I have owned this car for over 13 years and put 270,000 and counting miles on it. The car has held up to everything I throw at it and never left me stranded. It has even held up to numerous exhaust, engine and suspension modifications I have thrown at it during my weekend tinkering since the warranty expired at 50k in early '05. It currently produces about 195hp and 190ft-lb of torque, but it has been higher during past setups. Currently riding on STI suspension for the winter (AGX struts and springs in storage from the summer) Subaru accessories are great, I have the cargo box, the crossbars and the bike rack. With bike rack, there is no noticeable change in noise or drag, minimal changes with the cargo box. I elected to replace the trans at 200k because the syncronizers were failing (I highly suspect it was due to increased power from my mods). People will also tell you about the head gaskets failing, however this isn't as big a deal as it seems. I pull the spark plug boots every once in a while and if I see oil on them I replace the head gaskets for a whopping $20 and an hour of my time every 75-100k. Tires can last 60k or more, just be sure to rotate and cross-rotate them because the stock rear camber is slightly negative so they do wear if you don't rotate. Front brake discs and pads might need more frequent replacement since there is only minimal braking effort from the rear drums, however the original rear drums lasted until 250k. All this service has been performed by me and I can tell you from experience this is one of the easiest cars to work on.
Things I have done with this car:
-Gone out in virtually every snowstorm to hit in Northern Maryland and never gotten stuck. It even pulled a colleague's pickup when it was stuck in a snow drift. All of that with All-season tires. (I like Continental Pro-Contact, but have used Kumhos a few times when funds were low with good results.)
-Driven to Florida and Colorado multiple times (from Maryland)
-Some moderate off-roading (with stock suspension)
-Hauled 1000lbs of wood in the back and on the roof multiple times.
-Towed a loaded U-Haul trailer
-Gotten 27+ mpg on the highway (new, stock rating was 25)
At 2 yrs old developed small oil drops leaks 20k miles.
At 3yrs started to drip coolant on driveway and oil
Dealer would not cover this fix because Subaru claimed only the Forester has bad gaskets but they asked me for my VIN any way.
They gave me a bottle of head gasket sealer for 2$ and told me they were going to charge me $3500 for new gasket replacement.
The very fact that the dealer even stocked(sealant) and basically gave it to me indicated that they have a widespread problem.
It did not work. Used Bars Stop Leak instead.
2014 75k add coolant twice a week and code (Knock) triggered prob due to worn bearings from water in oil.
Small size and good cargo capacity
Bad fuel economy. For Weight and power ave 20mi in city , 27Hwy.
Terrible for 4 cyl.
My six cylinder 3.8 l 3500lb boxy 87 automatic Buick Grand National gets 34 by camparison. Got stuck in snow high centered because of 2 open diffs does not power wheel side w traction.
I assume the new symetrical drive takes care of this now.
Make 4 wheel drive defeatable so better fuel economy w fw drive like a jeep patriot.
This is my third Subaru. Previous was an 04 Sti and 98 2.5 rs. This car is very reliable even at 200K plus miles. I have replaced the 02 sensor once. The slide pins for the front calipers stuck, so those got replaced. Both pretty common. The valve in the AC had to be replaced, a bit of a pain to get to, but not a huge issue ($30 part).
The interior is that of any Subaru. If you are coming from a luxury vehicle, you might not like it. Always seems to be cheaply made, but I've never had any issues.
Would recommend to anyone needing an overall reliable car. Any Subaru really.
The interior space. There have been many times where we loaded this car up with more stuff than I thought was possible/you don't need a truck.
Gas mileage. Never did like the bug eye much (the front headlight setup), lucky it's gone.
My son bought it used with 170,000 km in 2007 and I got it from him with about 210,000 km. This month it turned 300,000 km. Engine and transmission all original but have small oil leak, probably from valve cover gasket. Had trouble with A/C compressor - replaced this summer (after 11 years of service). Had to overhaul front end - ball joints, tie rod ends, again after 11 years. Shock absorbers started leaking last year - I think 10 years is as good as it gets for driving through Canadian winters. And so apart from some rust (se reference to Canadian winters above), the vehicle looks and driving qualities are the same when we got it, and I even suspect it drives like new.
Road stability, acceleration, comfortable front seats.
Until I got new tires which i selected for comfort, I thought the car was overly noisy during highway driving. However, it's very quiet now.
Rust over rear wheel wells seems to be a problem but I am not sure what improvements Subaru can make to counter salt and water on the roads.
I bought my Blue WRX wagon because I liked the way it performed in the WRC rallys. The car was my favorite and was a stout performer. I'd still have it if it wasn't for the super stiff clutch wearing my left knee out. Replaced it with a 2005 RS wagon
Speed, AWD, looks
Improve the HVAC airflow, lighter clutch, better cup holders