This was my 2nd Subaru and it will surely be my last. I should have known better after our '93 Legacy wagon broke 2 timing belts, blew a head gasket, and needed both front wheel drive axles replaced-all before 36,000 miles. Nevertheless, I traded it on a new '04 Forester 2.5X because it was the best deal we could get. Never again! The right front wheel well liner came loose and fell out before 10,000 miles. The transmission began to give us trouble at 15,000 miles. The whole car vibrated while turning even though we faithfully had it serviced & the tires rebalanced and rotated every 3,000 miles at the dealers. The windows leaked and whistled in the wind whenever you exceeded 35 MPH. Junk!!!
There are two things for which I am grateful! One, that despite all of its failures, the Forester lasted long enough until we could save enough $$$ to get rid of it. And two, when we finally unloaded it for a new Ford Escape, we got a relatively good price as a trade.
We returned the Subaru every 3,000 miles to the dealer to have the oil changed, routine maintenance performed, tires rotated, etc. Every time we took it in, they found something that needed to be replaced! It ended up costing us roughly $350 every 3,000 miles just for upkeep. That shouldn't happen!!!
A great car in most aspects except paint. Have commuted 110 miles round trip for years with Hondas. The Subaru paint on the front plastic components has become heavily pitted from bugs in spite of frequent washings. Looks trashy on the front. Now I am getting a milky residue on the entire exterior. No known exposure to air borne pollutants. Waxed regularly. Washed predominantly by hand with proper washing materials. The black pearl paint looks great except it shows both of these blemishes rather dramatically. Subaru only offered to pay 1/2 cost of bumper repainting. A real disappointment.
I bought a silver Forester because of the snow and ice we get in Eastern Oregon. This car exceeded expectations. I never got below 25 MPG on the hwy, and around 22 in town. When "Chains Required" signs are posted on the interstate, this car buzzed past all the cars chaining up. Subaru is amazing for their safety and high quality. Because my son survived an extreme accident with only bruises I can endorse this car fully. I'm not saying another car wouldn't have performed as well. But this Subaru when put to the test, passed with flying colors.
Alas, this car gave up its life and saved my son in the process. He was driving on I-84 from Portland near Cascade Locks, OR in torrential rain & icy conditions. He attempted to pass a tractor-trailer. The truck changed lanes and ran over the passenger side of the car. He walked away with bruises
This car is a 10 all round. It may seem strange that I gave all 10's but this is purely in consideration of the type of car it is. For performance for example, some may say that it is slow, especially for 165 hp. However, in any conditions with poor traction, it is absolutely essential for good performance (ie not sliding off the road) that power delivery isn't snappy and immediate. Handling is surprisingly good for the type of car it is and this must in part be due to the low center of gravity of the boxer engine.
AWD, not too big, economical, handling, styling, boxer engine, tan interior is nice
My second Forester was the 2004 and it was such a good, solid car. I've listened to so many "regular car" drivers complain about snow, ice, etc. I never had those problems with this Forester or the one I traded in to get this one (1998). Just traded it in for a Legacy which I love, but I do miss all the storage cubbies in the Forester! I really love the Subaru line - so many things that are "extra" in other brands are "standard" for Subaru, such as carpeted mats, keyless remote, etc. Between that, the AWD, and a good dealership, I'm a Subaru owner for life!
Solid feel; gas mileage; storage cubbies; AWD.
The rear hatch bar that's used to close the back door had some rusting/bubbling of paint. Didn't like the styling of the car; my husband called it a "giant roller skate". Also the Forester had a hard, "truck-like" ride.