Used 2002 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2002 Subaru Forester - Consumer Reviews

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A few problems, but a great little daily driver
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Eric
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

I bought this car with 99k on the clock for $6000. I've bought several used cars over the last 20 years and have had pretty good luck. But this has been the best little car! I have a long drive to work, so I need a no-frills, comfortable, car with basic amenities (power locks/windows/mirrors, etc) that can eat miles no matter what the weather. I also own a sports car and a MINI, so I need cargo space. The little Subaru hauled me, my family, and my crap over 85,000 largely uneventful miles through rain, snow, ice, grass, and mud over the last 6 years. I've been through deep water and snow up to the bumper. You can't get this car stuck. I have had a few problems, most of which are related to fact that the shady dealership I bought it from turned off the check engine light. Used oil analysis showed that there was coolant and oil in my oil, so I had the head gaskets done along with the timing at a cost of $3000. I also spent a grand on a new catalytic converter, which was fouled by burning coolant. The rest of the maintenance, other than routine brake and suspension upkeep, I did myself, including oil, filters, lights, belts, hoses, plugs/wires, new alternator, etc. One of the best things about this car is that it's easy to work on (even for a novice like me), which saved me thousands. Despite the head gasket, this little car was as reliable as a metronome. Every time I turned the key, it started and ran perfectly no matter what. It's compact and easy to maneuver, has a TON of grip for the little tires (AWD), and gets 25 mpg. Crash ratings are 4-star, so I felt good teaching my kids to drive in it. The interior is pretty crappy...the seats are uncomfortable, the back seats have limited leg room, the interior materials are terrible, and the interior ergonomics don't make any sense. But I love it. I get the Subaru thing now. They're ugly ducklings and they're not that nice inside, but they inspire so much confidence through how they start, run, feel, and drive that they just get under your skin. I'm trading this car today for a 1999 Legacy Outback with low mileage and look forward to more of the same.


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Bought used in 2011 - my 6th Subaru
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By sstevek
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester S AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

Had a 2002 Outback automatic - a great car but wanted to go back to a manual transmission. Really enjoy driving this Forester - somehow it rides better than the Outback with a shorter wheelbase. Excellent visibility, easy to get in and out of. Geared lower than my '98 Outback which turned around 3200 rpm @ 65mph, the Forester is around 2750. Engine has enough torque to handle moderate hills in 5th gear. Never feels under powered. A lot of room for it's size - cargo capacity very close to an '02 Grand Cherokee. Feels like a sports car with high seating. Bought it at 98k, have about 104k now. Not a concern since I have a company vehicle.


Best Features

Subaru Reliability, Good ride, decent economy for AWD. Great winter car with AWD, heated seats and windshield wiper de-icers. Really like the wheels of that year's S model. Not that I'm in the market for a new Forester, but it's good to know there's still an SUV available with a manual transmission - the Forester.


Worst Features

One thing lacking was an armrest. I know after market units can are available, I built a basic one from wood, foam, and fabric as close as I could match to the gray interior. It made a big improvement in driving comfort, especially with the manual transmission.


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Still Going Strong
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Marks
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

This Forester has been in daily use since we bought it new. It has had very few problems. Replacing the catalytic converter was the only signficant item so far. We also had to replace the CD player module when it started eating disks and keeping them! I was impressed that Subaru voluntarily replaced all the engine gaskets at no cost after some head gasket seepage was noted during dealer service. I for one like the placement of the cupholder, even though it puts your cup in front of the air distribution control knob. The cup is ergonomically in a good position -- up high and easy to reach. The holder looks flimsy, but it hasn't broken. A great little vehicle, easily the best I have owned.


Best Features

Smooth, competent operation. Winter traction.


Worst Features

A little more leg room in the rear (delivered in current models).


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Going for 300K!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Vern
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester S AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

I purchased my Forester in Feb of 2002. It was one of only a handle of vehicles around that fit my requirements: storage room for my dj equipment, AWD, great fuel economy, and manual trans. I just went over 250K last week and my goal for 300K is within reach. Once I hit 300K, then I will be shopping for a new Forester. Vehicle handles well and is very reliable. I replaced original clutch at 190K! May not need another one before 300K.


Best Features

This vehicle is amazing in the snow and in poor driving weather - the AWD is great. The rear seats fold forward for cargo space with comes in handy when I dj my weddings. I maintain my Forester regularly so the fuel MPG is still in the upper 20s.


Worst Features

The clock stopped working after 125K and the cup holders are flimsy, but still intact. My fuel tank is 15.9 gal and I think the new models are at 16.9 - it would be great if Subaru could create a 19 to 20 gallon tank for their Foresters. Would love to travel 550- 600 miles in between fill ups.


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First and Last Subaru
4 of 9 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By roch_mn
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

Having driven mostly Toyota, this was my 1st Subaru. Currently at 70k miles. Disappointing quality even though I keep on top of regular maintenance. While under warranty the floorboard took on water and carpet was removed and dried, and the transmission was disassembled to replace bearings. I've had two O2 sensors replaced at my cost. Interior feels cheap, seats are uncomfortable, and no LATCH system for car seats. Wind noise on the highway.


Best Features

AWD system works well in Minnesota winters, however, snow tires probably work just as well for much less money. I've never taken off road, nor would I intend to.


Worst Features

No a good car for the everyday. The AWD system is great, but is overshadowed by the everyday discomforts. Need more leg space in the backseats.


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