If you've driven a Subaru during the last decade or so, chances are more than one non-automotive aficionado has asked how you like your Australian car. This question shouldn't necessarily make you assume that the name Subaru has an inherent Australian ring to it, but rather that the eight-year Subaru of America advertising campaign featuring Aussie Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame was a huge success.
Back in the day when all-wheel drive became a Subaru model line standard, Hogan made the perfect spokesman, as Subaru wagons, one aptly named Outback, were seen slogging repeatedly through commercial mud. But now the beauty of all-wheel drive, a feature that once separated Subaru from the rest of the wagon and small SUV crowd, is available on a wide variety of vehicles Subaru Forester competitors Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V included. So Subaru is looking for a new edge, and therefore has begun to shift its focus, and advertising dollars, from the advantages of all-wheel drive to touting performance instead.
The turbocharged, 227-horsepower 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX was the first sign of the magnitude of true power the Japanese company is able to bring to American shores. Earlier this year, Subaru again amped up the Impreza line to include a 300-hp 2004 Impreza WRX version. Along with the new STi came a fresh company tag line, "Driven by what's inside" with accomplished bicyclist Lance Armstrong delivering the new battle cry.
But the Impreza wasn't the only car to get a performance makeover. Subaru also dialed up the power on the 2004 Subaru Forester and Baja models, as well.
Completely redesigned in 2003, many fans of the Subaru Forester were begging for more power. The new Forester was still using a 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine from the previous model, and Subaru loyalists were questioning the rationality of not offering the 3.0-liter six-cylinder that has been available in the larger Outback wagon since 2001. In 2003, Subaru officials explained that they didn't want the heavier six-cylinder engine to alter the Forester's handling characteristics. But with the introduction of the 2004 Subaru Forester, engineers will finally be able to give consumers the power they want, by way of a 2.5-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine instead.
Built on the Impreza platform, the 2004 Forester XT benefits from the engine technology introduced in the Impreza WRX STi with a new turbocharged and intercooled 2.5-liter boxer engine that produces 210 horsepower a considerable increase over the normally aspirated 165-horsepower version still utilized in the 2004 Forester X and XS models. But the real story here is torque. The new 2.5-liter power plant produces 235 pound-feet of torque (42 percent more than other Forester models) at 3,600 rpm. Subaru engineers tell us that this impressive torque figure, plus the boost in horsepower was achieved by increasing engine weight only 115 pounds over the normally aspirated 2.5-liter engine, therefore preserving the Forester's previous handling characteristics. An Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system is also present to help the Forester reach its best fuel efficiency, while remaining a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV), and an Active Valve Control system (AVCS) works to optimize the engine's efficiency at all engine speeds. Aiding the engine-mounted intercooler is the functional aluminum hood scoop that provides fresh air to the engine.
Having spent a good deal of time behind the wheel of our long-term 2003 Subaru Forester XS test vehicle, we were immediately struck by the increased power in the XT version. Climbing and passing on mountainous roads was effortless, and we felt a rush of satisfaction as we wound our way to higher elevations.
Our test vehicle was equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission which utilizes Subaru's Hill Holder feature that was reintroduced for the 2003 Forester. Although we weren't able to experience the new optional four-speed automatic tranny, we believe we'd be hard-pressed to choose it over the manual, as the latter's smooth shifts make it the ideal mate to the turbocharged engine.
In spite of Subaru's shift toward performance, all Subaru vehicles sold in the United States still come standard with full-time all-wheel drive. Models equipped with the manual transmission use a continuous viscous-coupling system that splits power 50/50 front to rear and adjusts accordingly when slippage occurs, while automatic-equipped Foresters get Active All-Wheel Drive that electronically monitors available traction and transfers power where needed.
The turbocharged Forester still rides on the same four-wheel independent suspension as other Foresters, and uses the same variable-ratio power rack-and-pinion steering. Four-wheel antilock disc brakes and an Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system, which allows independent braking of each rear wheel based on traction and weight transfer, are standard on the XT.
If Subaru engineers were initially concerned about preserving the Forester's handling characteristics with the burden of additional curb weight, they accomplished their goal. The Forester turbo rides the same as the naturally aspirated version, with its soft suspension and predictable steering. It also displayed capable braking during our initial drive, even when we were forced to brake hard in order to avoid an unexpected dog crossing the road.
While the turbocharged engine is the most distinguishing feature of the Subaru Forester XT, there are a few other distinctive design cues as well. The XT's functional hood scoop, body-color side cladding, natural aluminum finish and body-color mounts on the standard roof rails are the main exterior indicators. Others include body-color door handles; unique six-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels with black letter tires; and a chrome tailpipe.
Inside the cabin, the turbo Forester looks the same as its less powerful siblings, with just a few detail differences. Black flat-woven upholstery with cloth side bolster trim and a standard sport design gauge pack complement the Forester's newfound power. Leather-trimmed upholstery is standard in Foresters equipped with the Premium Package, which also includes an automatic transmission and power moonroof. Front-seat comfort in the XT remains the same with suitably wide comfortable seats flanked with ample bolstering.
The black perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter handle and parking brake handle not only look sporty, but also feel good in your hands. Additional touches, like illuminated power window switches on all doors, chrome interior door handles, aluminum sill plate covers with Forester badging and retractable grip handles add to the interior's charm and functionality. We also took note of the standard center console with an additional 12-volt accessory power outlet and two cupholders.
Peering into the rear cargo area, you'll find that the rear seat still splits 60/40 and folds flat to convert the fully carpeted cargo area from 32 cubic feet with the rear seats up, to 64.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded (Foresters with the Premium Package have 62.7 cubic feet instead due to the presence of a moonroof). The turbo Forester also gets a retractable cargo cover as standard equipment.
The XT builds on the luxury of the XS model, with standard automatic climate control, a seven-speaker sound system with door-mounted tweeters and a rear subwoofer to enhance the notes from the standard 120-watt AM/FM/weatherband stereo with an in-dash six-disc CD changer. Lastly, the regular Forester's All-Weather Package is standard XT equipment with dual-mode heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
Since Subaru isn't ready to talk pricing yet, it may be hard to determine whether the 2004 Forester XT is worth the premium consumers are likely to pay for the turbocharged engine. A 2003 Forester XS with the naturally aspirated engine is already running approximately $2,000 over a comparatively equipped Outlander, Escape or CR-V. But none of the aforementioned competitors have a model that can compete with the XT's performance figures. If power means more to you than your pocketbook, the Subaru Forester XT is the best compact SUV choice.
2004 Subaru Forester Overview
The 2004 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: Wagon. Available styles include XT AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 5M), X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A), and XS AWD 4dr Wagon w/Premium Package (2.5L 4cyl 4A). Forester models are available with a 2.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 210 hp, depending on engine type. The 2004 Forester comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic. The 2004 Forester comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2004 Subaru Forester?
Price comparisons for used 2004 Subaru Forester trim styles:
The 2004 Subaru Forester XT is priced around $6838 with average odometer reading of 105642 miles.
The 2004 Subaru Forester X is priced around $4513 with average odometer reading of 118273 miles.
The 2004 Subaru Forester XS is priced around $4699 with average odometer reading of 137700 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. 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.
Is the 2004 Subaru Forester a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2004 Subaru Forester and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2004 Forester featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2004 Subaru Forester? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2004 Subaru Forester and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2004 Forester 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2004 Forester.
Vehicle XS AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)
Review This car served me well for 10 years 11 months and 174,000 miles. Reliable from start to "finish". Routine maintenance is a bit expensive. Only mechanical failure was a U joint in drive shaft at 153,000 miles. When timing belt was originally replaced at 82,500 miles also replaced head gaskets. Did not do so when timing belt was replaced at 165,000 miles and at 168,000 miles a very slight oil leakage began (to the tune of 1 quart per 3,000 miles.) Decided to trade in at 174,000 miles. This car went to 28 of our 50 states.
2004 Subaru Forester inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Subaru Forester for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1398 new and 1456 used and CPO 2004 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 3250 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a 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 2004 Subaru Forester. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 192 on a new, used, or CPO 2004 Forester available from one of 2805 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Exterior Colors: Ice Silver Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Quartz Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Jasmine Green Metallic, Venetian Red Pearl, Satin White Pearl, Sage Green Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic, Camellia Red Pearl, Marine Blue Pearl, Spark Silver Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl, Steel Silver Metallic, Newport Blue Pearl, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Crystal Gray Metallic, Deep Cherry Pearl, Garnet Red Pearl, Urban Gray Metallic, Champagne Gold Opal, Paprika Red Pearl, Sky Blue Metallic, Pacifica Blue Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic, Regal Blue Pearl, Topaz Gold Metallic, Blue Ridge Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic/Textured Gray, Steel Gray Metallic, Woodland Green Pearl/Textured Gray, Aspen White, Black Diamond Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Acadia Green, Cayenne Red Pearl, Cayenne Red Pearl/Textured Gray, Crystal Gray Metallic/Textrured Gray, Evergreen Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Evergreen Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Java Black Pearl, Obsidian Black Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Regal Blue Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Acadia Green Metallic, Aspen White/Premium Silver Metallic, Aspen White/Textured Gray, Black Diamond Pearl/Slate, Canyon Red Pearl/Slate, Crystal Gray Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Crystal Gray Metallic/Urban Gray Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Java Black Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Newport Blue Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Textured Gray, Regal Blue Pearl/Textured Gray, Rio Red, Sedona Red Pearl, Sierra Gold Metallic, Sierra Gold Metallic/Textured Gray, Sierra Gold Metallic/Titanium, Silverthorn / Slate, Silverthorn Metallic, WR Blue Mica, Woodland Green Pearl, Woodland Green Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic
Interior Colors: Gray cloth, Black cloth, Black leather, Gray leather, Gray, Brown leather, Platinum cloth, Graphite Gray cloth, Desert Beige cloth, Off Black cloth, Grey, Beige, Anthracite Black leather, Black, Gray Leather, Off Black
Popular Features: Aux Audio Inputs, Stability Control, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Power Driver Seat, Back-up camera, Post-collision safety system, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Upgraded Headlights, Navigation, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Stereo, Remote Start, AWD/4WD, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Auto Climate Control, Heated seats, Alarm, Sunroof/Moonroof, Leather Seats, Parking sensors, Towing Hitch, 2500lb Towing Capacity