Rattles, rattles everywhere, so let's go trade it in. This car rattles so much I almost drove it straight to a dealership to trade-in on several occasions. Overall, the Forester is too much of a compromise, it does a lot of stuff okay, but nothing very well. The XT accelerates fast, but doesn't corner to match. The all wheel drive does well on slick roads, but the cheap plastic skid plate will tear off on the first snow berm it finds. 7 inches of clearance is nerve-racking on rocky roads; I was constantly asking myself, "is that rock over 7 inches?" I averaged 25 mpg from a manual XT over 60000 miles. I saw several tanks over 30 mpg, but several tanks well under 20 mpg in city traffic.
Acceleration, all wheel drive, heated seats, reliability.
Better mated transmission, get rid of hill-holder clutch, improve interior material quality especially in dash material to reduce rattles and buzzes, better quality factory tires (I had to replace the factory tires at 17000 miles).
I've had three Subarus and this has to be the best overall package. Not that I've had any problems with the others, but the Forester has it's advantages. Ground clearance being one of the strong points along with handling. You feel really safe and in control. Good brakes, good power and very reliable. This car is underrated.
I bought my Forester new and now with 44,000 plus miles on odometer it has not stumbled once nor had any mechanical problems. My purchase was based mainly on its practicality, power,and sleeper demeanor. It seats 4 comfortably. Can hold loads of cargo, and is fast as a whip. It's 4 wheel drive capability helps put all those turbo ponys to the ground and you giggle with a menacing glee as you rocket forward out of stoplights. Nobody knows that this car screams and that is pure joy. Doesn't look much different than the lesser non turbo foresters, except for hoodscoop and XT badging. I loved pulling away from my brother in his beloved Hemi Dodge Magnum. Priceless, he never saw it coming!
Did I mention that I love the power! Gets pretty good mileage on long trips if you stay off the go pedal and keep it at about 70 mph.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice one thing for another, so I wouldn't want to change any one thing that might effect something that I love about it. Its almost perfect for me!
With a little one on the way, we wanted something a little bigger with that still offered reasonable mileage. Went with the TURBO due to our high altitude (7200ft) and plethora of mountains. Very peppy with our AVG MPG of 22-24. On backpacking trips we've taken it on unmaintained roads that are difficult to walk much less drive over. Our Forester handles them amazingly well. No problems to report. We change the oil every 3K and wash it every couple of weeks, that's it. We bought a 15 cu.ft. Thule box for long road trips. Fits great on the factory roof rack. The ride is much quieter than the '05 CR-V and the climate control had no problem with 115+ heat of Death Valley. We're very happy with it!
I like the AWD, turbo, manual transmission, and head room. My wife loves the "Hill Clutch", better view and easier access due to its higher profile (especially when lifting the little one in/out of the car seat). The lower road lamps are especially useful when driving on rough roads in dimly lit situations.
Back seat is a little small, especially with an infant car seat. A nice convenience would be radio controls on the steering wheel. Lastly, being over 6 feet, I tend to sit way back and the sun visors tend to be too small. However, I've had this problem in the CR-V, Accord, and Celica as well.
Overall fun car to drive due to 200+ hp. Outstanding in bad weather (Des Moines in January) and lots of acceleration and good handling. We have hauled SUV loads of products from Sam's Club, etc, so interior storage is good. I don't get the 20 mpg from a 2005 4-banger. Highway mpg is about 25. Interior legroom for a 6'2" guy is limited. I guess you can't have it all.
Acceleration and handling are very good and make the car fun to drive.
Improve the MPG and the room for big guys. At 6'2", I have to fold up pretty good to fit in.