2001 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
I reviewed this car back in 2002 and have gained some new insights since then. In almost six years of ownership and 115,000 miles, it's been very reliable. Had to replace the exhaust Y-pipe, new brakes at 95k, timing belt, and other minor maintenance issues, but otherwise, no major repairs. Check engine light has been on for a while but performance is not impaired. Average 23.5 mpg on the highway at 75 mph. The clutch has been a weak point, as others have noted. Fine for level terrain but too weak for mountain driving. Judders when wet; sometimes grinds gears on shifting, but no replacement needed yet. Changed my mind about interior noise; much louder and coarser than competitors.
Overall reliability. Good handling and decent performance. Lots of cargo space. Decent off-road abilities for a car. Cheap but durable interior materials.
Noisy and cheap-looking interior; lots of road and wind noise. Balky transmission with weak clutch. Check engine light that never goes away. Very sensitive to uneven tire wear -- frequent rotations (5k miles) a must.