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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 Its outdated 4-speed automatic transmission doesn't provide the best fuel economy and the 5-speed manual isn't available on the sportier turbo models.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
8.0
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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