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It Saves Fuel In The New Subaru Forester, Outback, And Crosstrek But You Don’t Like It

Automakers improve fuel mileage on new vehicles, but customers don’t like new technologies that make cars more fuel-efficient. Check out one feature on the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek customers would rather not have on their new vehicle.

A new study by Consumer Reports says customers like the improved fuel mileage on the latest models like the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek. The Japanese automaker uses direct-fuel-injection, smaller turbocharged engines, a CVT automatic transmission, and auto-stop-start on its new models. But the latter is not a fuel-saving feature owners like on their vehicle.

“There are no free rides in this business,” says Gabe Shenhar, associate director of Consumer Report’s auto-test program. “Drivers might find the stop/start annoying, or turbo lag could make a car hesitant to accelerate. Aerodynamic styling might result in a lower, curvier car that compromises visibility and ease of access.”

2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek

Auto-Stop-Start is one of the most controversial gas-saving features on new Subaru vehicles. Many automakers use the system that automatically stops the engine when you come to a complete stop for more than a few seconds. It’s designed to save a little fuel every time the car stops at a stop sign, or you wait at a traffic light.

The frequent starting and stopping of the engine become tiresome to some drivers who live in urban areas, especially if you commute in heavy stop-and-go traffic every day. Some drivers say they don’t like the car stopping and starting because they fear the system could fail, and the engine won’t restart and leave them stranded. They also consider the extra wear on the engine and starter.

2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek

Why is Subaru slow to bring a new electric vehicle?

“Automakers have been slow to build EVs in part because, until recently, battery costs have been quite high,” says Chris Harto, a senior transportation policy analyst at CR. “That is rapidly changing. Expect to see a lot more compelling EVs over the next few years.”

Subaru Corporation will bring its first-ever electrified SUV developed with Toyota sometime in 2022. Until then, customers who buy a 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek will deal with technologies designed to save fuel.

You Might Also LikeHow To Disable the Auto-Start System On Your Subaru

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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Mark Day (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 1:50PM

My solution to all the annoying mandatory features on all new vehicles - I'm not encouraging there manufacture, I'm not buying ANY new vehicle. The last good year for vehicles was no later than 2012.

Dana Francey (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 8:41PM

For some perspective... my wife has owned her 2019 forester for 2 years now. She has saved 1.7 gallons of gas using this feature across 24,000 miles...
Its definitely costing more and wasting more gas to produce the larger starter motor and battery than it is saving for her..

sam (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 8:13AM

In reply to by Dana Francey (not verified)

even if you could be that accurate with your statement (variances in gas pumps used) etc. this is completely dependent upon the use of the vehicle. someone who sits in stop and go traffic is going to see more benefit than someone who goes directly from a garage to a freeway.

Dana Francey (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 1:29PM

In reply to by sam (not verified)

What does pump variance have to do with it? When the car shuts off it has a little timer that pops up and it shows your total all time fuel savings. Just because you are in stop/go traffic doesnt mean its saving gas.. plenty of times the car stays on because of HVAC.. other times it shuts off and if it turns back on within 25 seconds you have a net loss.. which is very common.

Don Levin (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 8:41PM

One would think auto SS would be on the Subaru Ascent which consumes much more fuel than all other models mentioned. Maybe management was afraid of lost sales to higher end buyers declining to buy it. I read EPA gives even more refunds when ASS can’t be permanently off. It’s started an aftermarket of devices that will disable it. Never voted on by Congress but made by Obama Biden regime. Now Biden may be back as King to bring back more “features” many hate and billions more wasted on solar and wind projects with no return on investment. Meanwhile NHTSA & local govs keep 1970 style traffic controls ignoring dozens cars waiting at lights with no cross traffic. They’re even too lazy to use synchronized lights first used in 1950’s.

Chris (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 1:38PM

In reply to by Tiny Cadon (not verified)

So I see you belong to the intolerant left extremist party, now masquerading as the democrat party - how can I tell? someone mentioned an opinion and point of view that isn't consistent with the narrative - since no freedom of thought is allowed anymore - the reaction is always an irrational tirade of some sort... Miss the days where folks were allowed to have differing opinions and discussions without being threatened, cancelled or called a "racist/bigot/misogynist/anti-trans" - or whatever identity politic they could think of fast enough to throw at the other person...

No one likes the start stop feature - no one likes the consequences of Direct Injection Engines and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) systems either (because they ruin the intake valves by 50k when the carbon build up gets to the point where it causes higher emissions and burns more gas and reduces power) - the best of both worlds is the dual injection method which combines port and direct injection and prevents the build up - but that's too expensive to employ across all cars and has its own issues (more fuel injectors to fail and more electrical system and sensor issues)...
This is why there is a move among automotive enthusiasts to buy or build cars that predate these mandates...

BTW - the real source of automotive emissions/ pollution isn't consumer cars - it's the trucking industry which has grandfathered rules allowing them to skirt the regulations which would stop their dirty diesel engines from polluting - considering these vehicles burn way more fuel and are used for millions of miles (avg trucker gets 2-5million miles on an engine) - this would have a larger impact than consumer cars... Did you know they can grab a salvage tractor, re-build an old motor that doesn't comply with EPA rules and register it as a rebuilt to use for another 2-5mil miles???

JGinNJ (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 1:48AM

In reply to by Don Levin (not verified)

One would think that there is more technology that is practical that could make traffic control systems more efficient, especially when traffic is light. In some instances buses or ambulances are able to communicate with traffic lights, why not regular cars?

Don Levin (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 8:34AM

In reply to by Mark Hamilton (not verified)

Please look up how SS evolved. It was an Obama Exec Order, never voted on. EPA under Trump leadership has tried to repeal it but being environmental takes public hearings. EPA mileage ratings from pre and post SS have Not changed, “savings” not quantified. Put computers on traffic lights rather than more on cars.

Boost (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 5:40PM

In reply to by Don Levin (not verified)

First of all, there are multiple car manufacturers around the world that have been using SST since 1970, long before Obama and countries he didn't govern. Second Trump as of July 15th 2020 has eliminated 68 EPA regulations and was in the process of at least 32 more and why? This will probably hard for to believe but, here it comes, for his own benefit. Either your mind just exploded because you realized the truth or you're still dumb enough to believe that he cares about you. Who would think a crooked, failure "business man" would change the laws for his own benefit.

Dgs (not verified)    October 16, 2020 - 2:26PM

In reply to by Boost (not verified)

There was NO auto stop-start in the 70s, try something better than Wikipedia. Volkswagen tried it out sometime in the 80s on 1 model and it was complete garbage Mazda also did and it caused failures, Bosch improved it only a decade ago and it is still absolute garbage and hard other egine components...gas saving even in heavy stop and go traffic is miniscule, The reliability is a key issue, a single failure in heavy traffic will cause hundreds if not a couple thousand in repairs and towing charges along with lost time from work. Talk with any up to par dealer mechanic about what they think

Boost (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 5:50PM

In reply to by Don Levin (not verified)

First of all, car manufacturers around the world have been using SST since 1970. Long before Obama and in countries he didn't govern. Trump as of July 15 2020 has overturned 68 EPA regulations and was in the process of overturning at least 32 more, that's fact, not "Fake News". Who would think that a lying, crooked, cheating, narcissistic, egomaniac, failure "Business Man" would change laws to benefit himself? Either your mind, if you have one, just exploded from realizing the truth or you're not intelligent enough to realize that he doesn't care about anyone let alone you. I've been a Master Technician for over 25 years so I know a thing or two about automotive.

Craig Maynard (not verified)    November 30, 2021 - 11:11AM

In reply to by Boost (not verified)

I know of 2 people that have had SST and both have stalled multiple times during harsh winter weather. Frequent stops in sub zero weather drains the battery to a point it can not restart the vehicle.
If these technologies work so great and are such a savings how come the government has to subsidize them?

BB_Orlando (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 7:42AM

In reply to by Don Levin (not verified)

I bought a new 2020 Subaru Ascent last year and I can tell you I definitely would not have bought it if it had auto-start-stop. I passed on a few other vehicles I liked more completely because they had auto-start-stop that could not be permanently disabled. I don't intend on ever buying a vehicle with this "feature".

Paul Jones (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 8:53PM

Start/Stop isn't too bad on most vehicles - but that CVT ... ug. I test drove a 2020 Outback and Ascent, and that gearbox turned me off.

Dan (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 8:56PM

I drive a 2020 Impreza and have had the same year loaners in the form of both the Forester and the Outback. All the vehicles have a very large button you can easily press to shut off the start/stop system as well as most all other safety/convenience features. Easier than many vehicles which hide it in the infotainment system. I chose to purchase a manual vehicle which disallowed all the safety and fuel saving systems. This is another sensible option for people who don’t want the start/stop or the autonomous cruise control etc(downside to some of course is you’d have to actually drive your own car!)

Michael (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 9:05PM

None of these so called 'features' will save enough money in fuel cost to pay for repairs to the features when they break. Cars have gotten way to complicated, and thus way to expensive.

Tim Patrick (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 9:38PM

I recently decided not to trade in my 2018 Forester for a 2021 model because of this start/stop feature. I travel a lot in the city and this would become totally annoying. I can see them offering it as an option. But making it mandatory is just crazy.
It was pitched to me as a "hybrid" like feature. Confused I asked if there was a battery pack. I was told no. It was there to meet CA emissions laws.
They also peeved me by removing some features, like blind side detection, from my particular model of Forester. So I would have to pay more for a feature I really use; but I would get a feature of dubious usefulness for no cost at all.
I think we all know that after the 3 year warranty runs out is when we will have to replace many of these extra components totally negating the minoe savings it provides. If I wanted a "hybrid" like feature I'd buy a hybrid. Since most all new cars come with this ridiculous feature I will buy a real hybrid. Goodby Subaru. Hello Toyota.

Rambodog (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 2:58PM

In reply to by Tim Patrick (not verified)

Very good comments here...nope! We dont want stop/start feature in our new car!! we own a 2015 crosstrek and we like it for short commutes as well as mountain trips. We were thinking in trading it for a forester 2021, but NO. we have decided to go with Toyota Highlander AWD.

JKinPA (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 9:38PM

Someone tell me where Start/Stop is actually saving fuel? So, in order for Start/Stop to function, you need to add some 200+ lbs to the car (bigger oversized starter, 2nd battery, more complex control system) along with extra cost to maybe/maybe save a few ounces of fuel sitting at a stop. You are NOT gaining any fuel MILAGE because the system only works when STOPPED. Not movement = no gained mileage!

Scott Broughton (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 11:10AM

In reply to by JKinPA (not verified)

Wasted fuel most definitely eats I into mileage. The real question is how much? The answer obviously depends on how itself implemented and where you do most of your driving. Some here say hundreds of lbs added weight is needed. I doubt this is accurate. Before SS your car had a battery and a starter. The starter doesn't change but the battery capacity is undoubtedly bumped up. Anything more than 50 lbs added weight is hogwash. The bigger issue is if SS can be disabled? My new car has this option, and any manufacturer would be silly not to include this feature unless they want to discourage sales. And BTW, hybrids like Prius had SS in 2000, slightly before Obama was elected in 2008. In hybrids a combination starter / alternator is used which is indeed a heavier implementation.

R Traylor (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 9:39PM

This is our 2nd Forester because we liked the 1st so much. The auto-stop-start will make this one our last unless Subaru permanently disables. Serious as I can be.

Douglas Boyce III (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 9:49PM

My bride and I turn off the Auto-Stop as soon as we get in the car. I wish the button had 2 positions, off for now, and off forever.

j gross (not verified)    October 14, 2020 - 10:52PM

the auto start stop can be permanently disabled with a easy plug in $100 gadget. i dont like the scooped hood. light reflects off of it.