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.
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.
Purchased the car based on Consumer reviews. Car has lived in the shop: valves, clutch, brakes, radio, etc. The car handles well but no power and no room for kids. Most expensive car I've ever owned based on days in shop and dollars in repairs. I keep cars for 10+ years but looking forward to parking this one under a tree and walking away from it. Subaru dealerships have a lot of swagger about the belief of what they read in consumer reports. Unfortunately this attitude makes it "your fault" that the valves fail after 60 k miles and be prepared for very long waits for parts. Took 3 weeks to get in a new rear windshield wiper arm. None of the needed work has been under warranty.
Tight steering and control on the road
Warranty is too short. Needs more space and power. Subject to major engine problems
This car is great except for fuel and maintenance costs. Plugs only last 50000 and cost 300-400 to replace due to complexity of the flat design and the turbo plumbing. Most recently I had a raw gas odor requiring replacement of fuel hoses which required removing the intake manifold for repairs. Also found an air turbo intake hose with a hole in it ($100).
Performance, fun to drive.
Simplify the intake manifold system for maintenance. Easier spark plug replacement.
I enjoy my Forester but the paint (black) has not held up well at all. I thought Subaru was built for harsh weather. I live in the south - no snow and ice here. My driver's seat has a tear in the "leather" trim. My goal is to drive the car until it has 200K miles. I am guessing that I will have no paint left by that time. I took the car back to the dealer before the warranty expired and they could not help me with the paint. Are you kidding me - my next car will not be a Subaru for this reason alone.
I like that I can haul all my outdoor toys at one time.
Paint and interior trim needs serious improvement.