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2009 Subaru Forester

Overview
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2009 Subaru Forester Review

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With rising gas prices compelling many large SUV owners to abandon their fuel-hungry rides, small crossovers like the new, third-generation 2009 Subaru Forester have never looked better. An agile vehicle built to handle practically anything man or nature can put before its tires, the latest iteration has a much more contemporary-looking exterior complemented by a more spacious interior and a smoother, quieter ride. And with a respectable four-cylinder Boxer engine under the hood and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard, the Forester offers the capability of an SUV with fuel economy that won't break the bank. This segment has seen a lot of growth in the last few years, but the Forester can go places the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Saturn VUE and Nissan Rogue can't.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like your SUVs to be true to the "Utility" in "Sport Utility Vehicle," while still being small enough to comfortably maneuver in a city, the Forester may be the vehicle for you. With a low starting price, standard AWD, proven reliability, more towing power than many others in its class and great visibility all around, there's certainly a lot to love.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you want a V6 engine, room for seven or rear-seat entertainment, the 2009 Subaru Forester may not be for you. And although a manual transmission is offered, the automatic is the only transmission available with the turbocharged engine.

What's New for 2009

The Subaru Forester sees substantial changes for 2009. Built on an all-new platform and now sporting double-wishbone rear suspension, the Forester not only handles better, it also has more rear legroom and a quieter ride.

Driving the Forester

Driving Impressions Off-roading in the 2009 Subaru Forester showcased the vehicle's stiffer suspension, direct steering and notable ground clearance, all of which came into play when traversing rocks and ditches. Also helpful...

was the Forester's standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, capable of transferring up to 100 percent of the available power to the wheels with the best traction. Back on the pavement, we liked the added get-up-and-go provided by turbocharged models (who wouldn't?), but those with a more practical and budget-minded outlook will be just as happy buzzing around town with the normally-aspirated engine. Getting in and out of both rows of seats was a breeze thanks to wide-opening doors, and we found the all-around visibility from the driver's seat to be excellent; a boon when changing lanes, reversing, and exploring dirt roads.

Rear Visibility
Being able to see what's behind a vehicle when backing up, changing lanes, or even venturing off-road can make a big difference in how someone behaves while driving. The Forester's large back window allows the driver to see an object only 39 inches tall within 39 inches of the vehicle.

Panoramic Moonroof
Although not as large as others we've seen, this moonroof provides pleasant light to both the front and rear passengers, bringing a bit of the outdoors inside.

2009 Subaru Forester Details
2009 Subaru Forester photo Interior

The 2009 Subaru Forester features gauges that are colorful and easy to read, plus audio and climate controls configured in a logical, clear manner. A single cup holder is located next to the driver, while an additional bottle holder is situated in each door. Back in the second row, leg room is plentiful and the seats are wide and comfortable. In all trims except the 2.5X, the second-row seats recline. Cargo room in the back is a respectable 33.5 cubic feet, made all the more accessible thanks to a wide-opening rear gate door.

Exterior

The latest version of the Subaru Forester is a little less wagon and a little more modern crossover. Overall, the vehicle is taller and longer, with up to 8.9 inches of ground clearance that comes in handy when the road gets rough. Up front, a larger grille and "hawk eye" headlight treatment impart a more aggressive appearance, especially when paired with the available turbocharged engine's air scoop and fog lights. The optional chrome door handles and tailpipe add a bit of fresh bling to the Forester's exterior, while the wheelwells are filled with 16-inch steel or available 17-inch alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5X comes equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, Hill Start Assist, 16-inch steel wheels and 8.7-inches of ground clearance. Notable interior touches include a height-adjustable driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support and auto-off headlights. Opting for the XT trim will add the turbocharged engine, four-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels (helping to bump ground clearance to 8.9 inches), premium sound, fog lights and a telescoping steering column. To help keep occupants safe and sound, both trims feature six airbags, Vehicle Dynamics Control and anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist.

Optional Equipment

Some of the 2009 Subaru Forester's most attractive options include a navigation system, leather seating, power driver's seat, panoramic sunroof, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, premium sound, automatic climate control, satellite radio (choice of XM or Sirius), and cold-climate desirables like heated seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.

Under the Hood

Powering the base Forester X is a 170-horsepower four-cylinder Boxer engine (a "flat" engine in which the pistons lie horizontally, an advantage of which is a lower center of gravity) with a five-speed manual transmission, available only in this trim. Moving up to the L.L. Bean Edition adds a four-speed automatic transmission, while the XT trims come with a 224-horsepower turbocharged Boxer engine. Although the base engine is practical for around town driving, those looking for a little more power without a significant drop in fuel economy will likely appreciate all that the turbocharged version has to offer – if they don't mind paying for premium gas.

2.5-liter Boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 20/26

2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower@ 5200 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 19/24

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2009 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 248 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

Great car for value and affodability

By on Saturday, July 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great safety and value"

Cons: "Sunroof not tinted and pass seat not height adjust"

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

"Great all around vehicle. Better than the Jeep Cherokee I had before. The Yokohama tires were not that good in the rain, but maybe in snow. I changed to a better, in rain, all season tire and am very happy with the change. The only negative item is the driver seat must be jacked up with the handle and the passenger isn't height adjustable. It's roomy with good visibility and comfortable. I wish the sunroof was tinted."

Poor quality vehicle..and service department

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

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

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"At start up engine sounds like garbage truck; dash board lights on/off intermittently. Serviced and told this was OK. USB in dash smoking; car towed to dealership; car returned with USB charger non-functioning. My Forester will be traded in for a Honda CRV."

A great little SUV.

By on Friday, June 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very practical, almost a 'do anything' vehicle."

Cons: "Engine and road noise."

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

"Spacious interior. Excellent handling. Feels safe and secure in all weather conditions. My wife wasn't too excited about this particular car because we didn't get leather, heated seats, etc. Then she drove it over the mountains in the snow, and now she wants to look at Outbacks. My 2009 Forester was one of the first to arrive on the sales lot. Sales folks were not yet well informed, so we didn't get all the features we expected, such as premium sound. Also, like earlier Subarus, the head gaskets needed replacement at 60,000 miles. The standard engine provides plenty of power for our purposes, even when the car is heavily loaded - and with the rear seat backs down, we have loaded plenty."

Versatile- Off road solid, commuter comfortable

By on Friday, May 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Commuter rough road capable, AWD, decent mileage."

Cons: "Auto is spongy accelerating"

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

"I live down a mile of hilly dirt-gravel road and commute 30 miles of highway city mix to work. On weekends I drive logging roads and some wider 4 wheeler trails. 26-27 city a little better at 70mph +- on interstate. 2.5L 170 hp boxer with automatic transmission. nimble enough to commute milage drops if you push acceleration and don't coast to stops. Far from sporty or a rally car but is tough as a cob on logging roads and washed out trails. If you want a sporty pavement hugger stick with Mazda CX5, Honda CRV or Toyota Rav 4. You want an all weather commuter with a strong enough frame, drive train and heart get the Forester."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Subaru will do....

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"We bought this vehicle new and have driven it for four years. Reliable, comfortable, attractive, and reasonable gas mileage."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

worse car I ever owned

By on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,826

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "None"

Cons: "service for Subaru is not good."

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

"Have had this car for less than 3 years. Battery has been replaces 2Xs. Service tells me that the battery is bad. Something must be making the battery fail. Can't find anything other than the battery needs replaces. Heated seats do not work correctly. They have been checked repeatedly and nothing found wrong with them. Had the windshield wiper arm replaced because the screw would loosen and it would quit working when needed. Had window issues where the window will not wind up and stay up. Had this checked quite a few times before I was told it has to be the window guards since they could not find anything wrong with it. Gas mileage is very bad Subaru claims 21 MPG city and 27 MPG highway. I average 16 MPG city."

9 people out of 19 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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