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2013 Subaru Forester

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2013 Subaru Forester Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.7

Big, heavy gas-guzzling SUVs have their place, but if you don't need room for seven or the ability to tow a heavy trailer, a vehicle like the 2013 Subaru Forester makes much more sense. Easy on gas, the 4-cylinder Forester combines car-like ride and handling with the ground clearance and AWD tenacity of a light-duty off-road vehicle. Unlike most compact crossovers, the Forester's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is permanently engaged, providing excellent traction in all weather conditions. The Forester's roomy interior is highly versatile, and Subaru offers an abundance of roof-rack accessories for securing everything from cargo to kayaks. Best of all, the Forester is reasonably priced, holds it value well, and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the ride and handling of mid-size sedan, but the need for maximum cargo space requires a more SUV-like solution, the Subaru's 2013 Forester gives you the best of both worlds. Its low-profile boxer engine gives it remarkable poise in the curves, and its AWD lets it go places no car would dare to venture.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need room for seven, the ability to tow more than 2,400 pounds, or a rear seat DVD entertainment system, the Subaru Forester probably won't make the grade. Its outdated 4-speed automatic transmission doesn't provide the best fuel economy and the 5-speed manual isn't available on the sportier turbo models.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Subaru Forester 2.5X receives a new radio with built-in Bluetooth and streaming capabilities, as well as iPod control and a USB port. Steering-wheel audio controls are standard on the base trim, while Premium models get a new Value Package that includes an upgraded radio display, fog lights and the Cold Weather Package.

Driving the Forester

Driving Impressions We took our 2013 Subaru Forester on some light off-road trails, which showcased the vehicle's firmer 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 system, capable of transferring up to 100 percent of the engine's power to the individual wheels with the best traction. Back on pavement, we liked the added get-up-and-go of the turbocharged models (who wouldn't?), but those with a more practical and budget-minded outlook will be just as happy dashing around town with the naturally 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 views 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 imparting driving confidence. The 2013 Subaru Forester's large rear 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 oversized glass roof provides pleasant light to both the front and rear passengers, bringing a bit of the outdoors inside.

2013 Subaru Forester Details
Interior

The Subaru Forester's colorful gauges are set into a sweeping dashboard with a logical layout. A multifunction display with fuel-economy and outside-temperature readouts is standard, as is a versatile center console with numerous cubbies and two 12-volt sockets. The roomy front seats are height adjustable, and the materials feel reasonably rich. Rear legroom is plentiful, and the 60/40-split seat folds easily and even reclines in all but the base 2.5X. The wide liftgate opens to 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space, plus such niceties as hooks for grocery bags and other items, plus tie-downs in the floor and a storage well underneath it.

Exterior
2013 Subaru Forester photo

While earlier Foresters looked like tall Subaru wagons, the Forester for 2013 is a svelte take on the SUV. Prominent wheel arches and nearly nine inches of ground clearance lend it a clean yet businesslike profile. Up front, a large grille and wraparound "hawkeye" headlights add a hint of sporty aggression, especially in combination with the functional hood scoop on the turbo models. Sporty alloy wheels (optional on the base 2.5X, standard in a 17-inch size on all the higher trims) and a tasteful measure of chrome accenting add just enough finesse to its clean, functional design.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Subaru Forester 2.5X comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, AWD, Hill Start Assist, air conditioning, keyless entry, 16-inch steel wheels, six airbags, driver-seat lumbar adjuster, auto-off headlights, and Bluetooth for audio and phone. The Premium (in 2.5X or turbo 2.5XT form) gains a panoramic moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and a 10-way power driver seat. The turbo also adds fog lights, a rear spoiler and heated front seats. The 2.5X Limited adds leather, an automatic transmission, climate control, heated mirrors and a 6-speaker audio system. The top 2.5X and 2.5XT Touring models include electroluminescent gauges, dual-zone climate control, 7-speaker audio, rearview camera and xenon headlights.

Optional Equipment

Among the Forester's most attractive options for 2013 is a touch-screen navigation system with premium audio and iTunes song tagging on Limited and Touring models. Premium models can be equipped with a removable TomTom navigation system. An All-Weather package for the 2.5X Premium adds heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. (It's standard on the higher models, though oddly not available on the 2.5XT Premium.) Other than satellite radio, most other options are bundled into the various trim levels. The 4-speed automatic transmission is optional on the 2.5X and 2.5X Premium, and standard elsewhere.

Under the Hood

Powering all 2013 Forester 2.5X trims is a competent 170-horsepower 4-cylinder boxer engine (a "flat" engine in which the pistons lie horizontally, one advantage of which is a lower center of gravity). This engine features chain-driven dual overhead camshafts for greater power and longevity as well as quieter operation. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on 2.5X base and Premium trims, with a 4-speed automatic optional (and standard on all higher trim levels). The Forester 2.5XT enjoys a 224-horsepower turbocharged boxer-4. Although the base engine is practical around town, those seeking more power without suffering typical SUV fuel-economy penalties will appreciate the turbo, as long as they don't mind paying for premium gasoline.

2.5-liter boxer-4
170 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
174 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 21/27 mpg

2.5-liter turbocharged boxer-4
224 horsepower@ 5,200 rpm
226 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA Estimated City/Highway Mileage: 19/24 mpg

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2013 Subaru Forester Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 253 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
    8.0/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

Small but mighty.

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

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
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "good leg room in back, fun and dependable"

Cons: "driver's seat could be a little more comfy"

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

"My Subaru Forester goes just about anywhere I need it to. Carries big items with the back seats down and even carries tall people in the back without crowding the front seat folks. I'm not short, but even I can wear my cowboy hat when driving with room to spare. It's the only car for me from now on."

Great car in winter weather. Reliable.

By on Sunday, August 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great in winter weather."

Cons: "Gas tank is on the passenger side."

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

"I have enjoyed driving this car. It has been reliable 100% of the time. Comfort is not the greatest on a long trip. Trips less than 2 hours are fine. Gas mileage was okay, not outstanding. I would probably buy another Subaru if the gas tank was on the driver's side. I have had trouble with this car accepting gas on hot days when it has sat in the sun all day."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Good, safe, easy driving car.

By on Sunday, August 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,400

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, very sturdy and safe"

Cons: "not great gas mileage, not roomy enough."

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

"This is a dependable vehicle that is sturdy, and safe for the family. Fun to drive. It is small on the inside, not much room for my 6'2'' hubby that wears a size 15 shoe."

I love my Subaru

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Wonderful car.."

Cons: "gas milage, comfort, gas tank small"

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

"I have driven a Subaru since 1995, gave my Legacy to my son in 2009 and bought a new Forester. I keep my cars in immaculate condition as far as engine, tires. The Legacy is still on the road with over 200,000 miles. I just wanted to brag about my Suby and not trading it."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Very Solid

By on Sunday, July 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

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
9/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

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

"I have mostly been very pleased with this car. It drives well and has not had any mechanical issues. I have only two complaints. First, the car has a lot of plastic pieces inside and out that tend to fall off pretty easily. They aren't pieces that matter, but the car doesn't look right after they fall off. Second, there is an annoying feature with the gas cap. If you don't but it on (or leave it a little lose) the check engine light, as well as a number of other lights go on and then for some reason, it takes weeks to months of the gas cap being on for the lights to go off. This is always seems to happen to me around when my car needs to be inspected and it can't pass inspection with the check engine light on. Also, the cruise control lights is one of the other lights that comes on - so for that period of time you can't use the cruise control. I don't know why they can't just had a gas cap light... But besides that, I have been very happy with the car. Handles well in the winter also."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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."

9 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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