I bought the car as a project car with one of the cylinders literally smashed. I've used and worked on Subarus for 4 years. 2.5 liter DOHC Phase I engine is awful. 2.2 engines were much more reliable. After installing an engine with 120000 miles on it it works great. It's a small SUV, really fun to drive. Handles great on snow and rain.
Small SUV, ground clearance.
I hope new Phase II 2.5 SOHC engine is better. Phase I had a lot of problems with piston slap and head gaskets. (I had to fix 2 of them one on my Legacy Outback, the other on Forester. after blowing the second engine on Outback I installed 2.2 liter and using it happily since then).
Great car dependable, excellent in the snow. Low maintenance cost.
Height to get in and out. Great for elderly. Height to load and unload groceries and the many other large items is great!
Better gas mileage, I am currently looking for a environmental friendly vehicle. I thought the B9 looked great but gas mileage stinks. Hurry up, I want to stick with Subaru and not give up the SUV, Prius's are ugly.
In 1998 I was looking for something safe, reliable, small, but still enough room for all my stuff. The Forester has met all my expectations. The only problem was keeping the front end in line. Investing in a good set of tires and being careful not to run into curbs has solved the problem.
The Forester just plain looks good. Everything I need fits in it. Small enough to park anywhere. Enough power to drive interstate highways. The 4 wheel drive and low center of gravity keeps the car on the road.
We have 170,000+ miles on our Subie and still feel that it is one of the best cars we have ever owned. I have used and probably abused it back and forth across the US and Canada, from California to Prince Edward Island, from Key West to Vancouver, BC. What a joy of a car to own.