We love our Forester, for the most part. It is the perfect size. I don't have to sink down to get in and better yet, don't have to yank myself high up to climb into it. Driving it is fun, very responsive and great turning radius. Visibility is excellent and parking is easy. However, we have 2 strong complaints and a minor one. First, the radio is terrible! The fm sounds like hollow am radio. Next, the passenger seat is highly uncomfortable, non adjustable, and sunk down so low it's hard to see over the dash. The minor complaint is storage. Glove box is tiny, cup holders are square and bottles routinely fall over. In-door cupholders are also flawed.
If you own a 2011 or newer Forester with the new engine requiring synthetic oil, Check/add oil frequently! Mine requires 1 qt added every 1800 miles on average. I read an account of another 2011 Forester owner who went just over 10,000 miles without checking or changing the oil, and the engine ran out of oil, seized and was destroyed. You will need to add 3-4 qts in between oil changes. Engine rattles loudly at startup for a few seconds. Subaru needs to fix the problem of oil use. Most people are not diligent about checking and topping up their oil. There will be many unhappy owners.
Let me begin by saying I own three Subarus and I used to love the company. However there is a defect in many 2011 to 2014 Forester engines. The defect cause them to consume massive amounts of the 0W20 oil the specs require. The problem is so bad a class action law suit has been filed. Google this story subaru-excess-oil-consumption-problem-may-lead-to-engine-failure-lawsuit My car has the defect and Subaru refuses to take full responsibility. I can't sell it to anyone in good faith and so I'm stuck pouring hundred of dollars of oil into it every year. My Subaru dealer quoted $5000 to fix the defect. It is an invisible problem, so buyer beware. Update - Subaru finally admitted fault (under pressure of a class action suit) and replaced the entire short block and whatever other little bits and pieces were necessary. Lo and behold, no more oil consumption issues, well at least not in the first 10K miles since the replacement. However, in the meantime, other issues have arisen. I had"heard noise for a long while from the wheels. I assumed it was tire noise, as the car was driving fine and the Subaru service centers did not identify anything. Within a couple of months I had to replace a wheel bearing in the front and another in the rear a in bad show I'm told a third is in bad shape. I also just had to replace both front axles and now I am told I have to replace the rear driver side U-joint which requires me to replace an entire drive shaft. I've never had to perform any of these repairs on any of my other subarus. I have had axles go on other cars, but they were 15+ years old, this car is five years old. In sum, I think this was a lemon I purchased and I'm still soured on Subaru.
This is a very good overall package and an excellent value. Car is very sure-footed in rain and snow. Has comfortable ride and seats. Excellent visibility, has responsive brakes, steering, highly maneuverable, great sun roof - helps cool car quickly, responsive engine - a bit noisy on cold start, but smooth and quiet thereafter, excellent hauling capacity with rear seats folded, 4-speed AT is a bit antiquated, but shifts smoothly and is responsive. Integrated TomTom GPS & w/audio/video takes some time to figure out, but is not hard to use thereafter once you understand the controls. Mileage between 16 mpg in cold, city driving, & up to 29 mpg on the highway, w/overall ave. of 21.5 so far.
After test drives of the competition, the ride in this SUV was the best. Steering is good, and handling is responsive. The tilt/telescope wheel and power seat make it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. It's been good in the snow so far. I installed aftermarket mud flaps, a good choice. Paint is a little soft/scratches easily. Engine is responsive, a little noisy but revs smoothly. Gear shift is notchy but tolerable and fine when you get used to it. The things I don't like about it, I decided at the test drive I could live with. No complaints on those things. The interior is well assembled, some materials are on the cheap side.