I bought this car new in 2003 and have loved it ever since. I just payed it off and plan on keeping it until it dies. It handles great in the rain and snow. The only warranty work I had done was to replace the CD changer and rear view mirror. My only complaint is the very loud road noise. It's a great car that can definitely move when you want it to.
Love the versatility of the vehicle. Like handling, but lacking power IMO. Passing other vehicles is often a challenge, which is my major concern. And, turbo is much more expensive to drive. Maintenance is on the expensive side. Sunroof doesn't open/close properly. Dealership was unable to determine exact cause after 1 hr inspection. Another mechanic found trickling current in the power circuit suspecting a failing diode in the alternator. Dealership tested and said that it is okay. Suspicious. Don't take vehicle to the dealership anymore. Central console plastic is easy to scratch. Rattles inside are annoying. Overall, good vehicle.
Need at least 180HP engine and at lest 5-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is worse than expected. Interior build quality (type of materials used, tolerances, padding). Wind noise. Exterior paint is not great. Cruise control is awkward. No trip computer.
Want a wagon to haul stuff? Want to do some light off-roading? Want to smoke that 350Z sitting at the light next to you? The Forester can do it all! I am on my second Forester and am now a die-hard Subaru fan. My 04 XT is a nicely put together vehicle with nice materials, but most importantly, smoking performance. I smile just thinking about pushing my Foz through the corners and speeding away from lights. I like it, my kids like it, and even the wife likes to take it out for a spin! Reliability, style, utility, performance... you can't go wrong!
0-60 of 5.3 seconds! It's just crazy fast. Good materials, sound system, INCREDIBLE safety, reliability.
Note that the 04-05 XT 5-speed have a 4.44 final drive ratio so they turn high RPMs at high speed (80mph = 3500RPM). Makes for quick acceleration but not the best gas mileage. But in perspective, it's still much better than most sports cars.
This was my 2nd Subaru and it will surely be my last. I should have known better after our '93 Legacy wagon broke 2 timing belts, blew a head gasket, and needed both front wheel drive axles replaced-all before 36,000 miles. Nevertheless, I traded it on a new '04 Forester 2.5X because it was the best deal we could get. Never again! The right front wheel well liner came loose and fell out before 10,000 miles. The transmission began to give us trouble at 15,000 miles. The whole car vibrated while turning even though we faithfully had it serviced & the tires rebalanced and rotated every 3,000 miles at the dealers. The windows leaked and whistled in the wind whenever you exceeded 35 MPH. Junk!!!
There are two things for which I am grateful! One, that despite all of its failures, the Forester lasted long enough until we could save enough $$$ to get rid of it. And two, when we finally unloaded it for a new Ford Escape, we got a relatively good price as a trade.
We returned the Subaru every 3,000 miles to the dealer to have the oil changed, routine maintenance performed, tires rotated, etc. Every time we took it in, they found something that needed to be replaced! It ended up costing us roughly $350 every 3,000 miles just for upkeep. That shouldn't happen!!!
A great car in most aspects except paint. Have commuted 110 miles round trip for years with Hondas. The Subaru paint on the front plastic components has become heavily pitted from bugs in spite of frequent washings. Looks trashy on the front. Now I am getting a milky residue on the entire exterior. No known exposure to air borne pollutants. Waxed regularly. Washed predominantly by hand with proper washing materials. The black pearl paint looks great except it shows both of these blemishes rather dramatically. Subaru only offered to pay 1/2 cost of bumper repainting. A real disappointment.