2005 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
My ownership experience was short, and for good reason. This vehicle is deceivingly small, slow to respond to driver input, and extremely noisy. The windows are prone to extreme wind noise, and there is no good fix for it. Autotragic transmission felt as if it was on life support at 50,000 miles. If you have to buy one of these, look for a stick shift. Gas mileage is decent for an AWD vehicle, I think that I averaged 22-23. If you are looking for a roomy family vehicle, keep looking. My old Honda Civic was bigger than this tin can.
AWD, front seat reasonably comfortable, good in the rain
Worst window design in automotive history (so noisy that you would think that the window was open), stupidest automatic transmission around (it completely ignores driver input).
We've had our Forester XT Turbo for 5 years now and it has over 130,000 miles. It sees hard daily use for both business and personal reasons. In comparing this with other small SUVs which we test drove, like the RAV4, CR-V, Liberty, Highlander and Pilot, there was simply no comparison. It easily out accelerated, braked and handled all the others. The interior has lots of neat little compartments to store everything from pens, pencils, cups, change, glasses, map books and more. The H4 engine performs very well, but tends to use more oil than most fours we've had. Problems at 100,000K have been a new radiator, cam timing belt and power steering pump. Gas mileage is mediocre at 20.
Engine is simply brilliant. Reliable, powerful and easy to work on. All service points to check fluid levels or fill are marked in bright yellow. Oil changes are very easy and both the filter and drain are accessed through a single hinged panel on the bottom. Great engineering.
Oil fill tube should be higher to prevent spills. Driver seat trim should be attached better. XT should be available with gray cloth seats, not just leather. Center fold down armrest would be nice on back seats. Wind noise at high speed on windshield trim should be fixed.
I bought this car for its size, performance and reliability. I now have over 100K miles on it and it has had no issues and drives like the day I bought it. I will say the OEM tires had to go at about 15K miles. I also installed sport springs and stiffer sway bars. Those simple improvements greatly increased handling. The automatic has performed perfectly but could use a extra gear which would help in the gas mileage. I do get about 25 MPG overall as I do a lot of highway driving. The fits well in my small garage too.