Used 2008 Subaru Forester Sports 2.5 X Wagon Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2008 Subaru Forester Sports 2.5 X Wagon Review

2008 Subaru Forester Wagon

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Reviews from owners of the 2008 Subaru Forester Sports 2.5 X Wagon

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

10 years with a subaru forester

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X L.L.Bean Edition 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Great vehicle!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

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.

Forester fog taxi

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X Premium Package 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 5M)

Great car great in bad weather great animal transported (220pd 180 pds)

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

175,000 miles few problems

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X Premium Package 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

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.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

Used 2008 forester

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X Premium Package 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

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

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Best car i've ever owned

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Forester 2.5 X L.L.Bean Edition 4dr Wagon AWD (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

Really hate to be the obnoxious reviewer who gives all five stars, but this car has earned it. It's more comfortable than Cadillacs I've owned and has great fuel economy for an AWD (though I wish Subaru would introduce a fleet of hybrids). I usually get 30mpg hwy, but I don't really drive city. 160,000 miles so far and no issues whatsoever. Definitely will buy another one in the future.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2008 Subaru Forester Sports 2.5 X Wagon

  • Though aged compared to much of its competition, the 2008 Subaru Forester is still a practical and fun-to-drive crossover well-suited to many purposes.

  • Pros

    Peppy base engine, seriously fast in turbocharged XT trim, carlike ride and handling, standard all-wheel drive, reassuring crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Scarce rear legroom, too much road and wind noise, automatic transmission is slow to downshift.

  • What's New for 2008

    Changes are minimal for the 2008 Subaru Forester. Stability control is now standard on all turbocharged models equipped with an automatic transmission, and Subaru has shuffled the equipment among the Forester's many trim levels. One notable change is the L.L. Bean model's loss of its self-leveling rear suspension, which increased the pressure of the shock absorbers to compensate for heavy loads.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2008 Subaru Forester Wagon

What's New for 2008

Changes are minimal for the 2008 Subaru Forester. Stability control is now standard on all turbocharged models equipped with an automatic transmission, and Subaru has shuffled the equipment among the Forester's many trim levels. One notable change is the L.L. Bean model's loss of its self-leveling rear suspension, which increased the pressure of the shock absorbers to compensate for heavy loads.


At a glance, the 2008 Subaru Forester might seem like any other compact SUV. It shares its basic underpinnings with a car, for instance, and as such it's easy to drive and provides plenty of family-friendly versatility. However, Subaru has instilled enough variations on this basic formula to give the Forester a distinct character in a crowded field. Without a doubt, the Forester has a higher entertainment quotient than most sport-utilities. Its smaller dimensions, lighter weight and responsive handling give it a tossable feel. Even the base four-cylinder engine offers good punch, and the optional turbo engine delivers its power in a sudden, thrilling manner that competitors' V6 engines can't match. Subaru's offering of a manual transmission with either engine should entice enthusiasts further, as should the Forester's standard all-wheel drive. On the whole, this is one fun-to-drive crossover.

At the same time, the Forester also fares well in most practical matters. Its cargo area is surprisingly roomy and usefully square. It rides smoothly enough on the road (if a bit noisily) and treats its front passengers to a user-friendly interior and comfy seats. Rear-seat riders are less lucky, and are apt to complain about the unsupportive cushioning and lack of legroom back here. On the other hand, they're less likely to be injured in a collision, given the Forester's stellar scores in side-impact crash tests.

Despite its advancing age, the 2008 Subaru Forester isn't short on virtues, and those who prefer their compact SUVs a little smaller, sportier and quirkier may find a favorite in the 2008 Subaru Forester. But prospective buyers would be wise to examine its competitors, most of which are younger designs. The latest Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota RAV4 offer roomier interiors than the Subie, and the Toyota and Mitsu even offer a third-row option. In addition, all three offer a higher, more commanding seating position that many SUV buyers find so appealing. Also, some might prefer the Outlander and RAV4 for their V6 engines, which deliver their power in a more familiar, evenhanded fashion than the Forester's turbo.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A compact crossover SUV, the 2008 Subaru Forester comes with one of two engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a turbocharged version of the same. Foresters with the regular engine carry a "2.5 X" designation and come in base, Sports, Premium and L.L. Bean trim levels. Models with the turbo engine get the "2.5 XT" stamp and come in Sports and Limited trim levels.

The base Forester 2.5 X includes 16-inch steel wheels, a roof rack, a rear wiper with de-icer, air-conditioning, a CD player, full power accessories, cruise control and keyless entry. The first of three upgrades is the 2.5X Sports version, which loses the wiper de-icer but adds alloy wheels, black body accents and silver roof rails, leather trim for the steering wheel and shift knob, automatic climate control and a seven-speaker, MP3-capable stereo with a CD changer and auxiliary input jack. The 2.5 X Premium loses the upgraded speakers but gets back the wiper de-icer. The Premium then adds bigger side mirrors with turn-signal repeaters, rear disc brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, a moonroof, a power driver seat and heated front seats and mirrors. The ultimate 2.5X is the L.L. Bean model, and it comes with leather seats, a leather-and-wood steering wheel and shifter, the upgraded speakers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and sturdier plastic trim in the cargo bay.

As for the turbocharged Foresters, the 2.5 XT Sports is mostly equipped like the 2.5 X Premium. It deletes the power driver seat and heated seats and mirrors, but adds 10-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, a hood scoop, black body accents, silver roof rails, and front and rear spoilers. Finally, the 2.5 XT Limited has five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats and sportier-looking instrumentation.

Options on the 2008 Subaru Forester include a rear spoiler, a rear bumper cover, splash guards, various cargo trays and bins, a short-throw manual shifter and upgraded sound systems.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard on all 2.5 X models is a 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that makes 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged version on the XT packs 224 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. All trim levels have a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, excepting the automatic-only L.L. Bean. Like all Subarus, the Forester comes standard with full-time all-wheel drive, with automatic models using a higher-tech electronic system. Manual models have a Hill Holder feature to keep the Forester from rolling back on inclines.


Antilock brakes are standard on all 2008 Subaru Foresters; traction and stability control come exclusively on turbo models with the automatic transmission. Other safety features include active front head restraints and front-seat side airbags that provide head and torso protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forester an optimal "Good" rating for frontal offset and side-impact crashes and named it a top safety pick in the compact SUV class. The Subaru Forester also earned a perfect five stars in all front- and side-impact testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Interior Design and Special Features

Even the base 2.5 X version of the Subaru Forester has a well-appointed interior with tight build quality and simple controls. If the plastics look a bit utilitarian, the leather seats have an upscale look, and the front seats are comfortable and supportive. The rear seat, in contrast, has tight legroom for taller adults (it's also a problem for those with bulky car seats) and a somewhat unsupportive bottom cushion. Cargo space, on the other hand, is competitive with 31 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat upright, 69 when folded and a low lift-over height for ease of loading.

Driving Impressions

Performance with the base 2.5-liter engine is no more than adequate, though its generous whack of low-end torque makes the Forester feel spirited around town. The turbocharged version, on the other hand, packs a fierce punch, especially when equipped with its crisp-shifting manual transmission. In terms of handling, the Forester is stable and predictable even when pushed to its limits, and its small dimensions and below-average weight make it among the most carlike in its class. The steering is a bit light, but the 2008 Subaru Forester should be nimble enough to suit most drivers. Our main complaints concern the Forester's excessive road and wind noise. Enthusiastic drivers might also find the automatic transmission slow to downshift.

Talk About The 2008 Forester

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Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
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