I traded in my 1998 Jeep Cherokee for the Forester. It was getting a little tired and I wanted something that would get better fuel economy and still have some off road capability. I wasn't disappointed in these 2 respects. The highway mileage is outstanding (31.6 on a recent trip) and the Forester is astonishing off road in deep sand and even climbing sand hills that we have out here in west Texas. It does however have a couple of annoying problems with the drivetrain management as mentioned in other Forester reviews. Those are the engine revving very high on cold starts and the drivetrain jerk at low speeds. Also the engine has a distinct lack of low end power in my opinion.
Excellent off road capability and gas mileage.
Refine the engine management controls and give the engine a bit more low end power.
Car has exceptional quality and handling; the only problem is I am a big man and getting in and out is a little problem at times. If you could make an auto seat that would drop back when getting out and return you to where you were comfortable when getting back in would be exceptional design. Otherwise my Subaru is an great auto.
Handling and pickup, great hold control on hills when in cruise control.
I bought a white 2006 2.5X with a 5-speed manual transmission, including a rear differential cover, a Class II hitch, and mudflaps. The miles per gallon isn't quite what I'd like to have, but otherwise it's a great little car. For trips with my small family (spouse and small child), I put a Yakima RocketBox on the factory rack, and then we have plenty of room. The power is sufficient, and it's surprisingly quiet on the road. The handling is very good, and the 5-speed is fun. I first thought that the hill-holder feature was only clever, but it's actually useful. I like the clearance a whole bunch, and it's cool to sit up in traffic too. Economical, roomy, dependable, comfortable, and quick. What more do most people need?
Seats, tranny, smooth engine, especially at idle. Cruise control and other electronics are well thought out and executed.
Plastic trim piece at bottom of door openings will pop off if a foot lands on them. As an adult, I've learned to avoid this, but my child has popped it off once or twice. It would be nice if it were integrated into the body better.
I wanted a car for snow trips that got better mileage than my gas guzzling Jeep Wrangler. I average 22-24 in town and once got 31 mpg going 65 on the flats of Utah. It is a stick. Does great in snow. It is also roomy because of its boxy shape. The rear seat footroom is minimal however. The headrests are too far forward. The black dotted material on the door will chafe your elbows if you rest them there. I find the car quiet which others say is noisy. Car has tight turning radius. Did not buy it for its looks. Is functional not fashionable. High ground clearance prevents a lot of bottoming out. Needs a telescoping steering wheel. Have to reach too far to reach wheel with seat back.
All wheel drive. Good gas mileage as long as you drive 65 MPH or below with manual transmission. General roominess including headroom.
Beware, the car drivetrain jerks when at low speed and you go to accelerate. It is very annoying in slow traffic. After spending time with Subaru's regional rep I was told that my vehicle "is currently operating as the design intended." Which means there is no fix. Offer WRX seats as option in 2.5x.