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2008 Subaru Forester

Overview
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2008 Subaru Forester Review

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When the SUV craze took off in the mid-nineties, Subaru, which had built its reputation on the all-wheel-drive category, found itself without an entry. But 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 2008 Subaru Forester serves up a bit more spice than either the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and for not much more cash.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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 approximately on par with the competitive Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, but it falls short of Honda's CR-V.

What's New for 2008

Forester Sport models receive a revised front end, while turbo models equipped with the optional automatic transmission receive the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Driving the Forester

Driving Impressions Especially with the turbocharged engine, Foresters are eager and frisky performers. Acceleration is especially snappy with the manual gearbox, which gives a more enthusiastic nature to the driving experience. Considerably...

more snug inside than Subaru's Tribeca, the Forester offers ample headroom in both front and rear, while rear-seat legroom is fair and toe space, under the front seats, is excellent. On smooth surfaces the ride isn't bad, though some choppiness and road vibration might be evident. The turbo engine is a little buzzy but delivers responsive performance. Gauges and controls are ordinary but sensibly arranged for ease of viewing and operation.

Hill Holder
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
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive means, in Subaru's terminology, that the system was designed from the start to be an all-wheel-drive layout and not converted from an existing two-wheel-drive arrangement. The Variable Torque Distribution system utilizes an electronically-controlled hydraulic transfer clutch to control the distribution of torque between front and rear axles.

2008 Subaru Forester Details
Interior

Stepping inside the Forester is easy, and its familiar interior has received modifications that increase 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. The 2.5X features a passenger seatback net storage pocket and offers front and rear cup holders and a rear-seat folding armrest. A wide rear seat with plenty of thigh support welcomes passengers and the standard retractable cargo cover is high enough to accommodate tall items.

Exterior

Fresh front-end styling gives the 2008 Subaru Forester a bit more pizzazz, creating a "more unified, sophisticated, and more modern form," according to Subaru. Smooth side cladding and curvaceous rear glass produce a clean look, while eight inches of ground clearance provides ample ability for plowing through deep snow. The Forester sports a handsome fascia, flared front bumper and fenders and large outside mirrors with integrated turn signals available. The heavy-duty four-wheel independent suspension promotes enhanced performance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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. The 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition adds desert beige leather-trimmed upholstery with perforated Alcantara bolsters, a security system with shock sensor, Momo wood and leather steering wheel and an L.L. Bean-embossed cargo-area tray. The 2.5 XT Limited includes a 224-horsepower turbocharged engine, leather-trimmed upholstery and sporty electroluminescent gauge pointers.

Optional Equipment

Subaru's Premium Package, available on the 2.5 X only, includes rear disc brakes, eight-spoke alloy wheels, panoramic glass moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, a six-CD changer, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and trim upgrades.

Under the Hood

Subaru's 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed (boxer configuration) four-cylinder engine is naturally-aspirated for 2.5 X models and turbocharged for the 2.5 Sport XT and Limited. One advantage of the boxer-configuration engine is that it offers a lower engine height, and thus a lower center of gravity, which can contribute to enhanced handling. It should be noted that Subaru recommends premium gas for its turbocharged models.

2.5-liter Boxer-4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)

2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 (manual), 18/23 (automatic)

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2008 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 357 Ratings for the 2004 - 2008 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Solid, dependable SUV

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Solid and dependable"

Cons: "Dealerships not helpful, aftermarket parts zero?"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Great value. Lots of cargo room and trailer capable. Rides a bit rougher than some SUVs but handles well in traffic or town and does well on dirt roads and snow. Good mileage on the road30+ if you keep to the speed limits. 25 in the city."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Excellent car for snowy conditions; very reliable

By on Thursday, February 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "good handling, gets through snow"

Cons: "rust too soon at whell wells"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"easy to handle; nice 'trunk' capacity even for long cargo; this is my 3rd Subaru {Loyale, Impreza, Forester] sorry to see it go."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

exc. safety, powerfull start up, very good heating

By on Sunday, February 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
2/10

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."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love my car!

By on Saturday, January 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

I loved my car and no intention of replacing it.

By on Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

My Least favorite Subaru, winter driving not great

By on Monday, November 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

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."

19 people out of 25 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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