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2008 Subaru Forester

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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 376 Ratings for the 2004 - 2008 models.

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

runs today as if just off the lot!

By on Friday, January 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"PRO :Consistent gas mileage. Easy to drive. Quick off the start from red light. Important to keep filters clean, liquids full, and oil changed regularly. Good in the mountains. Not quite a truck, but plenty of room for toys inside and out. CON: A bit air noisy inside cab. Could use better air conditioner. Had head gasket redone in '14."

One of the best cars I've owned!

By on Monday, January 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good power,fuel efficient,reliable,safe,roomy"

Cons: "wind noise, styling"

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

"I have owned my 2007 Forester Columbia Edition, automatic, for over a year and I love it. I bought it used in Dec 2014 with 90,000km (55,000 miles), now has 120,000km (75,000 miles). The only issue I have had was a bad AC idler pulley ($30) shortly after purchase. For a 9 year old vehicle I am very impressed every option works, no rust, and I have had no major mechanical issues. Before the Forester I've had mustangs, camaros, jeeps and various economy cars and non came close to the versatility or reliability of the Forester. I catch myself wanting to sell my Forester for something more "flashy" but it's such a great all-around vehicle I would absolutely regret it. The Forester is not the best in any one category but it is excellent in many and probably the most well-rounded SUV. I average 30mpg from a car rated at 25mpg, AWD is great in any weather, lots of cargo space (especially with the rear seats down), has adequate passing power but it can easily tow my sea-doo and trailer. Ride is good and comfortable on long trips but not the best I've had. Engine noise is very low but wind noise from the frameless doors is excessive. The interior is simple and made from high quality plastics. The tops of the doors and dash have textured foam padding which is stylish and comfortable to the touch. The arm rests are covered in a foam/leather (faux leather?) but are very comfortable for long trips. To summarize, the Forester is probably the best all-around SUV you can buy. There are competitors that are slightly faster, slightly better on gas, have slightly more space, etc. but they excel in one attribute in exchange for making another far worse. My Forester is part of the family now and I couldn't be happier!"

LEMON!!!

By on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 168,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Nice interior; lots of "perks""

Cons: "Major Engine Failure; electrical issues"

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

2007 Subaru

"Bought a previously enjoyed 2007 Subaru Forester; manual tranny. Seemed fine. Approx six months later at about 150K, the cruise light began to flash and the check engine light came on steady. Oil started leaking furiously. Mechanic did a complete overhaul of engine, regasketing everything to the tune of over 3K (I bought the car for 5K cash) Has been having certain electrical problems as well. Less than a month after the engine job, it's leaking oil again. I have probably put another 5K into this lemon for nothing. To think that I USED to have a '88 Subaru Justy that ran and ran and ran. That thing was reliable as the day is long and as solid as a tank. Never again will I buy another Subaru as they are now junk. I really didn't want a car payment at this point as I just bought a high end stereo (custom) for this junkpile. I also just bought a brand new LS Tractor and am making payments on that thing."

2007 Subaru

Extremely reliable

By on Sunday, December 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very reliable"

Cons: "Underpowered"

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

"Owned this car since June 2005 and have no complaints. It's very reliable but a little underpowered."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Reliable. Economic. Good starter car.

By on Sunday, November 29, 2015

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
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fairly new tires."

Cons: "Needs wheel."

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

2004 Subaru Forester

"Great car for new driver. Comfortable driving for short or tall people. Served me well for 11 years. Needs minor body work."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

2004 Subaru Forester

My first brand new vehicle

By on Friday, September 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,800

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable and comfortable."

Cons: "Still no good spot to stash a purse!"

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

River of No Return area - Idaho

"I keep cars a long time - about 8 years on average. This is the first vehicle I chose up front and bought new. I'm a big fan of buying according to your planned use and needs. For me, the Forester hit all the important buttons: extra safe features, decent mileage, four wheel drive and reasonable ground clearance for minor off highway traveling (we car camp). It is also very easy to get into and out of - important because I have bad knees. Remember I said I usually keep cars about 8 years? I've had this one for ten already - and I'm not tired of it yet, and it is in great shape closing in on 100,000 miles."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

River of No Return area - Idaho

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