, and excellently for adults.
The X1 and the Tiguan do one better by scoring an equal 71 per cent on the safety-assist front, so these two tie for the lead here. Frugality depends on how you drive these cars.
The engine tune and development of the Euro cars means they can develop a fearsome thirst if you are heavy-handed with your footwork, in a manner of speaking, but they can return outstanding figures as well when well driven.
The Tiguan was observed by end-users to be notoriously dipsomaniac for a car of that size with its corresponding engine, so there is that to consider too.
And now we go to the real reason why I responded, and that is the claim that I advised someone to steer clear of a turbo Fozzie.
Au contraire, I have repeatedly insisted that there is no point buying a Subaru if it is not turbocharged because those tin snails give the cars their character and raisons d’être, that of quick, all-wheel-driven conveyance between geographical coordinates to the accompaniment of an exhaust burble whose charisma is a highly debated topic.
The only boosted Subaru mill I have asked people to watch out for is the Legacy-bound EJ208 (EJ206 for the tiptronic model), a highly convoluted and needlessly complex 2-stage twin turbo affair with 24 vacuum lines, an inaudible dump valve you are well advised not to replace with an aftermarket unit, and high susceptibility to knock.
It is a swine to fix, which is why El Turbo is currently powered by a replacement WRX Version 7 power plant that is rorty and punchy enough for my tastes, complete with a subtle BOV hiss. Don’t ask.
The Forester turbo should be fine to run provided you don’t abuse it, but even then ...
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