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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 231 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

It's the little things

By on Saturday, October 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
7/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"No temp gage ---- sun visor not wide enough--noisy---xmission down shifts often--seats to short for good support---leather fair quality--overall no problems, but would not buy again"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Low beam headlights are useless.

By on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "All wheel drive"

Cons: "Questionable headlights"

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

"I bought this car with the intention of keeping for quite a few years. I'm afraid that won't be possible unless I can get the headlights improved. The low beam illumination is minimal at best and Subaru tells me they redesigned the headlights because of complaints about the low beams. Will the new headlights fit in this car? NO. Can I put brighter bulbs in this car? NO. So, apparently, I spent top dollar for bad headlights that they knew about and have no way of fixing. Needless to say, I am not happy."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Subaru over-hyped by company ads

By on Monday, October 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Nothing to recommend it."

Cons: "See following"

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

"Lousy mileage: <27 mpg hwy, for a car this size? Obvious engineering deficiencies: Grossly underpowered; Sun visors too small; LED display invisible in daylight; interior rear-view mirror bracket too weak; Requires very expensive special-order Yokohama tires available only from a CA tire dealer;"

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

definitely my favorite car(#7) so far

By on Thursday, October 02, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "versatility- for people and cargo"

Cons: "mileage should be better"

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

"nice size for everyday life and for travelling, room for cargo and kids , can carry big load-esp when back seat back down. driving is great. mileage could be better. getting 23-24 city, up to 29 hwy. look forward to another Subaru but not done with this one yet! also great trade in value!"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great family car-nice mix of features

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good value,safety features, easy maneuverability"

Cons: "Ride is a little bumpy."

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

"Good for families who are active or need extra space without spending extra on gas! We get about 25 MPG and do a lot of short runs to school, lessons, shopping etc. Love the cargo space and roof rack for hauling camping gear, bikes, etc. Dog loves it too. This car turns on a dime!!!Handles bumps & potholes effortlessly!"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

2013 Subaru Forester X Premium with Plus Package!

By on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value for your money, fun to drive, AWD"

Cons: "Materials quality inside, thin upholstery"

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

"I have owned this Marine Blue 2013 Subaru Forester 5 speed manual with the Plus Package since Feb of 2013. It isn't driven long distance very often but sure is fun to drive. The car also provides a very useful double duty as our RV tow vehicle and is fantastic to have on camping trips. Subaru's Symmetrical AWD is wonderful in just about any terrain and the ground clearance is also quite useful. The new FB25 Boxer engine has been very reliable and I haven't noticed any of the oil consumption issues that some have described online. The oil has been changed one time at 1000 miles and has stayed right on the full mark for the last 3200 miles. I love the power, sound and torque of the Boxer engine and the 5 speed makes the perfect combo. The interior materials could be a little higher quality as there are some areas that are pretty hard plastic that is easy to scratch and the dash seems pretty "stiff" to me. The heated seat buttons are also in an awkward location and sometimes hard to reach. Other than that, it is a wonderful SUV and if the quality of materials were a little higher, it would be a solid 10 in my book. Other than that, you will love the Forester and certainly cannot go wrong with a car from a company that cares as much as Subaru does. Need to be convinced a bit more? As I type this review, I just picked up my second Forester! I bought a 2015 2.5i Premium with the CVT and I hope it is as good as my 2013. I am excited to have 2 Foresters in the household now and will write a review as I drive it a bit more."

2 people out of 2 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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