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.
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.
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.
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!
Hi. Just purchased a 2003 Forester XS auto. Love it-in spite of paying too much. Never buy a car for your wife on your anniversary. Compared to my 1981 Subaru Brat, I have no complaints about power! Plus you can drive Forest Service roads at 65 mph and pretend you are Tommi Makinen in the SWRT WRC. Visibility is great, lots of room (haven't sat in the back, just the 2 of us). The auto-climate control is nice, go for the upgraded speakers if you like quality sound (the base is so-so). First tank of gas-got 25.1 mpg on 50-50 mix city/highway. No defects noted, no problems noted in first 500 miles.