Bought the car 2 years ago from a friend for $7500. It's been an excellent, reliable little SUV. I've put about 25000 miles on it and the only maintenance that's been required was to replace a couple of CV boots ... and that was cheap. Best used car I've ever owned. I get about 27 mpg driving 65-75 mph, about 300 miles a tank.
I have driven my Forester back and forth across the U.S. numerous times and moved house in it four times. It has deceptively enormous cargo capacity and can carry heavy loads with no problem. It also gets great mileage (28hwy/22city) considering its class. Although it is classified as an SUV, it drives, handles, and performs like a small station wagon, though it is a larger car than that. It can muscle through snow and mud, but the center of gravity is low, so it is much safer than other vehicles in its class, such as the Toyota RAV4 or the Honda CR-V. I cannot say enough good things about this car. It is one of the safest cars on the road and is fun to drive. I love my Forester.
The major systems were above average in quality and reliability. My problem with the car was the electrical system. Door-open lights wouldn't turn off until the car was started. Remote locking malfunctioned. A lot of items stopped working after several years: radio, lighter, cassette, clock, rear window defroster. Checked fuses; mechanic said too expensive to trace problem. Average city/hwy. combined gas mileage (after a full tune-up) was only about 20-21 mpg. Trunk latch started to fail. Had same problem with our '92 Legacy wagon.
A clock separate from the clock in radio display like most other cars. It's a shame neither worked.
Gas mileage, wind noise, feature/accessory reliability.
I'm a 17 year old girl [what do I know about cars, right?] and I drive a 1998 Subaru Forester. The car is easy to drive for a new driver, gets pretty good gas mileage, and is the right size so that it's not too big and awkward but also not stiflingly small. However, I live in New England and the absolute best thing about this car is its handling in the snow. I'm not a good driver and the bad weather in Mass. makes me nervous, but I've never had trouble getting up a hill or driving on slippery roads. My driveway is very steep and both my parents have trouble getting up it in their midsize sedans. Also, this car has almost 150,000 on it and is still running great and has never broken down.