Tuesday, 27 October 2009

RON97 and the Subaru Forester

Local Subaru distributor gave me another glimpse into the murky world of turbocharged automobiles and fuel grades compatibility, right after the eye-opening Impreza WRX STI Ver.10 and its RON95 dietary requirement.

This time around their new sales manager gave a hard-hitting statement that all their Subarus are filled with RON 97 and nothing lesser. Hmmm....a nice turn of event, I must say. Of course, I had no chance to witness the actual refill for the Forester, since the nice metallic grey tester was filled with approximately 30% of petrol in tank when I took it.

What I didn't notice were the missing plastic cover at the rear window angle (adjacent to C-pillar) on the inner right side. While the similar cover was cracked on the left (or was it vice versa?). Never mind that, the crux of the matter was the same Sales Manager (the last guy, Paul quitted his job after I last took the WRX tester) interrogated me on this by blurting out: "Are you sure?? (it was missing when you took it?)". The fact that I highlighted this missing item to him only aroused his suspicion that I had flicked it or lost it. Omigosh! C'mon, I can sure as hell pay for that little bit of plastic had I caused it to go missing! After spending thousands on my Porsche Cayman mods and maintenance, and being a privately practising professional would I stoop that low as to lie on this?!?

And returning it the next day at 11:15am was both a hassle and harrassment. I got a distress call from this same fella named Owen, alleging that there were some 10 guys waiting to test this car after 12 noon and they needed the Forester back urgently. Heck! Was I born yesterday (to buy all this load of bull)?

Now, I know why my other esteemed COTY judges don't bother with Subaru test cars. The level of courtesy and professionalism of the front-line folks involved with this brand pales considerably with their counterparts over at Edaran Tan Chong Motors (that handles the Nissan brand in Malaysia), as evident from the new Murano 3.5 V6 and the awesome 370Z loaned to us recently.

So how good is the new Forester? To sum it up: it's a comfy soft roader with lots of torque, making it nicely responsive to drive. Safe and decent handling too with full-time, symmetrical AWD. However, the confusion remains regarding RON95 versus RON97 for these boxer powered cars. Pity.

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