We love our 2005 Forester! It is a ton of fun to drive, and the leatherette interior with heated seats is very good for all of the bad weather we have here in the Pacific Northwest. This is one of the better quality SUVs for the money and the AWD is great!! However I do have one small issue with it. We barely hit 80k miles on our Forester and we already need to get the head gaskets replaced, which have set us back another $2,000. This has been the only problem with the car and it is running perfectly other than this issue, however we did some research and it is a HUGE problem with Subaru engines throughout the lineup. If you can get over that though, this car is definitely worth the money!!
I recently purchased a 2005 Forester with 95k miles on it, and will be using it as my college vehicle. It had 2 previous owners and no accidents reported. It appeared to be mechanically sound. So far, it has been an excellent vehicle. The ride is smooth, and it handles nicely. Some complain about power on these vehicles - I have had no issues with power. I drive plenty both in town and in the country where I live. It is excellent in both settings. I have no issues with getting up to speed on the freeway. My gas mileage has been an acceptable 20-22 mpg, and I expect it to be a little better when I take it for my first long trip on the highway. So far, this vehicle has been a joy to own.
We've had our Forester XT Turbo for 5 years now and it has over 130,000 miles. It sees hard daily use for both business and personal reasons. In comparing this with other small SUVs which we test drove, like the RAV4, CR-V, Liberty, Highlander and Pilot, there was simply no comparison. It easily out accelerated, braked and handled all the others. The interior has lots of neat little compartments to store everything from pens, pencils, cups, change, glasses, map books and more. The H4 engine performs very well, but tends to use more oil than most fours we've had. Problems at 100,000K have been a new radiator, cam timing belt and power steering pump. Gas mileage is mediocre at 20.
This is my first car, which I got for a steal, considering it has a shocking 192k miles. I was very weary about getting a car with that many miles, but it was the only Subaru available in my budget. Subarus have been in the family for years and I know they are reliable. Whoever had this car before took good care of it. Regular maintenance was done and I found nothing wrong. I've had her for a few weeks and she runs great. I plan on keeping her maintained enough to get another 100k miles. I love my Forester and now I'm making fun of my mother, who drives an Impreza sedan. My car is way cooler then hers.