Used 2002 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews - 66 Car Reviews | Edmunds

2002 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

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This car is overrated!
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By John Thomas
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

The head gasket had to be replaced after 120,000 miles. I've owned other cars and have never had to replace a head gasket - period. The wind noise is excessive and it is difficult to carry on a conversation. Subaru knew the head gasket were sub-par and their solution was a additive to the coolant and they should have replaced the gasket at no cost to the consumer as this was know by them shortly after the cars were produced. The additive was a short term fix, to get the cars out of warranty so the consumer was stuck with the repair bill.


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Decent Second Car
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By jtentromon@aol.com
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

The 2002 forester we have was bought used with 6000 miles on it. It was always our second run around car and served that purpose very well. It was always serviced on time but the engine developed an oil leak at 60,000 miles. Very expensive to repair ($5000). Really not worth getting repaired at this point we are going to trade it in. Gas mileage was about 18 miles per gallon.


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One of my family's seven Subarus (over many years)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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By Customer Forever
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester S AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 5M)


Review

I only let my wife and kids drive Subaru. They may not be the fastest (not meant to be, never claimed to be) but they will go through anything. They handle perfectly in snow and rain, even in very deep snow. Maintenance costs are reasonable and far between. We owned a 4 cyl. 2.5L 2002 Outback sedan from new and got it up to just under 230,000 miles (under by about 1,500 miles). The six cylinders are bulletproof engines, the four cylinders are still very good. The only complaint I have is the head gasket issue (they wear out around 100,000 miles) and this is being worked on. My personal favorite is the Forester, I currently drive a manual five-speed 2002 forester. I can feel safe letting my kids drive knowing that if they mess up or another driver does they will be okay inside of their Subaru. They are also very easy to fix yourself if you know about cars or just watch some youtube.


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Subaru? Never before, never again
17 of 22 people found this review helpful
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By Richard
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester S AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

I used to hear that Subarus were some of the most well built and reliable cars on the road. I believed that hype and bought this car three months ago because I wanted a wagon and the reliability that were both so easy to find with Subarus. I saw this S model being advertised for a great price and test drove it. It felt solid, but had a few issues that I figured were not deal breakers and would be easy, cheap fixes. The things I noticed and what I thought:

A loud hum coming from the rear - wheel bearing, which I could get done for around $250
Central locking did not work - blown fuse
Clock did not work - blown fuse
Cruise control did not work - blown fuse, disconnected vacuum hose

With that in mind, I paid what would be a slightly discounted price and I drove it home. I started to check fuses left, right and centre and found all to be in tact. After a day or so, I fixed the clock, which turned out to be a bad solder on the clock's circuit board. The central locking turned out to be an issue with the module located under the dashboard and could not be repaired. I ended up fixing it eventually by installing an aftermarket module and wiring it in with the factory actuators. I've thus far been unable to get the lock switches on the doors to function with the aftermarket system. The cruise control still does not work. It either has a bad module or a bad vacuum system, both of which would cost more than the car is worth to replace. After a few days of ownership I tackled the wheel bearing and it did come in under $250, which was pleasing, but it took two days to do because of stubborn bolts. But my pleasure ended moments after driving the car a few miles. I realised I had a blown exhaust system, the sound of which was hidden by the noisy wheel bearing. After fixing the blown exhaust I noticed yet another sound, a thumping at speeds above 25mph. This turned out to be bad front axles. I went ahead and changed the axles and the front wheel bearings. After replacing the axles I noticed a strange vibration at idle. Research told me that this was typical of Subarus if aftermarket axles were used instead of original Subaru parts. I was warned that they would be toast in a few weeks and I would have to replace them yet again. Here I am, about a month later and I'm again starting to hear the thumping I heard before. I'm also hearing a whine as I accelerate and I simply have no clue where that is coming from.

I've since learnt that ALL the problems I have been seeing are inherent. I have totally had it with this vehicle and Subaru will never, ever get me as another customer. I hate to even see the name Subaru now and I feel so sorry for the hundreds of thousands of poor saps that are being duped into buying these garbage cars. It is absolutely the worst car I have ever owned. The online Subaru community is inept and ignorant. The owner's and workshop manuals are incomplete and recondite. The latter has gross errors in it, such as wiring diagrams that do not have the same colour wires as exist in the car. The online parts portal at Subaru's website is also lacking, often not showing some very basic parts. Sickening, is how I would describe this experience. I've spent more on repairs in three months than what I paid for the car. I'll be working tirelessly to get rid of this thing once and for all, and when I do I will never return to this brand.


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A few problems, but a great little daily driver
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
Performance
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By Eric
on

Vehicle

2002 Subaru Forester L AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)


Review

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.


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