Used 2003 Subaru Forester

2003 Subaru Forester
List price range
$2,200 - $6,000

Pros

  • Standard all-wheel drive, availability of upscale features, high safety scores.

Cons

  • Only one engine choice, price can be higher than most of the competition.

Used 2003 Subaru Forester for Sale

Subaru Forester 2003 XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
99,124 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
XS
List$6,000
Est.Loan: $123/mo
Fair Deal!
Fair Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
Prices subject to change without notice and do not include Title, License, Registration Fees, State or Local Taxes or Processing Fees, if any. Please contact seller first for vehicle availability
Subaru Forester 2003 X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
146,424 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
X
List$2,700
Est.Loan: $56/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
Platinum Silver Metallic 2003 Subaru Forester 2.5X AWD 4-Speed Automatic with Overdrive 2.5L H4 SMPI SOHC Here at Hagerstown Ford, each one of our vehicles must pass a rigorous 172 point inspection to be sold on our lot. We pride ourselves on the vehicles we have for sale and do our best to accurately describe them. All of our Used Vehicles are Maryland State Inspected, which is one of the most rigorous inspections in the nation! 2003 Subaru Forester 2.5X AWD. Odometer is 16754 miles below market average! 26/21 Highway/City MPG Hagerstown Ford is located at the âCrossroads of Americaâ, the intersection of I-70 and I-81 in Hagerstown, Maryland. We pride ourselves on making sure every customer has a great buying experience with us! Need financing? We do that too!!! Hagerstown Ford works with a multitude of banks to give you the best choice for your financing needs. http://www.hagerstownford.com/
Subaru Forester 2003 X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
210,297 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
X
List$2,690
Est.Loan: $55/mo
Good Deal!
Good Deal!
View Details
Subaru Forester 2003 XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
244,768 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
XS
Kyner Auto Sales
61.7 mi away
List$2,200
Est.Loan: $45/mo
Great Deal!
Great Deal!
View Details
Dealer Notes
Priced below KBB Fair Purchase Price%2521<br><br>Gray Metallic 2003 Forester Subaru 2.5XS AWD 4-Speed Automatic with Overdrive 2.5L H4 SMPI SOHC<br><br>Recent Arrival%2521 26/21 Highway/City MPG
Subaru Forester 2003 XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
160,549 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
XS
List$2,331
Est.Loan: $48/mo
View Details
Subaru Forester 2003 X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
65,690 miles
Used 2003
Subaru Forester
X
ListNot Listed
View Details
Dealer Notes
Airbags - Front - Side|Drivetrain Limited Slip Differential%3A Center|Cruise Control|ABS Brakes %284-Wheel%29|Seats Front Seat Type%3A Bucket|Air Conditioning - Front|Power Door Locks|Power Windows|Exterior Mirrors Power|Daytime Running Lights|Front Fog Lights|Rear Seats Split-bench|Exterior Entry Lights|Rear Seats Bench|Roof Rack|Windows Rear Defogger|Windows Rear Wiper|Airbags - Front - Dual|Power Brakes|Power Steering|Windows Front Wipers%3A Intermittent|Center Console|Steering Wheel Tilt-Adjustable|Tachometer|Clock

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Updated and improved, the new Forester is worth checking out for consumers looking for a versatile compact SUV.

vehicle overview

Introduction: With so-called "crossover" sport-utility vehicles all the rage, nearly every manufacturer in America is scrambling to churn out its version of the ultimate sedan/sport-ute/station wagon combo. Too bad Subaru already beat them to the punch -- five years ago. That's when the original Forester debuted. With a tall roomy cabin, elevated driving position and full-time all-wheel drive, the Forester was a crossover utility vehicle before there was such a thing.

Fully redesigned for 2003, the Forester brings back all the things that made it popular the first time around, while adding new features and a fresh look in hopes of keeping all those newcomers on the scene at bay. The more refined styling of the 2003 Forester is identified by a larger, more pronounced grille, contoured multi-reflector halogen headlights and a contoured bumper cover with integral multi-reflector foglights. More sharply defined character lines, flared front fenders and "blister" type rear quarter-panels mark the profile of the new Forester. In the rear, the 2003 Forester is newly distinguished by a hexagonal rear gate framed by large, triangular taillights.

Subaru engineers optimized passenger room and comfort in the Forester. The Forester blends positive SUV attributes such as a high seating point and interior versatility with passenger car comfort, handling and fuel efficiency. Subaru designed and equipped it to compete with a wide array of SUVs. It comes with a 2.5-liter engine, all-wheel drive and seating for five. The exterior is about the same, but the interior is optimized for greater comfort and utility.

The 2003 Forester carries over the proven Subaru all-wheel-drive boxer engine and powertrain, some suspension components but little else. An all-new body structure has been optimized for rigidity, enhanced safety and light weight. While the new Forester has been measurably improved in almost every way, it weighs nearly 100 pounds less than its predecessor. Rest assured, Subaru didn't de-content to take out weight. On the contrary, the company added significantly to the standard equipment.

There's much to like about the Forester. As an alternative to your average mini SUV, it presents a compelling case. It handles better, it's easier to maneuver, it's easier to get in and out of, and it has full-time all-wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. If these are the things that are important to you, don't miss checking out the second generation of Subaru's "next big thing."

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: The Forester is available in two trim levels: 2.5 X and 2.5 XS. The 2.5 X comes with the usual array of standard features like power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt steering; 16-inch wheels and tires; 100-watt AM/FM/weatherband CD audio; and remote keyless entry.

Uplevel 2.5 XS models have automatic climate control, aluminum alloy wheels, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and upgraded interior upholstery and carpet. There are two major option packages available -- an optional cold weather package and a premium package -- as well as a number of small stand-alone utility items.

Powertrains and Performance: The 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine from the previous model carries over unchanged. It makes 165 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. This is more power than most other four-cylinder compact SUVs can boast, though there are V6-equipped competitors out there with about 200 horsepower. Like all Subarus, the Forester comes standard with full-time all-wheel drive. Subaru also offers a Hill Holder clutch feature on manual transmission-equipped vehicles.

Safety: Larger front brake rotors have been fitted to all models, while higher-line versions get rear discs and a new Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system. ABS is standard across the board. Subaru also concentrated on improved brake feel, something sorely lacking in the previous models.

Active head restraints have also been added as standard equipment along with side impact airbags. Though the '03 Forester has not yet been tested by the NHTSA, the IIHS has given the vehicle a "good" rating for frontal-offset crashes, as well as a "best pick" for its compact SUV class.

Interior Design and Special Features: On the inside, the vehicle's dimensions remain relatively unchanged, although some skillful repackaging within the cabin results in slightly more passenger room. Rear-seat passengers get a slight increase in leg- and foot room, but the rear quarters are still a little tight. Rear cargo room with the seats folded measures 64.1 cubic feet, a bit shy of the major players in this class.

Driving Impressions/Opinions: The 2.5-liter engine provides adequate, if not thrilling, performance. For those seeking maximum acceleration, we would recommend sticking with the standard five-speed manual transmission, as it makes the most of the engine's wide powerband.

The Forester, for the most part, is stable and predictable even when pushed beyond its modest limits. The steering is a bit vague at speed, and the soft suspension tuning results in some body roll, but for day-to-day driving, it's comfortable and controllable enough to be on par with the best-handling compact SUVs on the market. The beefed-up brakes are noticeably better than those found on previous models, with no noticeable fade and a good, solid pedal feel.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Subaru Forester.

Most reliable car I've ever owned!!!
spunkyhorn, 5/22/2012
I absolutely love my 2003 subaru forester. It has never left me stranded and has required the least amount of repairs of any car I've owned. The only repairs that I've done on it are wear out parts like brakes and rotors. I've recently (105,000k) had the timing belt, water pump, and most of the fluids replaced just as a pre-emtive strike to keeping this vehicle running as best it can well into the 100k's.
50,000 km and a huge bill
kloc, 11/12/2012
Our 2003 Forester has been maintained by our dealer since purchased new in late 2002. From day 1 it has had a coolant leak, a fact that has been pointed out to the dealer at every scheduled service. The dealer, of course, could not find the source of the coolant lead until after the warranty expired, whereupon we were told that the head gaskets were leaking and the car had developed piston slap to the point where driving the car was ill-advised. The master tech told me that Subaru has told dealers to ignore the problem until the warranty expires. Last Subaru I will ever purchase; this was our 7th.
Just not a great car
karlou, 7/12/2013
Have had the car for ten years (bought new) and almost 130K miles. Many problems from the start, not the least of which was the flames coming out the tailpipe towards the end of the first year. Has needed much maintenance and repair over the years, and one important fact about subarus - they rust. So surprised in this day and age how rusty this car has gotten, and I'm very good about washing the car (including underneath). Wind noise bad almost from the start, and three trips to dealership never got it better. Very cheap interior materials, now looking to finally get new and better vehicle. Never again a Subaru!
03 Forester 2.5X
janderson5, 1/27/2010
I totaled my 98 Camry in 06/09 & decided I needed an AWD or 4wd car. I looked at Honda CRVs, Toyota RAV4s, & Subarus. After much research & many test drives, I decided I like the Suby. I like my Forester, it's a good car. However, it's had some issues. Had to replace water pump due to leak from weep hole right after I got it, I replaced timing belt at that time too to save $ in the future. Now it makes whistling noises when eng revs to 3-4k rpm. Think its cat-converter, but cant fig out for sure got an extension on 80k fed war, but having difficulty with dealers. Hope once things are fixed it'll last 200k.
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
19 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
Gas
165 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2003 Subaru Forester features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 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
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2003 Subaru Forester
More About This Model

With so-called "crossover" sport-utility vehicles all the rage, nearly every manufacturer in America is scrambling to churn out its version of the ultimate sedan/sport-ute/station wagon combo. Too bad Subaru already beat them to the punch — five years ago.

That's when the original Forester debuted. With a tall roomy cabin, elevated driving position and full-time all-wheel drive, the Forester was a crossover utility vehicle before there was such a thing.

Fully redesigned for 2003, the Forester brings back all the things that made it popular the first time around, while adding new features and a fresh look in hopes of keeping all those newcomers on the scene at bay.

The 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine from the previous model carries over unchanged. With 165 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque, it provides adequate, if not thrilling, performance. After our short test drive, we would definitely recommend sticking with the standard five-speed manual transmission, as it makes the most of the engine's wide powerband. When asked why the Forester can't be equipped with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder from the larger Outback model, Subaru officials said that they wanted to maintain the Forester's nimble handling characteristics, a trait that would be compromised by the heavier engine.

Like all Subarus, the Forester comes standard with full-time all-wheel drive. Models equipped with the manual transmission use a continuous system that splits power 50/50 front to rear, while automatic-equipped Foresters get Active All-Wheel Drive that monitors available traction and transfers power accordingly. The suspension design remains the same, giving the Forester a generous 7.5 inches of ground clearance, although retuned struts and a slightly wider rear track have been incorporated to refine the ride quality and handling further.

Larger front brake rotors have been fitted to all models, while higher-line versions get rear discs and a new Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system. ABS is standard across the board. Subaru also concentrated on improved brake feel, something sorely lacking in the previous models. Returning for the first time in years is Subaru's innovative Hill Holder feature. Should you have to stop while climbing a hill, this ingenious system automatically holds the parking brake down, allowing you to concentrate on working the clutch. We tried it, and it worked perfectly, causing us to wonder why every manual-equipped car on the market doesn't offer this useful feature.

We also put the Forester's retuned suspension to the test on a controlled test track. It was, for the most part, stable and predictable even when pushed beyond its modest limits. The steering is a bit vague at speed, and the soft suspension tuning results in noticeable body roll, but for day-to-day driving, it's comfortable and controllable enough to be on par with the best-handling compact SUVs on the market. The beefed-up brakes were noticeably better than those found on previous models, with no noticeable fade and a good, solid pedal feel.

On the inside, the vehicle's dimensions remain relatively unchanged, although some skillful repackaging within the cabin results in slightly more passenger room. The driver seat gets simplified controls that allow for a greater range of adjustment both fore and aft and up and down. Active head restraints have also been added as standard equipment along with side impact airbags and a dual-stage front passenger airbag. Rear seat passengers get a slight increase in leg and foot room, but the rear quarters are still a little tight. Rear cargo room with the seats folded measures 64.1 cubic feet, just a cubic foot shy of the Ford Escape.

The Forester will be available in two trims levels: 2.5 X and 2.5 XS. The 2.5 X comes with the usual array of standard features like power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control and tilt steering. But there are also 16-inch wheels and tires, a 100-watt AM/FM/weatherband CD stereo, remote keyless entry and the aforementioned front and side airbags for both the driver and front passenger.

Uplevel 2.5 XS models have automatic climate control; aluminum alloy wheels; a six-disc in-dash CD changer; a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter and parking brake; chrome door handles; and upgraded interior upholstery and carpet. Optional equipment includes a cold weather package with a limited-slip differential and heated seats, mirrors and windshield wipers. A Premium package that adds a monotone paint scheme, power sunroof and leather-trimmed upholstery on models equipped with the automatic transmission.

The overall look and feel of the interior has been improved a notch, but it's still more utilitarian than luxurious. Most of the materials are of respectable quality, but some of the plastic trim pieces still look cheap. Practical upgrades include cupholders that now reside in the center console rather than the dash, net-type door pockets for holding odd-sized belongings, an illuminated ignition switch and three easy-to-use dial climate controls.

There's much to like about the Forester. Sure, we would always like a little more power, but for a vehicle of this type, gut-wrenching acceleration isn't really necessary. The material upgrades yield a much more pleasant interior environment, and the exterior revisions do an admirable job of smoothing out the exterior lines. As an alternative to your average mini SUV, it presents a compelling case. It handles better, it's easier to maneuver, it's easier to get in and out of, and it has full-time all-wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. If these are the things that are important to you, don't miss checking out the second generation of Subaru's "next big thing" when it hits dealers in May 2002.

Used 2003 Subaru Forester Overview

The Used 2003 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A), X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A), X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M), XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A), XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Leather Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A), XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 5M), and XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Subaru Forester?

Price comparisons for Used 2003 Subaru Forester trim styles:

  • The Used 2003 Subaru Forester XS is priced between $2,200 and$6,000 with odometer readings between 99124 and244768 miles.
  • The Used 2003 Subaru Forester X is priced between $2,690 and$2,700 with odometer readings between 146424 and210297 miles.

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 2003 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) 2003 Subaru Forester for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2003 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $2,200 and mileage as low as 99124 miles. 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 2003 Subaru Forester.