Used 2004 Subaru Forester Wagon Consumer Reviews
I've owned my Forester XT for 6 years now, and it has been a very fun car. The only repair I've had is the alternator. It's far faster than it looks and I love being able to floor it on the highway in 5th and it just goes. It looks good, carries a fair amount of stuff when I go camping, and is great in the snow.
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.
Generally speaking, it is a great small utility vehicle that that drives like a car. It is an excellent winter vehicle, but it is not best for highway driving. It lacks power for comfortable passing, and down-shift is on the slow side. And, highway wind and road noise are on the noisier side. I took it for a 4000mile/6000km drive from Canada to California. It handled nicely when it was +24C and during winter blizzard when I-15 got closed for hours. I haven't had major problems with the vehicle, except sunroof does no longer work. And, parts and service are a bit expensive, especially in Canada.
When the dealer pulled up w/ a XT I couldn't keep my smile down. I told him all you have to say is: 60 in 5.3!!! This is no simple grocery-getter this is a Mustang, Camaro, and yes Corvetter getter. The "wagon" is the ulimate "Sleeper". The ULTIMATE low-riding, SUV, AWD, MAD-POWER, space-for-all vehicle is at your nearby Subaru dealership. When you go test drive this monster in disguise, try, just try to keep your smile down!!! Happy Cruisin' -Adam
This is the best vehicle I have ever owned. There is little turbo-lag, the gears are well matched to the engine. It's a comfortable car for something of its modest exterior dimensions and is extremely maneuverable in tight spots despite high cargo volume and practicality. Fit and finish is superior. Every car is a compromise: Subaru has attained perfection. You can buy a slightly faster sports car that is far less practical. You can buy a slightly more comfortable euro wagon that is twice as expensive. You can buy a minivan that's somewhat more practical but completely not fun to drive.
I traded my '03 X for an '04 XT. I loved the X and feel the same about the XT. The icrease in power is just what the doctor ordered. Plenty of power throughout the rev range. Hardly any turbo lag. Good tourqe for driving in the PA mountains. I never thought the fastest car I ever owner would be a wagon! (I know it's an SUV) The 5spd is a great match for the turbo motor. Great saftey features. Great "stealth" vehicle. This is truly a "do-it-all" vehicle. Gripes: The Auto Climate control does not work well. No sunroof with a 5spd, what gives? I wish the rear windows were factory tint. All of theses are minimal complaints. Overall I rate this car a 10.
I bought my Forester X "Burt" used in July 2011 from a Subaru Dealer in Rockland County, NY with 107K miles on it. I now have 120K miles on it. It has proven to be a reliable and surprisingly comfortable vehicle. I average about 18 mpg in the city, and around 28 mpg on the highway. This car is one of the most "honest" cars I've ever owned. It just works without fuss or fanfare, and feels solid. I Have done nothing but oil changes, a differential and tranny fluid change, tire rotations, and inspections for maintenance, and Burt goes like a top! I hope to buy a new 2014 Subaru Forester based on my experience with this one, and I am one of the most "brand unloyal" owners out there!
This is my first Subaru and though I got it used and have only had it for a couple months, I know I made a good decision. The HUGE sunroof is wonderful. Comes with many safety features and this car sticks to the road like glue. I never anticipated it would be so fun to drive, with responsive handling and such a solid road feel. Interior materials look and feel well thought out and well put together - however there aren't many luxurious bells & whistles, just the necessities. If you want fancy features, this isn't the car for you. If you want fun, safety and moderate room for an active lifestyle, you're in the right place. Car is very well thought out, with an eye towards function.
This is a very good and balanced combination. It is a real AWD, a wagon, a comfortable car, and a sportive machine. Its low center of gravity allow the Forester to have a very safe driving considering the performance of the turbo. In addition this turbo makes it economical (you do not consume much fuel when you do not need much acceleration or speed, but when you need it or want it you have it).
31,000 miles on my 2004 Subaru. Very happy with performance, reliability. Excellent in snow. Researched every car in the class before purchase and am convinced the Subaru Forester best choice.
In the winter of 2016 I hit a patch of black ice while driving a new Dodge Ram 4X4 truck, I hit a snow bank broadside and rolled it into the woods crushing the poor truck. After the insurance company agreed it was a total loss I bought my first used Subaru forester (2004) and I must say I feel a lot safer in a Subaru AWD than I ever did in the Ram. After owning and driving the Forester for 6 months I knew I'd never own another brand from that day forward. When I wear out this one I'll buy my first brand new Subaru Forester. I have already begun to customize mine and there is so much in the way of after market parts on line and in the auto stores. The gas mileage is crazy good and I am getting about 22 city and 27 Hwy. If your sitting on the fence about getting a Subaru DO NOT delay it any longer, I only wish I thought about this brand 40 years ago ahen I started driving.
I do not give this vehicle 10s across the board, but I give it a 10 in what I was looking for. It is not fast. It produces lots of wind noise. It doesn't corner particularly well. It does provide amazing versatility, functional all-wheel drive, and plenty of room for storage. I am an outdoorsy type. I take this vehicle camping, hunting, fishing, biking, and for long distance traveling. I have driven this through sand, mud and water. I accidentally went through an innocuous looking puddle that came up over the hood, and the Forester pulled right through. Am very happy with the Forester and will drive it until the wheels fall off, or I do, whichever comes first.
This little SUV with the Turbo will move when I need it to. It's so handy to haul items, easy to fold seats down, easy to remove the headrests. I love the auto climate control, great stereo. I have great control of car in adverse weather conditions - I feel SAFE driving this car. Doors feel solid when you shut them.
I purchased this vehicle in Dec. 2017, and despite the fact that it only had 89,400 miles on the odometer and was very clean it did need some $$$$ and TLC to make it a nice reliable vehicle. The automatic transmission (and spin on filter) / differential gear oil / brake fluid needed to be flushed and replaced. It needed a new fuel filter, and a cabin filter. The timing belt, and water pump had just been replaced prior to purchase. This was a NJ vehicle so it was subjected to the NE winters which meant that the ball joints needed to be replaced because the rubber seals had deteriorated. It also has a little bit on the undercarriage which is normal for a 14 year old NJ vehicle. The rack and pinion power steering unit, and the radiator needed to be replaced also and after the repairs, new tires and a 4 wheel alignment it's a very nice smooth ride for a 14 year old vehicle. I purchased a 4 year / unlimited mileage vehicle service contract from Cars Protection Plus at the time of purchase for an additional $1,200, and it saved me $1,000 on the rack and pinion steering unit / radiator / labor so, that seems to have been a good investment for this vehicle. Like virtually all Subaru Foresters in this age group (2002 -2008), this one did suffer from the infamous wind noise problem, but that was easily corrected with some vinyl tubing inserted behind the window weatherstripping, some weather stripping applied to the exterior mirror gussets and some side window deflectors, now it rides just as quietly as a new vehicle.
I have had my 04 XS for 5 years now, generally speaking, it's a good car. It is reliable and gets 28-30 mpg highway, front seats are comfortable, back seats are tight, car is sporty and stylish, great traction in bad weather, massive sunroof, BUT...this car has problems. From day 1, car bucks after filling with gas (dealer can't explain), wind noise on highway is horrendous, check engine light goes on and off at will, moving drivers seat causes airbag light to go on, sunroof track broken-they want $1500 bucks to replace, vibration from engine Y-pipe drives us crazy (dealer again can't fix), now the rear end has a very loud humming noise as if its about to go. Car only has 62k miles.
This vehicle is rock solid. It chews up the lousy road conditions a crummy New England winter can throw at you. No need to shovel your driveway when you have one of these parked in it. This car will crunch its way up the steepest ice covered hill in town. I also love the fact that off the line you can easily smoke those larger SUV's. All of my friends are surprised at the power the Forester has after the take a spin in it. So please people get it straight the Forester XT is not a station wagon - it's a small SUV!
This car is a 10 all round. It may seem strange that I gave all 10's but this is purely in consideration of the type of car it is. For performance for example, some may say that it is slow, especially for 165 hp. However, in any conditions with poor traction, it is absolutely essential for good performance (ie not sliding off the road) that power delivery isn't snappy and immediate. Handling is surprisingly good for the type of car it is and this must in part be due to the low center of gravity of the boxer engine.
Over more than twelve years, I've driven my Forester 165,000 miles. Costliest repair was replacing the head gasket a few years back. Otherwise, maintainence has been relatively pain-free. Average mileage around 25. In cold weather the lifters are noisy. I've been told this is normal with the boxer engine and no damage is being done. Cabin suffers from wind noise when driving on an interstate. Overall, my complaints are minor as I've been well-served by this vehicle. Definitely captured the "utility" in sport UTILITY vehicle.
Have only owned the vehicle for about two months and am very happy with power and performance. I really wanted to get a Forester with large moon roof but unable to find low millage with head gaskets, timing belt, and water pump already done in my price range. I do like the heated seats in my model. Good breaking, prompt and tight steering. Peppy acceleration with my 5 speed manual. My biggest complaint about the vehicle is that the road noise is quite high, especially on the freeway. There appears to be wind or air coming through speaker looking device near mirror on driver's side door, weird. Had to replace two belts within first month of owning car, but when you buy a 2004 vehicle with 113.000 not a big deal.
I bought the car new and liked it with respect to driving and its AWD feature. What owners should be aware of is that this is a high maintenance vehicle. Parts like the wheel bearing fail prematurely (<60,000 miles) and can go on undetected for months and years and mistaken as just tire noise. Repair cost is >$450 per wheel.
I bought this car used in 2009. In three years, I spend $2400 in repairs (rear bearings on both sides, head gasket, rocker bars in the front that were recalled, air conditioner compressor) and when I traded it in today for a 2012 Camry, the turbo was smoking and the transmission was on it's way out too. It had 140K miles. Parts are hard to come by, none of the charging ports worked on it and the check engine light was always coming on, which turned off the cruise control. in three years, I got to use the cruise control once. It was a nightmare to own. It was almost impossible to talk on speakerphone on the highway due to the road noise. and the backseat doesn't have any legroom.
Gas mileage just plain bad, I got the same mileage, 13 mpg, with a 2006 8 cylinder hemi daytona with 360 hp. This has great hp for a 4 cylinder and is very fun wagon to drive. The leather seating is well done. Tilt wheel would raise the comfort level. Better quality front seat back handle control needed. Near perfect interior-exterior design. Window whistle at 45 mph annoying, need window frames. Sacrificing quality for weight savings don't work for me, the aluminum hood takes a beating on the highway. The expensive to fix cd changer radio is a let down.
This past June, my wife and I recently had a baby and we needed a vehicle with space, safety, and reliability being the primary features. Not wanting to relinquish my youthful sports car days I naturally suggested the WRX wagon. She had her eye on the Forester which at the time didnt have the turbo feature. I loved the WRX for being, well a WRX but we could just not compromise the space the Forester had to offer. Enter the Forester XT. This car was actually FASTER (yes faster) then the WRX and had all the space and comfort we needed to go with an all world safety pedigree. The Subaru Forester XT is the complete total package. Congrats Subaru, well done!!
Wow! My second Subaru and more impressed than ever. Since this vehicle is built on the Impreza chassis, it offers less room than the Legacy, but performance that is truly amazing. 0-60 times of 5.25 seconds have been documented which puts the HP number close to 250+! No complaints whatsoever except for relatively poor fuel economy. We've put on 3100 miles in one month since purchase and are averaging about 19-21MPG city/highway. Highly recommended!
replaced my 1999 Forester with the 04 model. What a delightful surprise to see what has happen in 5 yrs. Better interior design, a little higher seating, more comfort, better handling. Plush. Loved the 99, had 75,000 miles and never a problem. Quality and value you come to expect from Suburu. Test drove toyota rav4, honda crv, hyundai sante fe and jeep liberty, and tryed the Subura LAST. None of the competitors could stand up, and I really tryed not to buy another Suburu because I wanted to see if there was something better in that class--dont waste your time--try the Suburu Forester 1st. NO NEED to go further.
Amazing power. Subaru must under rate the power/torque on these cars. I've seen dyno results of stock XT's that would support this. The responsiveness is nothing short of amazing for a sub $30k vehicle with ample seating for 4 adults. Great handling and all wheel drive versatility. This is a great performer that will give lots of higher end performance cars a run for their money. Exceptional sleeper.
I have been a performance car enthusiast all of my life. Alas, with a second baby added to the family, it was time to move to something bigger and more "practical." I drove several "good" cars in those categories to replace my Cobra, but none which would make me really happy. Finally, I heard about the XT. WOW is all I have to say! Within one minute I knew I had found the car. This car is a total blast to drive (now that I'm over my break-in!) and I am very impressed so far with the build quality and ride. The AWD is just second to none. Now I look forward to storms coming through! I cannot wait to take it to the mountains to try it in the snow.
Overall, this is the best car I have ever had. You have all the utility of a station wagon/SUV, but the guts of a sports car. With a little bit of tuning, this car competes with a stock STi. Without a doubt this is the wolf in the sheep's clothing.
I migrated from a Jeep 6 cyl to the Subaru Forester XT. I was looking for comfort, safety, power, and a great looking ride. I saw my Subie and fell in love. I added the smart mirror and command start, the only two options not already there. The defrosting and seat warmers and that fact my car is smart enough to blow cold air in the winter initially means I never have foggy windows. How much more could I ask for? I'm so glad I made the choice for this head turning vehicle. Each time I fill I am asked about Subie. I draw unusual attention when I cart my 16 foot canoe on top the factory racks.
Subaru really hit a bullseye with this 2003 Forester model.I have a silver 2.5x model that came packaged with the optional security alarm, armrest extender, mudguards,chrome tailpipe and hood deflector. This crossover suv is sized right and looks sharp, with very good room, comfort and performance.With its venerable boxer engine, all wheel drive and ABS standard, along with a host of other amenities, it truly is a great value for the price!
This car is great except for fuel and maintenance costs. Plugs only last 50000 and cost 300-400 to replace due to complexity of the flat design and the turbo plumbing. Most recently I had a raw gas odor requiring replacement of fuel hoses which required removing the intake manifold for repairs. Also found an air turbo intake hose with a hole in it ($100).
I bought this car thinking it would be as reliable and trouble free as my '95 Legacy. I was wrong! Numerous rattles, squeaks and creaks developed in the dash, console, and front passenger door. The auto transmissionwas rough and jerky shifting. The front end would grind and rattle when pulling into a parking space. Two dealers were unable to fix even a single problem. The dealer also always overfilled the engine by half a quart of oil during oil changes. Lousy service, warranty, and car. NEVER WILL BUY ONE AGAIN!
This car is well thought of for some people. I don't understand why. There are too many good alternatives to this car to buy another one. Normal recommended maintenance is expensive and add in wheel bearings and head gaskets and it's like buying another car. The car is marketed for harsh weather and service, but it doesn't seem to be built for it. Before buying search on head gaskets and wheel bearings and see if you still want one.
Purchased the car based on Consumer reviews. Car has lived in the shop: valves, clutch, brakes, radio, etc. The car handles well but no power and no room for kids. Most expensive car I've ever owned based on days in shop and dollars in repairs. I keep cars for 10+ years but looking forward to parking this one under a tree and walking away from it. Subaru dealerships have a lot of swagger about the belief of what they read in consumer reports. Unfortunately this attitude makes it "your fault" that the valves fail after 60 k miles and be prepared for very long waits for parts. Took 3 weeks to get in a new rear windshield wiper arm. None of the needed work has been under warranty.
I bought a silver Forester because of the snow and ice we get in Eastern Oregon. This car exceeded expectations. I never got below 25 MPG on the hwy, and around 22 in town. When "Chains Required" signs are posted on the interstate, this car buzzed past all the cars chaining up. Subaru is amazing for their safety and high quality. Because my son survived an extreme accident with only bruises I can endorse this car fully. I'm not saying another car wouldn't have performed as well. But this Subaru when put to the test, passed with flying colors.
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.
I bought this car after extensive research in 2003. It was down to the Honda Element vs. the Forester XT and the power won out. This is the first car I've had that I can honestly say I've used most of it's capabilities regularly. I'm no street racer but I do enjoy the acceleration and handling of this little SUV. I usually travel by myself or with my young son and it's just the right size. I've had it off road on the beach and on dirt trails - no complaints and it's easy to maneuver. It towed my 17ft Boston Whaler nicely as well. However, for family road trips we take my wife's Pilot - more room.
Bought this in October of 2008. Pretty fun to drive. Handles great on the road. Plenty of cargo space. Works great with rack on top. Leather feels good. Solid car inside with no squeaks despite all the compartments. I've heard some people complain about the back seat. I don't think it's that bad considering it's a car. Have yet to really test the all wheel drive at my lake house. Can't wait.
Great car. Currently at 120,000 miles. The only major problem was leaky head gaskets which I think is an inherent defect in the engine. But easily fixed for less than $1000. Otherwise the best car I have ever owned. On my way to 200,000 miles and beyond.
I am not a big fan of SUV's and wasn't interested in the Forester initially. The WRX attracted my visit to the local Subaru dealer and I ended up test driving both the WRX and the Forester XT. I was blown away with Forester's unexpected acceleration. How can a "practical car" out run a "sport car"? Subaru has created an interesting combination of speed and practicality in the Forester XT. The day after I brought the car I took it out to my favorite surfing spot. My 8 ft surf board fitted nicely with the seats folded down. I didn't even have to use the roof rack. This is truly an unique car for people wanting speed and space.
Bought very recently, so no comment about reliability valid at this time. Test drove both the XT turbo and non- turbo XS. Liked both actually, but shocked by the goodess and tractability of the turbo 2.5 engine. Tons of torque. No turbo wind-up. None. Motor goes about business effortlessly in day to day driving - much less frenetic than most autos, can get the job done at low rpm easily so it ends up being smooth and quiet. This car has two personalities - the very competent and comfortable daily driver being the main and most useful one. Push the accelerator past half tho'and it just flat flies. No noise or fanfare, just takes off.
Right sized, decent milage for an AWD, reputation for reliability, nice stereo/features - all have been said before about this car and are true. What's new is the this turbo-motor in this car - and it RULES. Tons of torque at low rpm - smooth, quiet, effortless acceleration with no fanfare. Amazing. Press harder on the accelerater and it accelerates very quickly and smoothly ,no waiting or spooling up of the turbo - a torque curve like an electric motor. Amazing. It will eat a Z-28 0-60mph, no problem. Amazing.
The Forester XT is an overall very competent good all season car. I have put over 25k on mine in little over a year. Love the power, but brakes and suspension is only adequate for the power the car has. Warped rotors already and no, I don't always get on the throttle. My wife drives most of the time. Poor gas mileage and I have tried to get manufacturer's claim for gas rating. Abrupt tranny shift from 1st and 2nd gears, jerky although not all the time. Overall I love this car.
I've had Subaru's since the late 1970's and have put a combined half million miles on the first 4 - and those were mostly Alaskan, Canadian and Minnesota miles. My new Forester feels enev more comfortable and fun than the previous Outbacks and Brats...
Back in 82, when I sold my wife's modified Z28 because the new baby's car seat didn't fit, she cried. So last night as she drove up Ute Pass in Colorado in her new Forester XT in 5th gear, accelerating without downshifting, she looked over at me, smiled and finally forgave me for selling her "Z" 21 years ago. Subaru, Thank You.
This vehicle is our first Subaru and was chosen primarily for the all wheel drive feature for Minnesota snow and ice. We previously has three Volvos, but, despite it's Swedish origin, the rear wheel drive was not effective on slippery hills. We have taken three driving trips since we bought it, and have hauled all manner of stuff on these trips with complete satisfaction.
Living in the high mountains of the Rockies, I wanted a vehicle I could take to the hills, as well as highway, I chose the XT because of the responsiviness that this compact SUV offers. I am 6' 4" and I had a WRX, but it was too small for my size so I traded it in on this auto, and for the most part I am really happy with it, more responsive that the WRX. The only draw back is the amount of leg room on long trips,over 5 hours. The car is an automatic with adequate go power for me (a baby boomer). Although, I would like to see the XT with a STi type engine. It probably would make me seriously consider trading this sweet little car in on one.
The new xt forester is a great vehicle. Most people think of subaru being for old people, but they have stepped things up a notch. Now with the turbo models comming, subaru is now more fun to drive. The xt forester is fun, fast, and practical. My winter-time driving in the northwest is now more enjoyable and safe. I would recommend a subaru to everyone.
JUST PICKED UP OUR NEW TURBO FORESTER. THIS CAR LIVES UP TO ALL OUR EXPECTATIONS.HAVING LESS THAN 200 MILES ON CAR SO FAR HAS KEPT US FROM REALLY OPENING IT UP, BUT JUST WITH THE FEW BLIPS INTO THE THROTTLE SO FAR, WE'RE SURE TO BE THRILLED WHEN MOTORS BROKEN IN SLIGHTLY.HAVING A CAR LIKE A PORSCHE IN THE FAMILY ALLOWS US TO REALLY APPRECIATE HOW MUCH PULL THIS THING HAS, ESPECIALLY ON THE HILLS WHERE WE LIVE. ABOVE ALL OF THIS IS THE SENSE OF WELL BEING YOU GET WHEN BEHIND THE WHELL. THE CAR REALLY MAKES ITS OCCUPANTS FEEL SAFE. HOPEFULLY THIS ENGINE WILL HAVE THE RELIABILITY OF SUBARUS OTHER CARS.
This is an amazing car! Its a sports car in baby wagon guise. Subaru actually under-quoted the horsepower rating by 30hp. 3 weeks after we got it, my dad and I drove from Utah to Ohio and back, and Roo performed flawlessly. The view from the drivers seat is great, and all-around visibility is super. The only thing i can say bad about this car is how small the back seat is. Im pretty short, so i fit fine, but if youre normal size, its tight.