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2013 Subaru Forester

Overview
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2013 Subaru Forester Review

By

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 Its outdated 4-speed automatic transmission doesn't provide the best fuel economy and the 5-speed manual isn't available on the sportier turbo models.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 244 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

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."

3 people out of 3 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."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Essentially Perfect!

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "handling, ride, capacity, styling, reliability"

Cons: "no light in glove box"

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

"This car is so perfect it is almost boring. Seriously, this is a superb automobile. I've owned 20 cars in my lifetime and this is the best. The quality construction, the all wheel drive handling, the reliability, the value for the money,and the cargo capacity are superb. I really have to look for a flaw. Oh yeah, sometimes I hit my head on the sun visor if I leave it half way down. Actually my own fault. You could spend twice as much for a compact SUV and not do any better."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Drives and rides like a regular sedan. Very agile.

By on Thursday, March 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "One of the best, great price, My Forester is great"

Cons: "Got up to 29 mph on HW, but city < 18"

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

"I'm second owner and love my first Subaru. Got my first suggestion to try Subaru 20 years ago from my favorite cousin. Love the Crossover handling and smooth automatic pick up and go. Easy to care for, all I've done in years is to recently change over the entire suite of timing belt and water pump and pulleys. The AWD (my first experience) is an excellent addition to any vehicle. It very road hugging like my new MGB 36 years ago. Negatives, I wish it got better mileage in the city, and the engine heat indicator that turns off when the car is "ready to drive" takes a minute. I've always only waited maybe 15 to 30 sec's and take it easy for the first few miles."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

best vehicle ever!!!

By on Monday, March 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"This is my first Subaru but it will not be my last! I went 92k miles before any major repairs were needed, new brakes. At 95k new tires were added."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

A Great Automobile

By on Sunday, February 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,600

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "A great reliable car that is fun to drive ."

Cons: "Wish they had cup holders"

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

"I have 2011 Forester and will buy another. It handles like a sports car the engine is quick and responsive and the steering is quick and precise. In snow it goes as well as my 4x4 jeep My only complaint, I'm about 6'1" tall and the drivers seat doesn't go quite far enough back for my comfort on long drives. I just sat in a new 2015 Forester and I love what they did with it. Beefed up the body style made the interior roomier and the drivers seat goes back far enough someone 7' tall. The car is reliable and other than normal service have not had any service issues with the car"

11 people out of 15 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

Buying this car?