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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 340 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
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Great, spacious vehicle that is reliable.

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Spacious and comfy!"

Cons: "Not the fastest pick-up but good for a 4-cylinder."

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

"So I'm a mom of two and this car works great for us. Strollers, bikes, luggage all fits. Spacious enough that I'm not worried about anyone being crammed anywhere. I like a little bit faster pick-up in a car but it's probably better this way ;) Overall I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a moderate, low-profile car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

This car WAILS

By on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great to drive"

Cons: "don't like the security system to sensitive"

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

"This is our first subie and it is the best car we have ever owned. It drives smooth and handles well.Plenty of space for the family and cargo.Can't wait to drive in snow. Rock on Forester"

great vehicle

By on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 97,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Never says never. Great in snow, sure footed in rain and bad weather. Always looks small to me when I see other Foresters of same vintage on the road but has amazing carrying capacity. Like a clown car! Great engineering. The car has never let me down. Wish it were zippier...than again...wish I were driving a Porche SUV."

Safest and best value car I've owned.

By on Monday, July 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Foul weather roadability, versatile, value"

Cons: "AWD is full time"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Outstanding handling in snow and rain, quiet too. Never had to use air bags but it gets the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute. Only repairs needed in 10 years and 61k miles are new front brakes & rotors at 61k miles and new sway bar links at 50k miles. Just wish the AWD could be locked out at times it is not needed, that way gas mileage might be one or two mpg better. But 26 mpg average is still pretty good."

Great practical and sensible car.

By on Monday, July 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

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
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "well made good value little car"

Cons: "quieter cabin with comfortable seats,better shift"

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

"nothing seems to fall apart, even the clock works excellent. would be nice if it shifted easier, the seats weren't so hard and not so much outside noise filtering in, esp. on rough roads. The tougher the car the longer it seems to last. I want another Forester made just as well except those three items listed previously improved as long as it didn't compromise its durability. Better gas mile would be an extra plus."

Great car

By on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,987

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
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great mileage highway or local."

Cons: "cargo area"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"My only complaint is cargo area and back seats don't lock down for cargo like my previous outback. REALLY loved that Outback but Forester better at defrosting completely (coated with ice) all by its lonesome. Very nice pickup for merging onto interstate."

1 person out of 1 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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