By KBB.com Editors
When the SUV craze took off in the mid nineties, the company which built its reputation on the all-wheel-drive category found itself without an entry. Subaru didn't take long to remedy this problem, giving birth to its first SUV: The Forester. Based on the Impreza platform, the Forester is basically a very tall wagon with some added ground clearance. As such, it retains all of the safety and stability features found in Subaru cars, but offers headroom and cargo space exceeding the popular Legacy and Outback wagons. Chock-full of options and with a choice of a normally-aspirated or turbocharged engine, the Forester serves up a bit more spice than either the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and for not much more cash.
If performance is a prime selling point, Subaru claims that a manual-shift 2.5 XT Limited can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, which is rather swift for a compact SUV.
Because the Forester delivers a choppier ride than some rivals, it might not appeal to those who favor an always-gentle road experience. Refinement is roughly on par with the competitive Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, but it falls short of Honda's CR-V.
No major changes for 2007.
Driving Impressions Especially with the newly-tweaked turbocharged engine, Foresters are eager and frisky performers with just a touch of satisfying crudeness. Acceleration is especially snappy with the manual gearbox, which instills a...more youthful nature. Considerably snugger inside than Subaru's new B9 Tribeca, the Forester yields ample headroom in both front and rear.
Manual-shift models are equipped with a Hill Hold feature that helps keep the Forester from rolling backward when starting on an upgrade.
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
That's what Subaru calls it but, in fact, two distinct systems are offered. Manual-shift Foresters get Continuous All-Wheel Drive with a 50/50 front/rear torque split, while those with an automatic transmission are equipped with Active All-Wheel Drive, which incorporates a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch and direct power to the wheels that need traction most, in response to changing conditions.
Stepping inside, which is easy to do, the Forester's interior appearance is familiar, but modifications have increased its utility and comfort. A multi-functional center console features a sliding armrest, while, in the cargo area, floor bars are accompanied by four utility hooks. A passenger seatback net storage pocket has been installed in the 2.5 X, which also offers front and rear cup holders and a rear-seat folding armrest. Nearly two inches of thigh support have been added to the rear-seat cushion and the standard retractable cargo cover is high enough to accommodate tall items.Exterior
Fresh from a makeover in 2006, the Forester's appearance has changed a bit to bring it a "more unified, sophisticated, and more modern form," according to Subaru. Smooth side cladding and more curvaceous rear glass produce a clean look. Last year's makeover included increasing the ground clearance to eight inches. The Forester sports a familiar front fascia, grille, four-lamp headlight cluster, bumper and fenders, and outside mirrors are bigger with integrated turn signals available. The heavy-duty four-wheel independent suspension has been retuned for enhanced performance.
All Foresters with the naturally-aspirated engine are called 2.5 X, and include head/chest side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, an AM/FM/Weather-band stereo with CD player and remote keyless entry. In the 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition the durable finish on the floor and seatback is extended to the cargo area side walls, and also included are desert beige leather-trimmed upholstery with perforated Alcantara bolsters, a security system with shock sensor and a Momo wood/leather steering wheel. The 2.5 XT Limited, the sole turbocharged model, includes a premium package with leather-trimmed upholstery and sporty electroluminescent gauge pointers.
Subaru's premium package, available on the 2.5 X only, adds rear disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, eight-spoke alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, panoramic glass moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a six-CD changer.
Subaru's 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed (boxer configuration) four-cylinder engine is in naturally-aspirated form for 2.5 X models and turbocharged for the 2.5 XT Limited. Manual-transmission models have Continuous All-Wheel Drive, while those with a four-speed automatic transmission have Active All-Wheel Drive, which includes a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch.
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 23/28 (automatic)
2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 21/26 (automatic)
By didi on Sunday, February 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable, reliable, good power"
Cons: "unattract. upholstery, uncomf armrest, gets bigger"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Quick heating and cooling. Easy to maneuver. Lousy interior, had to change the upholstery to leather every time I buy another Forester. No trunk light. Another disappointment that the car gets bigger and bigger. It is much bigger now than my first Forester before 2004. The same with Outback. But it saved my life and I love driving it."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By LidiA on Saturday, January 03, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My Forester has been excellent. Got it in Alaska and got me through a few winters without fail. Recommend it for reliability and safety."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Sunny on Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Saved my life!"
Cons: "Could use better gas mileage!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My car was totaled yesterday. I am NOT charged with the accident! All I want to know is what my trade in value, via my insurance company will allow me toward the purchase of another Subaru forester from my same dealership."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Adamantium on Monday, November 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish, roomy, good company, ok mpg, reliable"
Cons: "Winter handling poor, problems w/comfort & intrior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I think this is my 9th Subaru, and my 2nd forester. This is not a good model year, in my opinion. If you have to drive in winter conditions, give this model year a pass is my advice, move to an earlier Forester. Subarus typically handle great, especially in snowy conditions. I've always found them to have really responsive steering, great traction, and able to pull themselves out of trouble. My old Legacy wagons and Legacy outbacks were used to pull other cars out of ditches when other vehicles couldn't. I *use* my cars, they are my workhorses, I expect a lot of them. The models I have range from a 1989 wagon, a 1995 Legacy wagon, a Legacy Outback, on up through a 2001 Forester with heated leather seats and the heart of a truck--which was my favorite. This one is really disappointing. Even with brand new, good quality weather-appropriate tires--and in fine shape mechanically--it just doesn't handle nearly as well, esp. in winter. It slides too easily. It gets stuck easily, traction is much worse. It is less able to pull itself out of snowdrifts than any car (Subaru or not) that I have had, and I' have had some dogs. The doors freeze shut. This is also the least comfortable vehicle I've owned. The door handle is in an awkward place and cuts into my knee. Small parts of the interior have fallen off--the latch for hood and gas cap, the dials for heat/ac, and other annoyances. We have the usual cell phone/GPS using power sometimes. It seems to be hard on batteries. I have also had latches fail without warning. The hood latch failed and the hood flew up on my on the freeway. Luckily, I saw it start letting go and could pull off before it actually released, and saved my windshield. The hatch latch let go, and buckets of paint spilled out of the hatch and exploded on the road. "The door open" light did not go on. My friends who are used to average vehicles say "This car handles just fine!" I'm not used to "just fine" when it comes to Subarus. I am used to "This car is AMAZING, even with all this snow!" I expect more from a Subaru. Consider a different model year, esp. if winter driving is part of your life."
13 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By vic on Monday, November 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car, great price, great handling and tractio"
Cons: "Clumsy shift slots. Engine skid pan has poor scre"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The only thing I had to replace were the front brake pad. I dozed off and hit a tree head on. The air bag deployed and the seat belt did it's thing and I was not injured at all. I will now shop for another subaru."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By REM on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very reliable mechanically and getting from A to B"
Cons: "2016 Forester sun visor design stinks!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The safest vehicle in adverse conditions of the multitude of vehicles I've owned in over 50 years. In 90k miles, we have had zero major repairs, only the usual regular service costs. The only drawback is comfort. It is more of a sports SUV and reflects that kind of vehicle. Overall, no one would go wrong purchasing a Subaru Forester."
8 people out of 16 found this review helpful