1998 Subaru Forester Review
Price Estimate: $1,798 - $3,024
For sale nearby
- 186,252 milesNo accidents, 6 Owners, Personal use only4cylSouth Pacific Auto Sales (2,350 mi away)
Located in Albany, OR
AutoCheck Vehicle History Summary
Accident Free Vehicle: Yes
Personal Use Only: Yes
History Provider: AutoCheck
Title Details: Clean Title
Salvage Vehicle: No
Frame Damage: No
Theft History: No
Lemon Status: No
Free History Report: No
Features and Specs:
21 Combined MPG (19 City/25 Highway)
Certified Pre-Owned: No
Listed since: 10-18-2023
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Handles like a car. Accelerates like a car. Rides like a car.
- Travels off-road like a car.
Subaru attacks the mini-SUV market head-on with the Forester, which actually constitutes an SUV body on an Impreza platform with a Legacy engine under the hood. The most carlike of the mini-utes, Forester is also the most powerful. Airbags remain the full power variety, despite new rules allowing lower deployment speeds.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1998 Subaru Forester 4dr Wagon AWD and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.24 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$187/mo for Forester Base
Avg. Compact Car
What do you do when sport-utility buyers won't drive home in your all-wheel drive station wagon, which is dressed up like an SUV, because it's too "wagony" in appearance? If you're gutsy like Subaru, you put a taller, more squared-off body on your wagon chassis, and call it good. The new Forester is a Subaru parts bin exercise, and since the parts bin is rather small at Fuji Heavy Industries, which owns the upstart all-wheel drive automaker, the car is cobbled together from a mixture of Impreza and Legacy bits.
Based on the rally-proven Impreza platform, the Forester uses the same AWD system found in other Subaru models. The 2.5-liter boxer engine comes from the Legacy Outback and makes 165 horsepower in the Forester. This means the Forester has gobs more power than its primary competitors.
Also, thanks to its hunkered-down stance, low center of gravity, and car-based foundation, the Forester handles better than the Chevrolet Tracker, Honda CR-V, Suzuki Sidekick and Toyota RAV4. The trade-off is lower ground clearance and less capable off-road ability, but you weren't going to go too far off the beaten path anyway, were you? (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
Inside is room for four adults, with a rear center position marked off for a fifth rider in a pinch. Cargo space is equivalent to what you'd find in the RAV4 or Tracker, and storage room abounds.
Three Forester models are available: the base, the mid-level L and the high-end S. Air conditioning, roof rack, rear defogger, tachometer, power windows, tilt steering, rear wiper/washer and an 80-watt cassette stereo are standard on the base model. The L adds antilock brakes, power door locks, and cosmetic goodies. With a base price barely over $20,000, we believe the L will be Subaru's volume seller. The uplevel S gets a toothy chrome grille, alloy wheels, bigger tires, rear disc brakes, cruise control and upgraded interior trimmings. Remote keyless entry is optional on the L and S, while leather can be added to the S only. Options include CD player, alloy wheels, cruise control, trailer hitch and a variety of cosmetic upgrades.
While we are partial to the Impreza Outback Sport and Legacy Outback models, the Forester will attract buyers who want an inexpensive, functional all-wheel drive vehicle that looks like a truck and drives like a car. As long as Subaru can keep a lid on pricing, the Forester should pick right up where the Outback wagons leave off.
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4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.63 out of 5 stars
The best part is it was Free :D
1998 Subaru Forester 4dr Wagon AWD
I got this car back in October from my cousin who was getting a new car and didnt want to trade his Subie in. GO HIM! lol It is by far the best vehicle I've ever owned. Reliability is amazing, the car has 136k miles on it, and i drove 400 miles to Ohio through the rain soaked mountains of West Virginia with no problems. Enough said. For reference in the rest of this, the Subie I own is … a 2.5L 5 speed manual.
5 out of 5 stars
The Subaru That Keeps Going
1998 Subaru Forester L 4dr Wagon AWD
Unlike many other reviews that I have read on the 1998 Subaru Forester mine keeps going no matter what I do to it. I have never had a problem with head gaskets or wheel bearings. Yes I have replaced the timing belt at 80k but I do that with every new vehicle I buy. Other things that I have replaced over the life of the car are struts to an adjustable bilstein coil over , rotors and pads … to brembo drilled and sloted rotors and pads , cv joints were changed based on the fact the car had 150 k and it was time, clutch to a center force stage two and two sets of tires cause each set wore out after putting over 75 k on each.
5 out of 5 stars
So great, I won two of them!!
Joe I, 05/10/2017
1998 Subaru Forester S 4dr Wagon AWD
I currently have 2 forester S. I first had a white one with automatic transmission, bought for $2000.00 with 130k miles. Finally, at 170k, timing belt gave out and bent intake valves. I did most of the maintenance on the car since I owned it, with the exception of the timing belt (which apparently wasn't done right - failed after 1000 miles). It was immaculate. everything worked, … even the cruise control! Excellent in the snow and rain. Always confident that my Subaru would make it no matter the conditions. I was so devastated when the timing belt slipped that I needed another. I found another 1998 Subaru Forester S with 188,000 miles on it. Its black and has a manual transmission. This car is still like brand new!! No squeaks, rattles, clunking, ticking, smoking or knocking. This car drives and handles the way I'd expect a brand new one off of the showroom floor to. Best of all, its better on fuel than my automatic was. I've owned approximately 20 cars; all different makes and models. I'm hooked on my Subarus! You can't beat them!!
3.88 out of 5 stars
A Disappointment, 08/02/2006
1998 Subaru Forester L 4dr Wagon AWD
I'm a believer of the safety features after hitting a deer with the Forester at 65 mph on the freeway. I also love the way the Forester handles. But there were a few bugs that I wouldn't have expected given that the Legacy chassis had been out a while. First, the wheel bearings went out at 20K on two wheels. Then the oil seals went at 70K and 140K (just like our 95 Legacy). The head … gasket went out at 140K When I complained about a manufacturer defect at 70K because of similar problems with our Legacy, Customer Service said it was coincidence and wouldn't negotiate a better rate on repairs, stating the warranty went out at 60K. If you buy a Subie, you better extend the warranty!
1998 Forester Highlights
|Cost to Drive
All Seats In Place
|all wheel drive
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested