Excellent winter vehicle, though slightly underpowered
By ruslan on
2004 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Generally speaking, it is a great small utility vehicle that that drives like a car. It is an excellent winter vehicle, but it is not best for highway driving. It lacks power for comfortable passing, and down-shift is on the slow side. And, highway wind and road noise are on the noisier side. I took it for a 4000mile/6000km drive from Canada to California. It handled nicely when it was +24C and during winter blizzard when I-15 got closed for hours. I haven't had major problems with the vehicle, except sunroof does no longer work. And, parts and service are a bit expensive, especially in Canada.
Handling - especially during winter, heated seats, heated windshield wipers and side mirrors, safety features, relatively compact size - easy to park in tight spots, panoramic sunroof, when it works, higher seating position. I also prefer premium cloth seats with leather inserts to full-leather seats.
I love the vehicle for its versatility. I brought a full wall unit from IKEA that was probably over 200 lbs on its roof rails using a 2x4 cut in half. Another time, I used it to bring loads of sod. And, this can go on and on.
It is my primary vehicle during winter, but I personally prefer a V6 mid-size sedan during warmer seasons.
I caught myself swearing a few times when the vehicle just would not accelerate fast enough. The engine is underpowered for this all-time-AWD equipped vehicle. It weighs as much as a mid-size vehicle and does not have great aerodynamics. The AT transmission is only 4-speed with the down-shift that is on the slow side. If you try flooring the gas pedal shortly after the transmission up-shifts, very likely you would experience
about 1/2 sec. hesitation until you would feel increase in the engine power.
Due to all-time-AWD and only 4AT fuel consumption is also quite heavy, but on-par with mid-size V6 vehicle. Frame-less side windows design increases road noise. Service and parts are expensive