i personally love the car, i am a auto enthusiast and this car is just great. it has a very sturdy look and
build quality. mine is 10 years old and has over 120k miles. i have replace the converter once and took it in for annual check ups and maintenance. one major problem is the the head gaskets and the oil. other wise the car is outstanding. the AWD is one of the best in the business and does its job really well.
favorites are the design, the awd, the sturdiness and reliability, and over time you truly understand why subaru owners are so loyac to their brand and their cars.
the engine which has a array of issues such as oil and head gasket problems thank god has been fixed for 2013.
2003 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Have had the car for ten years (bought new) and almost 130K miles.
Many problems from the start, not the least of which was the flames coming out the tailpipe towards the end of the first year.
Has needed much maintenance and repair over the years, and one important fact about subarus - they rust.
So surprised in this day and age how rusty this car has gotten, and I'm very good about washing the car (including underneath).
Wind noise bad almost from the start, and three trips to dealership never got it better.
Very cheap interior materials, now looking to finally get new and better vehicle.
Never again a Subaru!
Visibility is great, probably my favorite feature over height in ride and cargo room.
Subaru, please figure out how to make a car that doesn't rust this fast!
Our 2003 Forester has been maintained by our dealer since purchased new in late 2002.
From day 1 it has had a coolant leak, a fact that has been pointed out to the dealer at every scheduled service.
The dealer, of course, could not find the source of the coolant lead until after the warranty expired, whereupon we were told that the head gaskets were leaking and the car had developed piston slap to the point where driving the car was ill-advised.
The master tech told me that Subaru has told dealers to ignore the problem until the warranty expires.
Last Subaru I will ever purchase; this was our 7th.
I absolutely love my 2003 subaru forester. It has never left me stranded and has required the least amount of repairs of any car I've owned. The only repairs that I've done on it are wear out parts like brakes and rotors. I've recently (105,000k) had the timing belt, water pump, and most of the fluids replaced just as a pre-emtive strike to keeping this vehicle running as best it can well into the 100k's.
Reliability, reliability, reliability! The security I feel when driving this car is priceless. I know that my family and I will not get stranded when on a road trip with this car. I truly believe that this car has cost less to own that any other car I've owned. It's that reliable!
This car is also the safest one I've owned. It feels solid (not like my corolla which was a tin can on wheels).
I also love the all-wheel drive (a must have in my snowy and hilly area) and my heated seats! I put 4 snow tires on every fall and this car becomes what my husband and I lovingly call the "snow beast". It goes through the snow with ease and my city is not the best with the whole idea of plowing.
This car could use more leg room in the back seat. Re-design the door/window framing.
2003 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
This is my wife's car but I drive it more than her because she cannot stand the road noise, brake noise, lackluster A/C and other querks that cannot be fixed.
My wife had wanted a subaru for a while so we traded in her truck for a forester to get better MPG and handling while keeping AWD for winter safety.
It has been disappointing from the start.
There is horrible wind noise above 35mph that gets exopentially louder with increased speed.
Dealer and independent mechanics say it is window/door design and cannot be fixed.
brakes squeel embarassingly loud regardless of pad type.
It is mediocre at best in the snow - on par with most FWD cars.
Head gasket went at 100K mi - $2,000 repair.
AWD - gives the allusion of safety ayway.
MPG - averages 25 if you baby it, about 22-23 in normal driving conditions.
Cargo capacity - very versatile with folding seats.
Easy to park.
Takes curves and mountain roads well in dry and wet weather - would not try it in the snow.
Ground clearance is great for a car-based SUV. This vehicle seems apropriate for a teenager's first car or for someone who only drives short distances around town.
Would look at the Jeep Patriot or AWD Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix over this vehicle.
Wind noise is a must-fix; the radio cannot get ooud enough to drown it out.
Car feels cheap, like it will fall apart at any minute.
Reliability - head gasket at 100,000mi; radiator at 101,000mi; power steering pulley at 114,000mi(replaced with head gasket at 100K also).
Most of our cars approach 200,000mi with no such issues. Headlights act up intermittenly - currently the brights do not work(not the bulb, fuse or wire as all have been replaced).
Layout is not driver friendly - small controls, unsafe cruise control(must take eyes off road for 3-5 seconds).
Airbag light comes on intermittenly.
Overall I do not feel safe with my wife driving this car and will replace soon.