Refined ride, comfortable cabin, all-wheel drive, turbocharged power, now looks like a real SUV.
Disappointing fuel economy, outdated four-speed automatic transmission, as-tested price, now handles like a real SUV.
Neither an SUV nor a station wagon, the previous Subaru Forester gained a loyal following among those who appreciated its rare combination of SUV-like cargo space, wagonlike handling and all-weather versatility. However, it received only lukewarm interest from the average consumer, who wanted fewer quirks and more in the way of traditional compact SUV virtues. Subaru knew that it would have to reinvent the Forester as a genuine crossover SUV in order to give segment leaders a run for their money. Enter the turbocharged 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited — to paraphrase R.E.M., it's the end of the Forester as we know it.
And we feel fine. By virtually every measure, the new Forester 2.5XT Limited is not only markedly superior to its predecessor, but also easily on a par with competitors like the Mazda CX-7, Saturn Vue Red Line and Toyota RAV4 V6. Boasting a substantially roomier cabin, attractive styling all around, a segment-leading 8.9 inches of ground clearance and possibly the best combination of power and overall refinement in its class, the Forester 2.5XT Limited has made an exceedingly graceful transition from wagon-on-stilts to SUV.
While this fresh Forester isn't perfect, our criticisms may seem insignificant to compact SUV shoppers. The slow-witted four-speed transmission makes the turbocharged engine feel less powerful than it is, for example, but the 2.5XT Limited is nonetheless quick enough for most tastes. As-tested price is another issue, but if you can do without our tester's navigation system and luxurious appointments, the base Forester 2.5XT stickers for a more palatable $26K. One unequivocal shortcoming is fuel mileage: The aforementioned Toyota is appreciably more efficient while delivering similarly brisk acceleration.
All in all, the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited is an impressive effort. It offers familiar Forester features along with increased comfort and refinement in an endearingly rugged wrapper. Die-hard Forester fans will likely embrace the changes, and Subie newbies will appreciate the 2009 model's considerably broader appeal. The Forester has finally found itself as a class-leading compact crossover SUV.
The all-wheel-drive 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited is motivated by a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out a lag-free 224 horsepower and 226 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic with manual shift control (unavailable on previous Foresters) is the only available transmission. We recorded a 0-60-mph sprint of 6.8 seconds en route to a quarter-mile time of 15.1 seconds at 90.4 mph — excellent numbers for a compact SUV, particularly given the four-speed auto's deliberate shifts and widely spaced ratios.
We paid the price for this plucky performance at the pump, as our Forester managed a decidedly SUV-like 18.1 mpg over 871 miles of mixed driving. The EPA rates the Forester XT at 19 mpg city/24 highway — by comparison, the aforementioned RAV4 V6 is rated at 19/26, and we managed a cumulative 21 mpg with our long-term RAV4. Handling is also SUV-grade, as the Forester rolls and bounces its way through tight corners like a four-wheeled pogo stick. Our best 60-0-mph stopping distance was an indifferent 125 feet, with the brake pedal evincing a consistently spongy feel.
The payoff for the Forester's nautical handling becomes evident while traversing uneven surfaces. We can't think of another compact SUV that soaks up bumps with such aplomb. Throw in those 8.9 inches of ground clearance, and the Forester makes for a compliant and capable soft-roader. Moreover, while light on effort and feel, the Forester's crisp steering makes it feel surprisingly maneuverable in close quarters, aided by a usefully tight turning circle.
Road and wind noise in the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited are about par for the course in this segment — always perceptible, but rarely objectionable. Consumers drawn to the Forester's buff new body should enjoy the commandingly elevated driving position, although the diminutive dead pedal seems to have been designed for feet men's size 8 and under. Otherwise, folks of all sizes will have no trouble getting comfortable behind the wheel, thanks to a nicely shaped height-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support and a steering column that tilts and telescopes. Controls are easily reached, and well-placed armrests ensure satisfactory long-distance cruising comfort.
The Forester's split-reclining rear seat deserves special mention here. "Throne" would be a better term, as the cushion is so high that rear passengers will feel as though they're looking down on those in front. All but the longest of leg will actually be able to rest their hamstrings flush against the cushion — a rarity in motorized conveyances without wings or bathrooms. Yet headroom somehow remains ample, and legroom is adequate even when sitting behind 6-footers.
Also singled out for praise by our editors was the gargantuan sunroof, which has become something of a Forester tradition. It slides back so far that rear passengers might catch some rays, too. Our only quibble is that two touches are required to close the roof (the first touch leaves it about 25 percent open). A one-touch-open sunroof should be one-touch-close as well.
The 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited's abundant glass and high seating position yield excellent visibility in all directions. Gauges are a model of simplicity. So are the three-knob climate controls, which could hardly be more intuitive. Secondary controls are all where you'd expect them to be.
What you might not expect is the cumbersome operation of the 2.5XT Limited's integrated navigation system and stereo. The navigation system itself actually works well enough, but with a mélange of two knobs, 10 identical-looking buttons and various touchscreen inputs, there's nothing simple about getting the Forester to play your favorite tunes. What's more, when you want to tailor the sound beyond presets like "Rock" and "Jazz Club," you'll have to go through a digital version of a vintage 1985 graphic equalizer — no simple bass and treble adjustments here. Adding insult to inconvenience, the sound quality is mediocre at best, regardless of how much you tinker with the settings.
Unsurprisingly, the Forester passed our real-world usability tests with flying colors. A bag of golf clubs fit easily behind the backseat, and there was plenty of room for more. Our two standard suitcases were likewise easily swallowed by the Forester's cargo hold, and it's a cinch to flip the rear seatbacks down and free up the 2.5XT Limited's full 63 cubic feet of space. Child-seat installation proved trouble-free as well, although taller front passengers may have to sacrifice a bit of legroom and/or seatback rake in order to accommodate a rear-facing child seat.
Design/Fit and Finish
From every angle, the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Limited announces its newfound SUV identity with authority. Some derivative styling elements are present, but we find the overall effect muscularly attractive. Inside, the Forester largely shares the recently redesigned Impreza's interior layout, which is generally a good thing. Faux-aluminum trim pieces on either side of the dashboard flow artfully into the center console. The square-shaped uncovered cupholders, however, are a bit of an aesthetic letdown. Quality construction is evident, with tight panel gaps inside and out.
Who should consider this vehicle
Consumers who want cavernous cargo capacity and extraordinary comfort for four adults in a relatively compact and powerful all-wheel-drive vehicle. If the first two features are negotiable, a more fuel-efficient and better-handling all-wheel-drive station wagon may be worth a look.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2009 Subaru Forester Overview
The 2009 Subaru Forester is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include 2.5X 4dr SUV AWD w/Premium Pkg,VDC (2.5L 4cyl 4A), 2.5XT 4dr SUV AWD w/VDC (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 4A), and 2.5X 4dr SUV AWD w/All Weather, Premium Pkg, VDC (2.5L 4cyl 4A). Forester models are available with a 2.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 224 hp, depending on engine type. The 2009 Forester comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed shiftable automatic. The 2009 Forester comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2009 Subaru Forester?
Save up to $302.4 on one of 84 used 2009 Subaru Foresters for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $4712 as of Dec 17, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 29 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2009 Subaru Forester trim styles:
The 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X is priced around $9370 with average odometer reading of 109783 miles.
The 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited is priced around $9466 with average odometer reading of 117650 miles.
The 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT is priced around $10997 with average odometer reading of 86409 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2009 Subaru Forester a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2009 Subaru Forester and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2009 Forester featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2009 Subaru Forester? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Subaru Forester and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Forester 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Forester.
Review I have a 2005 Forester that is the 2.5X Manual version. I bought the 2009 for my wife, with the Auto. It is the Premium version. As a summary, I like the vehicle, but the fuel economy is crap. We get about 20-22 mpg on average, whereas my '05 gets 26-28 on average. If we really baby the gas and drive ultra conservatively, we may be able to get 25 mpg, but that is a huge IF. As for Snow driving, I will take the '09 over my '05, granted, my '05 is more fun to drive. The '09 is like a tank in the snow. We are in the market for a replacement for the '09. Our family is growing again, and the forester is just too small. Perhaps if it got better fuel economy, we would reconsider.
2009 Subaru Forester inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Subaru Forester for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1491 new and 1435 used and CPO 2009 Foresters listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 4712 and mileage as low as 0. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2009 Subaru Forester. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 302 on a new, used, or CPO 2009 Forester available from one of 2807 dealerships in your area.
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Exterior Colors: Ice Silver Metallic, Crystal White Pearl, Quartz Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Silica, Venetian Red Pearl, Jasmine Green Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic, Marine Blue Pearl, Sepia Bronze Metallic, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sage Green Metallic, Crystal Gray Metallic, Aspen White, Garnet Red Pearl, Cayenne Red Pearl, Newport Blue Pearl, Steel Silver Metallic, Camellia Red Pearl, Deep Cherry Pearl, Paprika Red Pearl, Urban Gray Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic/Textured Gray, Spark Silver Metallic, Champagne Gold Opal, Sky Blue Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic, Pacifica Blue Pearl, Satin White Pearl, Woodland Green Pearl/Textured Gray, Blue Ridge Pearl, Regal Blue Pearl, Sierra Gold Metallic, Steel Gray Metallic, Topaz Gold Metallic, Black Diamond Pearl, Cayenne Red Pearl/Textured Gray, Java Black Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Acadia Green, Crystal Gray Metallic/Textrured Gray, Evergreen Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Evergreen Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Regal Blue Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Woodland Green Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Acadia Green Metallic, Aspen White/Premium Silver Metallic, Aspen White/Textured Gray, Black Diamond Pearl/Slate, Canyon Red Pearl/Slate, Crystal Gray Metallic/Steel Gray Metallic, Crystal Gray Metallic/Urban Gray Metallic, Dark Gray Metallic/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Garnet Red Pearl/Urban Gray Metallic, Java Black Pearl/Steel Gray Metallic, Newport Blue Pearl/Steel Silver Metallic, Obsidian Black Pearl/Textured Gray, Regal Blue Pearl/Textured Gray, Rio Red, Sedona Red Pearl, Sierra Gold Metallic/Textured Gray, Sierra Gold Metallic/Titanium, Silverthorn / Slate, Silverthorn Metallic, WR Blue Mica
Interior Colors: Gray cloth, Black cloth, Black leather, Gray leather, Brown leather, Black, Gray, Graphite Gray cloth, Desert Beige cloth, Beige, Grey, Off Black cloth, Platinum cloth, Anthracite Black leather, Gray Leather, Off Black
Popular Features: Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Back-up camera, Post-collision safety system, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Upgraded Headlights, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Keyless Entry/Start, Upgraded Stereo, 2500lb Towing Capacity, AWD/4WD, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Sunroof/Moonroof, Heated seats, Auto Climate Control, Leather Seats, Power Driver Seat, Navigation, Remote Start, Parking sensors, Towing Hitch