I really like the all wheel drive when up in the mountains. The only real downside is that there isn't enough leg space in the back seat. So it would be really difficult if we had back seat occupants on a regular basis, however as there is only my wife and myself the dog normally has this space to herself. This is my wife's car and the mileage is low, but she does get a run up to the Great Smokies a few times a year. Other than normal maintenance expenditures we have only had to replace one of the tire pressure sensors on this vehicle last year. Based on this experience I traded my car for a Subaru Outback in 2017
I have owned this car for nearly 11 years. She is now at about 125,000 miles and still rides like new. I, too, changed the headlights a couple years ago when they started to gather water. Well, one did, but I changed both because I didn't want to look at one old and one new. In the last couple of years, I have changed the radiator hoses, replaced the ball joints, steering pump, oil filter. I also had to change the ac compressor. I expect to have to do such things to keep my car in perfect condition. I take her to be serviced for all scheduled maintenance. If there is an issue, I fix it. Soon, i will do something about the wind noise that seems to be coming from the right front door gusset. She has never left me stranded somewhere or left me helpless. She warns me. I listen, and I take care of her. By her 9th year, some rust spots were appearing on top. I took her down to Mexico for a cheap paint job. I regret it, though it is just OK. I wish I had paid a bit more and had a better job done on her. But I am the only one who notices. I take my two dogs to the beach or out to run in the wilderness every weekend. I throw a towel on the back seat and wash that every week. ALL the seats (black cloth) in my Forester look as new as the day I bought her. I can't believe how great they look. Seats remain comfortable, too. I had a bad accident earlier this year. A huge Ford Explorer behind me, with a driver not paying attention. He swerved and smashed into the back, completely demolishing the back driver's side door and the bumper. I rode through the accident like in a magical dream. The car and I were one. I was sent across the two left lanes. Luckily other cars were able to stop without smashing into me. Then, we glided to a stop on the left shoulder, as if we had just performed ballet. All I suffered was a slight bruise to my left elbow. I didn't flail around at all, despite the impact. I couldn't believe it. She protected me like a charm. The auto body shop found a replacement used door for her and also replaced the bumper. No structural damage, despite the monster that hit us. She now looks great again. All fixed up and ready to serve. I absolutely love my car. I have been looking at newer models of the Forester, also anticipating the 2019 model. But I have to say, it will be hard to part with my Blue Baby. She is beautiful in her simplicity. I have aftermarket bluetooth for my phone, a radio and CD player. That's it. The dashboard is that sporty rubbery black. Still looks like new even though she is parked in the California sun every day. I rarely use my phone anyway. Don't even own a smartphone, so I can wait. I may wait 5 more years before I replace her. Oh, and I have driven her through snow and ice in Colorado and Utah, while watching VWs spin out of control. She is gutsy going up mountains. I've driven her over boulders (I didn't even know it was possible) and through streams, and across washboard deserts. She has been on long road trips. She has never let me down. I think no other car will ever impress me as much. She rides better than the day I bought her. What a great car! Yes, I am a fan.
Purchased used in September 2009.. Hard to believe it's at 175,000 miles and still runs smooth and responsive. Replaced rear brake pads one time. Most expensive repair. Right rear wheel bearing which is a common problem on Subaru. $450.00 repair. Most expensive maintenance item. Timing belt with water pump and pulleys. I paid $600.00. The dealer charges $1200 or more. Tires are an issue. Buy good ones and they will last. Yokohama seem to last longest. The seats are not good for long trips. Get a small memory foam pillow and that will take care of that. Weird stalling and idle problems started at 142,000 miles and traced to small valve on intake manifold. Remove electric hook up, remove two Phillips screws, spray valve with intake manifold cleaner and problem solved. Remove spark plug wires and inspect for oil. Valve cover gasket leaks common problem on these cars but I haven't had to replace them yet. Overall it's a good safe solid car. Nothing fancy but reliable when you work through the issues. Make sure when replacing plug wires to use spark plug grease on both ends of wires. Another issue. Headlights started leaking at 160,000 miles. Don't even try to fix them. Order new ones off Ebay for $300. You have to remove the entire front end to replace them. It's time consuming not difficult. It's 8 years old at this point and has held up well.
Update February 2017. Still running well. Just replaced front and rear pads. And both oxygen sensors 184,712 miles.
Update August 2017. 193,783 miles. Replaced valve cover gaskets. Surge and stalling again. Preparing to change out fuel injectors and gas pedal assembly. Most of the time it runs perfect but occasionally stalls. I also suspect it could be accumulation of bad gas.
Update February 2018: 199,980 miles. Car running smoothly again. However, turned car over to one of my children in January 2018. He is now over 200,000 miles.
Overall car condition was good and got a pretty nice purchase price. Car dealer, Baker Chrysler Jeep, were extremely nice and helpful. I would definitely buy another vehicle from them. Car has things to fix, but nothing major. CD player doesn't work and back panel of lift gate rattles. But otherwise in good shape. Only had for a month so far