Used 2003 Subaru Forester XS Wagon Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 Subaru Forester Wagon - Consumer Reviews

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34 Total Reviews

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Totally reliable, but a bit spartan.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jon P
on

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Forester Wagon XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

I did a great deal of research on mid-size SUV's and narrowed my choices to the 2003 CRV or the 2003 Forester. After 4 years and 45K of driving I think I may never buy anything but a Subaru again. The car handles any weather condition you can throw at it with ease. Snow, rain, ice, sub-zero temps. The car behaves well in any element. Most importantly though the car just runs well with no major mechanic or electrical problems to date. Certainly there are some minor, mostly aesthetic and comfort changes I would welcome. However this car has earned my trust and has been an excellent ambassador for the Subaru line-up. The best vehicle purchase I have ever made.


Best Features

AWD, Boxer engine, great visibility throughout. Surpsingly roomy front. Lots of cargo space. Very responsive handling. Good safety record and outstanding reliability.


Worst Features

Interior feels a bit cheap. Cloth is thin and the seats aren't well padded. Better MPG would be welcome. ABS acts up a bit when braking over bumps. Noticeable road noise. The 'hill-holder' is the answer to a problem that didn't really exist and kicks in too frequently.


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My favorite car
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Anthony C
on

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Forester Wagon XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

This car has got it all. Its fun to drive, reliable and great features. The 160hp engine is capable enough but I wonder how the XT with turbo would feel. It feels quick and sharp when turning. With routine maintenance I have never had any trouble or need for repairs. The only thing I have replaced have been fluids and tires. Our XS model came with leather seats which are much easier to clean with kids, and the cold weather package: heated front seats, front wipers and side mirror defrost. Pretty nice when my wife was driving it to class and she could sit inside while the car heated up instead of standing outside scraping the car off in a bad neighborhood.


Best Features

The AWD! Here in central NY with its lake-effect snow (tons of heavy, wet snow coming off Lake Ontario) Subaru's rule and this car has always made it through. With new Goodyear Tripletred tires this thing can get through it all.


Worst Features

My main issue is with cabin noise when driving. The engine is quiet but the rushing air can sound loud. Legroom is cramped but I've read that has been improved it more recent models. Also, the stereo buttons are small and difficult to find without taking your eyes off the road to look down.


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Good car for bad weather
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Alex
on

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Forester Wagon XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

I bought this car with 65,000 miles on it, now it has 100,000. Nothing wrong with engine or transmission. Forester showed high safety standards on the wet and frozen roads. I like the way Subaru handles the road and ability to drive in the all kind of weather with reasonable gas efficiency for AWD. From other side, car is obviously underpowered. And it is kind of difficult to pass other cars on the highways, it just can't get speed fast enough. So, if you are looking for a safe and reliable vehicle without any fancy design or performance, then Forester will be a right choice.


Best Features

All wheel drive, safety, high reliability


Worst Features

Too slow for AWD, and too noisy (has no windows frames).


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A Happy Camper, Overall
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Timber
on

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Forester Wagon XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

It has been a wonderful vehicle thus far. I bought it for the AWD, and I feel really safe driving it in the snow and ice. I don't ride in the backseat, but I've heard from my passengers that it can be a little tight if you are over 6'0". The cargo room is just perfect for what I need it for. I enjoy finding new places to hide/store things. The front windows are rather noisy when driving at high speeds, but overall, I have been very pleased with my purchase. I did my research and it has paid off.


Best Features

AWD, easy to see out of, perfect size for two adults and two 100 lb dogs, and the safety rating.


Worst Features

A diesel or hybrid engine would be nice, more comfortable seats and raise the console up a bit for an elbow rest.


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Baby Tank
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Dave
on

Vehicle

2003 Subaru Forester Wagon XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

Excellent combination of style and practicalaty. It's surefooted as a mountain goat and always eager to please. I love the interior with all the nooks and crannies to store stuff. I counted 21 storage places, not to mention the places under the rear deck. Great visibility, and it pulls my pop-up camper with ease. The vehicle feels like it was poured out of a mold, instead of manufactured.


Best Features

The feel of its handling abilities. The pickup is just right. It is very versatile, perfect for camping and outdoor use. I love the 12 volt outlets, the cargo area is huge for the size of the car.


Worst Features

Does have a leak in the window seal, causing some whistling, the rear brakes tend to squeak, but only on occasion, I would like to see the wiper controls to be spread out instead of all being congregated on one arm.


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