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 Its outdated 4-speed automatic transmission doesn't provide the best fuel economy and the 5-speed manual isn't available on the sportier turbo models.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