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2014 Subaru Forester (Subaru)
2014 Subaru Forester (Subaru)

Driving Concerns

Help! My new car is too cold Add to ...

I bought a 2014 Subaru Forester (the 2.5i model with convenience package) in November. It’s an awesome car, but unfortunately it’s a very cold car. Subaru had my dealer run some tests on my car, with the results going back to Subaru technicians. At temperatures colder than -20 C or so, this car is very slow to throw out warm air, and the interior barely warms up. I drove for over an hour and a half one day, at about -27 C or so, and arrived at my destination still bundled up and with numb feet. Not once could I turn down the fan or heater controls. If you look online, you will find Canadian and U.S. owners with this issue. – Doug, Sudbury

If there’s a flaw with the new Forester’s heater, nobody’s told Subaru.

“As a whole, we haven’t had any complaints about the Forester’s HVAC system,” says Joe Felstein, Subaru Canada spokesman. “We double checked and we’ve had no issues with it.”

Felstein, who drives a 2014 Forester, says the new model is bigger inside than the last model, and that larger space takes a “bit longer” to heat up.

“With extreme temperatures, that has an effect on warm up times,” Felstein says.

Subaru has checked various models, and they’re pumping out hot air like they should be.

That said, there could still be a problem with your chilly Forester, and your dealer should be taking your concerns seriously, Felstein says.

What to check

Subaru should be checking to make sure your engine is reaching the correct operating temperature, says Centennial College automotive professor Brian Humphrey.

“This is a new vehicle so one would assume things like the engine thermostat would be okay,” Humphrey says.

The dealer should also be measuring the flow and temperature of the air blowing out from your heater and defrost outlets, he says.

“It also would be important to check for any outside air infiltration caused by an ill-fitting door seal,” he says.

Winter whining or a real problem?

One complaint making the rounds on discussion boards? A few Forester drivers say they’re stuck with frigid feet when it’s below -25 or so. They say the driver’s side floor vent pushes air toward the driver’s shins instead of into the footwell. Some say they’ve made paper or plastic diverters to redirect air toward their feet.

“It is possible that one manufacturer’s heating system may not work as well as another’s based on the design,” Humphrey says. “It has been an unusually cold winter, but in 2014 you should be able to drive your vehicle without your feet getting numb.”

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

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