This car served me well for 10 years 11 months and 174,000 miles. Reliable from start to "finish". Routine maintenance is a bit expensive. Only mechanical failure was a U joint in drive shaft at 153,000 miles. When timing belt was originally replaced at 82,500 miles also replaced head gaskets. Did not do so when timing belt was replaced at 165,000 miles and at 168,000 miles a very slight oil leakage began (to the tune of 1 quart per 3,000 miles.) Decided to trade in at 174,000 miles. This car went to 28 of our 50 states.
The ability to tow light pop-up camping trailer, small canoe trailer, hold all sorts of stuff inside with rear seats folded down. Even on long trips this car, though a bit noisy, was a joy to drive.
Reduction of road noise should be a priority in all Subary models. Currently own a 2011 Outback and a 2015 Crosstrek.
This is the pioneer and last of the true sport crossovers. There are a lot of copycats nowadays, but this one is the real thing.
Manual tranny, 4.44FD, AWD with 50/50 torque split, big STI engine 2.5L, factory turbo with low compression pistons, disc brakes, LSD and other good stuff.
All parts from the WRX and STI fit into this vehicle since they share the platform. Tons of aftermarket parts and can be made to go very fast for very little. Great sleeper vehicle.
This is not a car for nannies. If you intent is to buy a car and just put gas in it and forget everything else, this is not the car for you. Change PM parts and the car will reward you with a great bargain.
2004 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
I bought my Forester X "Burt" used in July 2011 from a Subaru Dealer in Rockland County, NY with 107K miles on it. I now have 120K miles on it. It has proven to be a reliable and surprisingly comfortable vehicle. I average about 18 mpg in the city, and around 28 mpg on the highway. This car is one of the most "honest" cars I've ever owned. It just works without fuss or fanfare, and feels solid. I Have done nothing but oil changes, a differential and tranny fluid change, tire rotations, and inspections for maintenance, and Burt goes like a top! I hope to buy a new 2014 Subaru Forester based on my experience with this one, and I am one of the most "brand unloyal" owners out there!
The performance of this car is excellent. The brakes are strong, and the handling is confidence inspiring. I love driving this car in rain and snow because it always feels "planted," something I cannot say of some midsize sedans I've driven. The car feel solid and well built. Although aging, the interior has held up well and still is serviceable. I find the acceleration adequate, although I could see some saying it is a little "pokey."
The manual transmission is a bit notchy, and has long throws, making it tedious in traffic. Sometimes engaging reverse is difficult. There is a lot of wind noise at highway speeds. Some of the plastic on the dash is hard and looks cheap, although it has ultimately held up well. The back seat could use more legroom. Techie people would find this car way behind the times, but it is perfect for this dinosaur!
I bought this car used in 2009. In three years, I spend $2400 in repairs (rear bearings on both sides, head gasket, rocker bars in the front that were recalled, air conditioner compressor) and when I traded it in today for a 2012 Camry, the turbo was smoking and
the transmission was on it's way out too. It had 140K miles.
Parts are hard to come by, none of the charging ports worked on it and the check engine light was always coming on, which turned off the cruise control. in three years, I got to use the cruise control once.
It was a nightmare to own.
It was almost impossible to talk on speakerphone on the highway due to the road noise. and the backseat doesn't have any legroom.
The leather seats held up better than the rest of the car.
Make better cars, Subaru. This was my first and my last.
I've owned my Forester XT for 6 years now, and it has been a very fun car.
The only repair I've had is the alternator.
It's far faster than it looks and I love being able to floor it on the highway in 5th and it just goes.
It looks good, carries a fair amount of stuff when I go camping, and is great in the snow.
I love the engine in this car.
It pulls like a much, much bigger motor with little turbo lag.
The fold down seats give me plenty of cargo space when I need it, and I can fit 5 people in for short trips.
It drives like a tall wagon rather than an SUV like the newer model.
Lots of head space (I'm 6'3", and I can wear a fedora while driving).
This car could use a 6th gear.
I'm often over 3000rpm on the highway.
This would also help with my other complaint, the gas mileage.
For what it is and the era it's from, it gets decent gas mileage, but it's been far eclipsed by new technology.
Plus, it runs on premium.
Long distance trips can get uncomfortable, but I only have the cloth seats, not the leather.