The 05 Forester is a long overdue replacement for a 91 Suzuki Sidekick. The Forester is very solid, well-built, responsive and fun to drive. The driving position is excellent and the extra leg room up front is wonderful. The fit and finish seems very fine and so far I have not found any flaws needing correction. Gas mileage is super, even in an all city commuting usage. My Scottish Terrier enjoys the small back seat. The cargo area seems large enough to handle shopping and hualing duties.
The smooth running and strong pulling boxer engine makes driving fun. The transmission is well matched. Excellent heating/cooling/vent system. Good sound system. Comfortable front seating.
The rear hatch is a little awkward and difficult for me to operate. An opening rear window would be an excellent addition. The lack of a window frame seems flimsy, the window shakes when opening/ closing the door if it is partially up or down. Getting in and out requires some contortions.
I just traded my 2003 Mazda Tribute for a 2005 Forester XT. Although the Tribute served us well, it wasn't exactly the "driver's SUV" as it was advertised. I needed a compromise. A car that will give us similar utility as the Tribute but also the driving performance of a sports car. When I test drove the XT, I knew right away that I've found such a car. This car is as quick as it is fast with enough handling and braking to complement such beastly power (I think Subaru underrated the 210 horsepower). I may have sacrificed a little bit of passenger and cargo space, but the amazing performance, better safety rating, and slightly better gas mileage pretty much made up for it and then some.
Blistering acceleration, smooth and quiet engine (maybe too smooth), the peace of mind of having one of the best AWD system in the world, highest safety ratings, and I love listening to that turbo as it spools for instant power, :).
Better sound system, it sounded muffled, better brake feel, how about some privacy glass (tinted windows).
This car has got to be the best handling vehicle that I have ever purchased. It go through the turns like it's on a slot-car track. I've put 2,000 miles on it so far and am getting 28.5 mpg on the highway. City is about 23mpg. The leather seats are firm and comfortable and with the 8- way power driver seat, you do not tire on longer trips. The 6-CD player has decent sound and all of the driver controls are easy to read and reach.
The large power moonroof is fantastic! It almost feels as if you are in a convertible. The symmetrical AWD makes car handle superbly on wet and dry roads. What a blast to drive. Fit and finish are very good as well.
I have only driven this car 4000 miles so far. We did take it up to Canada and had no problems. Handles great especially on curves and hills. Good gas mileage. I have always driven a v8 and this is my first 4 cylinder. For all you drivers out there with long legs this just might be the vehicle for you! The Forester really surprised me. This was one major plus for me purchasing this SUV. I've turned down tons of vehicles due to front seat leg room. And the back seat leg room doesn't matter much anyway with me driving. The moon roof is huge, lots of storage, bells and whistles a plus. Only gripe is no auto door locks. Have to keep reminding myself to lock the doors. I'll adjust because car is great.
Leg room is my favorite feature. This little SUV has more leg room when driving then most of the bigger SUVs I test drove and I looked for 3 months for a vehicle!
Automatic doors locks would be great. It has everything else you could want.