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.
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.
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
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.
Smooth, competent operation. Winter traction.
A little more leg room in the rear (delivered in current models).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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