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.
Did not know SUV existed until I read Consumer Reports. They rated this #1 in small SUV category. I test drove also small SUV Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and the Forester out classed them all. I bought it used from the Subaru dealership (Jax, FL) and they had the Carfax. Took it to my mechanic and he said everything looked great! Wanted something that seats 4 & back seats go down so I can carry wood for my woodworking projects. Took it on a couple of long drives already and nice smooth ride. Car accelerates well given it is a 4 cylinder. I bought the SUV because of its reliability history and price. I read all the reviews on Edmunds.com and almost everyone liked their Subaru.
I've owned this car two years now and this car has been nearly flawless. I love the low end RPM power this car has. The torque curve is very flat on Subaru's 4 cyl engine. driving in snow is great. Heater and air conditioning is simple to operate. Wiper controls are fantastic and make sense. Cruise control on the steering wheel as well as radio controls are like a a more expensive car would have. Changing your own oil is a breeze as the oil filter is vertical and you can get to everything without driving the vehicle on ramps. Visibility when backing up is best in class. Paddle shifting manual mode transmission is handy holding gear downhill. For ~25K out the door a fine machine.
Have owned now for almost 2 years, and still am impressed by what a sound, competent SUV this is. Through 2 winters now, tracks like a goat-no way to get it stuck, and rain is irrelevant due to great visibility, wipers and traction. Body quality is high also-survived a nine inch wide, 12 foot long tree branch falling on it and grape sized hail without a dent or scratch. Plenty roomy (I'm 6'4" and comfortable front or back) and practical (carried everything I ever asked it to, much more than CR-V or RAV). Turbo makes it a VERY competent performer, and I think the handling is a great compromise between comfort and performance. Critics need to keep in mind that this is a Subaru, not an Audi
I bought this car for 2 reasons 1. Head room,I'm 6'5 2. AWD Over all happy but a few issues to note 1.The car has an uncanny ability to suck in the exhaust from other vehicles, and it has nothing to do with the in cabin filter. 2.The design of the front seats. As the driver its almost impossible to reach under the seat to grab anything, and there is a cable that runs directly from the underbelly of the seat to the ground that eliminates passage. The passenger seat sits so low that even I feel like a kid in a car(I'm 6'5) 4.Rattles. have fun going back and forth to the dealer getting all the rattles in the body panels shored up while under warranty 5.Transmission issues at 70K mi 6.Sterio