2009 Subaru Forester SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Subaru Forester SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Subaru Forester Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Flat 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 224 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Subaru Forester

  • Now more SUV-like than ever before, the 2009 Subaru Forester grows in useful ways while retaining much of the previous model's charm.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Standard all-wheel drive, spacious cabin with ample cargo space, comfortable ride, capable engines.

  • Cons

    Outdated four-speed automatic transmission, handling could be sharper.

  • What's New for 2009

    Redesigned for 2009, the Subaru Forester compact crossover SUV is bigger and more beautiful inside and out.

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Wow what an amazing turbo

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

Just purchased 09 turbo - forget the base - way underpowered, awful stereo. The turbo is a blast to drive, no lag at all! Punches holes in traffic. Amazing tight feel, great turning radius, better stereo - still not the greatest but not bad, perfect dog/hiking car. The best car for the rain - Seattle gets just a little rain - haha. Overall a really huge improvement over the last Forester and looks so much better, a very attractive car. Do not bother with the limited 3 grand for leather - Major rip off. Get the base turbo and be happy!

Dont buy xt

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

The engine on this car (turbo) blew up in a remote location late at night in a snow storm. We had kids in the car. BAD experience. Totally unacceptable for a car with 9600 miles on it. Subaru paid for the rental car for the time my car was at the dealer; plus got them to pay me $1000 for my hassle and pay for free scheduled maintenance on the car for the rest of the lease term. I was told by dealer that turbo engines have an oil piping problem. The turbo gets starved of oil. The result is mechanical failure of turbo. Metal pieces somehow get into engine. Bye-bye engine.

So far great car!!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

Went through the usual comparisons and narrowed it down to the Forrester XT and the Rav 4 six cylinder. Living at altitude in CO, I wanted an SUV that had some power to easily get up steep grades. I liked the look of the Forrester and the fact that the Subbie AWD felt superior to Toyota's 4WD. Of course the safety features also helped. Bought the Forrester and have 800 miles on it so far. No regrets at all. The turbo is a blast, the car rides extremely smooth and it looks great in Dark Gray Metallic. The only sacrifice is the extra cash for premium gas... which I balanced out by quitting lattes. I've been getting 24 MPG in mixed driving which is better than most SUVs.

Fun to drive

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Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

After exhaustive test drives and visits to a variety of dealerships, two small suvs stood out. The new Ravs are nice, especially the 6 cylinder, but the 2009 Subie XT was the ticket. Had to drive over 100 miles to get the color (sage green) we wanted. This car is fun-fun to drive. It will go fast, like changing lanes and passing 18 wheelers in a less than 3 seconds. Our 2002 Rav could only try. Fit/finish is up to the toyota standards and thats good. But the ergonomics are much better. All around visibility is great. Tight U-turner.

Great car.

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

We bought our Forester Turbo at a little over $26k USD. The inside is amazingly spacious, enough legroom for 4 decently sized adults. Turbo hits hard from like 2500RPM-5000RPM, which is more than necessary for normal driving. Yeah, it could use a 5th gear because the high RPMs feel dead, but it's really not necessary. It goes fast enough. Tiptronic is nice. Your mileage will top out at about actually 27mpg for 100% highway driving, no AC and windows open at a constant speed of 60MPH (2100RPM). The XT WILL embarrass any other 4- cylinder car (with the exception of the really high end ones) and it will most certainly keep up with the 6's and 8's. Adequate trunk space. 5 star crash rating.

It made me a fan

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A)

Up until this June I have owned Jeeps. Always 4x4 or AWD and never figured I would drive anything "non- American". With gas going higher I had to get something newer and found this new Subie to be fantastic in MPG and fun. I never believed that anything could be so much fun to drive and still be a SUV. It has plenty of room, 9 inches of ground clearance, handles like a sports car and rides like a Cadillac. It has made me a believer and a fan. If everything I have read about this and previous Subarus is true, I will enjoy driving this one for a very long time.


Full 2009 Subaru Forester Review

What's New for 2009

Redesigned for 2009, the Subaru Forester compact crossover SUV is bigger and more beautiful inside and out.


The Subaru Forester has long been an offbeat entrant in the compact crossover SUV class; in fact, we weren't sure it technically belonged in that class. While some of its competitors featured jacked-up ride heights and butch aesthetics, the all-wheel-drive Subaru didn't sit that much higher than a typical station wagon -- and it kind of looked like one, too. Despite this quirky model's loyal following among folks in colder climes, Subaru decided it was time to tackle the segment leaders head-on. Enter the fully redesigned 2009 Subaru Forester.

Although it's still based on the same platform as the compact Impreza, which was itself redesigned for 2008, this new Forester can look the competition square in the eye. The 2009 Forester rides on a 103.0-inch wheelbase, some 3.6 inches greater than before. It's also 3 inches longer overall, about an inch taller and has more ground clearance. Combined with a more traditional SUV styling treatment, these changes give the Forester an unprecedentedly rugged persona, even if few owners are likely to put its middling off-road chops to the test.

The outgoing model's carlike handling has generally been retained, thanks to improved chassis rigidity, wider front and rear tracks and a new double-wishbone rear suspension in place of the old car's strut-based setup. However, don't expect the new Forester to corner like a sport wagon -- extra height and ground clearance along with increased suspension travel add up to lots of bounce and roll in corners. Happily, the trade-off is a compliant ride, and the compactness of the new suspension frees up extra space inside -- especially in the cargo hold. Rear legroom and overall comfort have also been dramatically expanded, and the new Forester sports a well-constructed and attractive control layout.

Overall, the Forester is a comfortable and practical people mover that looks like an SUV, drives like a car (albeit one that's tall and softly sprung) and offers the security of standard AWD. And although there are no major engine upgrades for 2009, the Forester's performance remains satisfactory. We're not sure why Subaru elected to offer the Forester with a four-speed automatic transmission instead of the company's five-speed unit, as this puts the redesigned crossover at a distinct disadvantage relative to top-selling competitors like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. On the whole, though, the 2009 Subaru Forester has outgrown its quirky phase and looks like a legitimate contender for the compact crossover SUV crown.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Subaru Forester compact crossover SUV is available in three trim levels: 2.5X, 2.5X Limited, 2.5XT and 2.5XT Limited. The Forester 2.5X is equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories and a four-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary audio jack. The 2.5XT model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, roof rails, a sunroof, a tilt/telescoping steering column, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, reclining rear seats and a six-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer. The 2.5XT Limited throws in heated mirrors, automatic climate control, a power driver seat, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Optional for the 2.5X is the Premium Package, which adds 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, a power sunroof and a reclining rear seatback. When equipped with the Premium package, the 2.5X is also eligible for one of two additional option packages. The all-weather package includes heated side mirrors, a wiper de-icer and heated front seats. Going with the 2.5X Limited gets you the all-weather package's equipment plus foglights, a power driver seat, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, automatic climate control, and a six-speaker CD audio system with a six-CD changer. There are no available options on the 2.5XT. The Forester 2.5X Limited and 2.5XT Limited, however, can be outfitted with a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The Forester 2.5X is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. It's available with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. (L.L. Bean Editions come with the automatic only.) Forester XT models have a turbocharged version of this engine that churns out 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission is mandatory on turbocharged models. Every Forester is equipped with AWD. EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2.5X is 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, the XT returns an estimated 19 city/24 highway and 21 combined.


Standard safety features on all 2009 Subaru Foresters include antilock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Subaru Forester is blessed with a more stylish but no less functional interior than its predecessor, with visually interesting contours complementing generally straightforward controls. Enlarged dimensions have given rise to a roomier rear seat, and the cargo area out back has broadened by more than 5 inches compared with the outgoing model. While the last Forester boasted maximum cargo volume on par with its Toyota and Honda rivals, its passenger compartment was somewhat cramped by comparison. This is thankfully no longer the case, rendering the new Forester a more well-rounded entry.

Driving Impressions

While the 2009 Subaru Forester offers an impressively compliant ride for this class, winding roads throw its soft suspension for a loop. Subaru knows that most drivers won't be hustling their Foresters through corners, so it has understandably prioritized comfort over canyon carving capability. To Subaru's credit, the Forester's composure over bumps and ruts is beyond reproach. Accurate steering and an excellent driving position round out the Forester's refined driving character.

Under the hood, 2.5X models measure up well against other four-cylinder compact crossover SUVs. Performance with the optional turbocharged engine is brisk, but less so than last year's manual-shift XT model, which drove like an Impreza WRX on stilts. The anachronistic four-speed automatic perceptibly blunts the performance of both engines.


Talk About The 2009 Forester

2009 Subaru Forester Discussions See all Started By

The 2009 Forester will be unveiled in Japan this Christmas and in the USA in January 2009. What will happen with the Forester 2008? Will the Forester 2008 and the Forester 2009 be sold during the year...

currently in my Family we own 3 Subarus 2007 forester, 2009 Outback and a 2011 legacy, The 2007 forester at 85,000 was noticed by dealer the head gasket was leaking oil and told me to monitor. Now at...

The maintenance guide for my 2009 Subaru Forester Premium NON Turbo under federal specifications recommends replacing the spark plugs every 30K miles for the NON turbo 2009 Subaru Forester is this rea...

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