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2009 Subaru Forester

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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
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 262 Ratings for the 2009 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.0/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

2010 Forester = worst vehicle ever

By on Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

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
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Air bags and AWD"

Cons: "History of oil leaks."

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

"2010 Forester is well known, among mechanics, for oil leaks. Had to put in a new engine 1-1/2 years ago because it ran out of oil less than 3000 miles after last oil change. Subaru, upon notification, didn't care and is still depending on reputation of older models to sell newer defective vehicles."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

long time subaru customer,very disappointed!!!

By on Saturday, May 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "good driving great in bad weather"

Cons: "subaru quality and reliability seem to be fading"

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

"As a 23 year subaru customer very disappointed in our 2011 Forester. At 51000 miles oil leaks required both head gaskets to be replaced. Fortunatley car was still under 5 year power train warranty! This was a new engine design and still Subaru has head gasket issues,but now a cooling system conditioner/stop leak treatment won't stop OIL LEAKES! Thinking of a different brand in the future, what a shame."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Loved it, until....

By on Friday, April 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,500

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great in snow"

Cons: "Poor build quality"

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

"My Subaru Forester has been an awesome vehicle in comfort and dependability up until 54,500 miles when the head gasket began leaking oil. Because it is 1 year out of warranty, I am now left with a hefty repair bill. No car should have such a major problem with this low mileage. Very poor build quality. Sadly, I now no longer want another Subaru. If you are considering buying this year Forester, do your research online first. You will see many complaints of head gasket issues."

10 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Great value. Would purchase again.

By on Monday, April 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

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
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, Safety, Ground Clearance, Looks"

Cons: "Plastic interior, Fuel mileage, Tires must match"

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

"I bought my Forester used a couple of years ago when my Wife and I were expecting our first child. It feels really stable with the all wheel drive, especially in inclement weather. It does feel a little cushy during cornering but that may also be due to my other car being a Mazda 3 with sportier suspension. Dependable and reliable. I've only had to change the battery aside from the scheduled maintenance. One thing to keep in mind is with the AWD the tires need to be similarly worn or it could harm the drive train from what I was told, so be sure and balance and rotate your tires as recommended. Also if you have a flat tire and you have to use the donut, be sure to disable the AWD system until you're back on 4 matching tires. The interior looks good. I don't have leather and some of the plastic is a little cheap feeling. Also, when you slam the doors it makes more of a hollow sound than what I'm used to but that may just be me being overly critical. I do mostly stop and go driving and average around 21 mpg. This improves to somewhere around 25 on road trips typically. In my opinion this was a great combo of price, safety, looks, usability, and light off road capability for my little family."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Take anywhere in any conditions

By on Friday, April 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 141,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Versatile, reliable, affordable"

Cons: "Interior by Lego"

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

"This is a relable car that becomes more fun to drive the worse driving conditions get. Offroad mud and pastures to rain covered city streets and interstates it is awesome. Good little commuter car easy to manuever in traffic and parking. Wow factor for car badge snobs, not so much. Cheap foam seats and interior design by Lego and a little light on HP with AC on or when the tranny searches for a gear when you are in a hurry to merge. Sturdy good offroad better than RAV 4, CRV, and Mazda. This is a vehicle for those that prefer functional relaibility over style. Get the 5 speed if you get the boxer 4 cylinder without the turbo. 24-26 MPG in city and at 75 on interstate."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

excellent allaround car-great AWD-handles well

By on Monday, March 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "economical, fun, very versatile ; handles well"

Cons: "little noisy on highway and starting up"

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

"very good car; rides and handles well in all weather; economical; great visibility/braking good; a little noisy on highway ( road/wind noise );good paint and wear; reasonably comfortable seating; loads of cargo space. I highly recommend Forester."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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