Used 2002 Subaru Forester

2002 Subaru Forester
List price range
2002 Subaru Forester


  • Highest offset crash scores in its class, car-like ride and handling with rugged SUV styling.


  • Not made for serious off-roading.
Subaru Forester years

Used 2002 Subaru Forester for Sale

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An enjoyable vehicle that can't quite match the versatility of other mini SUVs.

vehicle overview

With the Forester, Subaru offers a no-nonsense mini-SUV for those who need the versatility of a small wagon with the grip of all-wheel drive (AWD). The Forester's platform is comprised of previous-generation Legacy and Impreza components. This is mostly a good thing, as the Forester rides and handles like a car, not a clumsy truck, and gets gas mileage that won't have you going broke or feeling guilty about rapidly depleting our finite fuel supply. The downside of the Forester's architecture is that it's not meant for hard-core off-road duty, which will probably be a non-issue for 99 percent of the people who would consider purchasing one. Tackling poor-weather driving conditions and getting to the campground or mountain bike trailhead are what the Forester is geared for.

All Foresters come with Subaru's 2.5-liter flat four that pumps out 165 horsepower, substantially more power than its competitors' four-bangers and even more ponies than some other mini-SUVs' V6s. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Opt for the automatic and you'll get a smart tranny that knows when to hold a gear to optimize engine braking when descending a hill or prevent hunting between gears when going uphill. A fully independent suspension contributes to the Forester's agility, as does a lower center of gravity than most of its rivals, such as the Honda CR-V and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

There are two trim levels in the Forester line: base L and up-level S. Air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, cruise control, antilock brakes and a stereo with cassette deck are all standard on the L. The S ups the ante with 16-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, a six-disc CD changer, heated seats and leather wrapping for the steering wheel, gearshift handle and parking brake handle. If that's not enough luxury for you, a Premium package for the S adds a huge power moonroof, front side airbags, gold accents for the wheels and a monotone color scheme. Want leather seats? You can have 'em as an option, but only on S models with both the Premium package and automatic gearbox.

Safety conscious consumers will be pleased to find that in the offset crash test (arguably the most realistic scenario in a collision), the Forester scored the highest rating in its class.

Apart from a couple of minor flaws, such as funky upholstery on the L model and minute stereo controls, the Forester is a well-rounded vehicle that offers active folks a fun, safe and functional ride.

2002 Highlights

Subaru's mini-SUV/tall wagon gains three new standard features: a cargo area cover, daytime running lights and an intermittent mode for the rear wiper. Other changes include a new color for the Forester S' lower body cladding (from Titanium Pearl to Graystone Metallic) and the option of leather seating for S models equipped with the Premium package and automatic transmission.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Subaru Forester.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A few problems, but a great little daily driver
I bought this car with 99k on the clock for $6000. I've bought several used cars over the last 20 years and have had pretty good luck. But this has been the best little car! I have a long drive to work, so I need a no-frills, comfortable, car with basic amenities (power locks/windows/mirrors, etc) that can eat miles no matter what the weather. I also own a sports car and a MINI, so I need cargo space. The little Subaru hauled me, my family, and my crap over 85,000 largely uneventful miles through rain, snow, ice, grass, and mud over the last 6 years. I've been through deep water and snow up to the bumper. You can't get this car stuck. I have had a few problems, most of which are related to fact that the shady dealership I bought it from turned off the check engine light. Used oil analysis showed that there was coolant and oil in my oil, so I had the head gaskets done along with the timing at a cost of $3000. I also spent a grand on a new catalytic converter, which was fouled by burning coolant. The rest of the maintenance, other than routine brake and suspension upkeep, I did myself, including oil, filters, lights, belts, hoses, plugs/wires, new alternator, etc. One of the best things about this car is that it's easy to work on (even for a novice like me), which saved me thousands. Despite the head gasket, this little car was as reliable as a metronome. Every time I turned the key, it started and ran perfectly no matter what. It's compact and easy to maneuver, has a TON of grip for the little tires (AWD), and gets 25 mpg. Crash ratings are 4-star, so I felt good teaching my kids to drive in it. The interior is pretty crappy...the seats are uncomfortable, the back seats have limited leg room, the interior materials are terrible, and the interior ergonomics don't make any sense. But I love it. I get the Subaru thing now. They're ugly ducklings and they're not that nice inside, but they inspire so much confidence through how they start, run, feel, and drive that they just get under your skin. I'm trading this car today for a 1999 Legacy Outback with low mileage and look forward to more of the same.
Going for 300K!
I purchased my Forester in Feb of 2002. It was one of only a handle of vehicles around that fit my requirements: storage room for my dj equipment, AWD, great fuel economy, and manual trans. I just went over 250K last week and my goal for 300K is within reach. Once I hit 300K, then I will be shopping for a new Forester. Vehicle handles well and is very reliable. I replaced original clutch at 190K! May not need another one before 300K.
Bought used in 2011 - my 6th Subaru
Had a 2002 Outback automatic - a great car but wanted to go back to a manual transmission. Really enjoy driving this Forester - somehow it rides better than the Outback with a shorter wheelbase. Excellent visibility, easy to get in and out of. Geared lower than my '98 Outback which turned around 3200 rpm @ 65mph, the Forester is around 2750. Engine has enough torque to handle moderate hills in 5th gear. Never feels under powered. A lot of room for it's size - cargo capacity very close to an '02 Grand Cherokee. Feels like a sports car with high seating. Bought it at 98k, have about 104k now. Not a concern since I have a company vehicle.
Still Going Strong
This Forester has been in daily use since we bought it new. It has had very few problems. Replacing the catalytic converter was the only signficant item so far. We also had to replace the CD player module when it started eating disks and keeping them! I was impressed that Subaru voluntarily replaced all the engine gaskets at no cost after some head gasket seepage was noted during dealer service. I for one like the placement of the cupholder, even though it puts your cup in front of the air distribution control knob. The cup is ergonomically in a good position -- up high and easy to reach. The holder looks flimsy, but it hasn't broken. A great little vehicle, easily the best I have owned.
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Features & Specs

19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2002 Subaru Forester features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Subaru Forester
Used 2002 Subaru Forester Overview

The Used 2002 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: Forester Wagon. Available styles include L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A), S AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A), S AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A), S AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Leather Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A), L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M), S AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 5M), and S AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Subaru Forester?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 Subaru Foresters are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Subaru Forester for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Subaru Forester.

Can't find a used 2002 Subaru Foresters you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Forester for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $11,179.

Find a used Subaru for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $25,276.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru Forester for sale - 10 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,158.

Find a used certified pre-owned Subaru for sale - 6 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,616.

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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Subaru Forester?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Subaru lease specials
Check out Subaru Forester lease specials