Used 2007 Subaru Forester SUV Used 2007
Subaru Forester SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

When the SUV craze took off in the mid nineties, the company which built its reputation on the all-wheel-drive category found itself without an entry. Subaru didn't take long to remedy this problem, giving birth to its first SUV: The Forester. Based on the Impreza platform, the Forester is basically a very tall wagon with some added ground clearance. As such, it retains all of the safety and stability features found in Subaru cars, but offers headroom and cargo space exceeding the popular Legacy and Outback wagons. Chock-full of options and with a choice of a normally-aspirated or turbocharged engine, the Forester serves up a bit more spice than either the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and for not much more cash.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

If performance is a prime selling point, Subaru claims that a manual-shift 2.5 XT Limited can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, which is rather swift for a compact SUV.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

Because the Forester delivers a choppier ride than some rivals, it might not appeal to those who favor an always-gentle road experience. Refinement is roughly on par with the competitive Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, but it falls short of Honda's CR-V.

What's New for 2007

No major changes for 2007.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Especially with the newly-tweaked turbocharged engine, Foresters are eager and frisky performers with just a touch of satisfying crudeness. Acceleration is especially snappy with the manual gearbox, which instills a more youthful nature. Considerably snugger inside than Subaru's new B9 Tribeca, the Forester yields ample headroom in both front and rear.

Rear-seat legroom is fair, and toe space is excellent. On smooth surfaces at least, the ride isn't bad, though choppiness is evident. The turbo engine is a little buzzy, but not oppressively so, though road vibration is noticeable. Gauges and controls are ordinary but sensibly arranged.

Favorite Features

Hill Holder
Manual-shift models are equipped with a Hill Hold feature that helps keep the Forester from rolling backward when starting on an upgrade.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
That's what Subaru calls it but, in fact, two distinct systems are offered. Manual-shift Foresters get Continuous All-Wheel Drive with a 50/50 front/rear torque split, while those with an automatic transmission are equipped with Active All-Wheel Drive, which incorporates a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch and direct power to the wheels that need traction most, in response to changing conditions.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Stepping inside, which is easy to do, the Forester's interior appearance is familiar, but modifications have increased its utility and comfort. A multi-functional center console features a sliding armrest, while, in the cargo area, floor bars are accompanied by four utility hooks. A passenger seatback net storage pocket has been installed in the 2.5 X, which also offers front and rear cup holders and a rear-seat folding armrest. Nearly two inches of thigh support have been added to the rear-seat cushion and the standard retractable cargo cover is high enough to accommodate tall items.

Exterior

Fresh from a makeover in 2006, the Forester's appearance has changed a bit to bring it a "more unified, sophisticated, and more modern form," according to Subaru. Smooth side cladding and more curvaceous rear glass produce a clean look. Last year's makeover included increasing the ground clearance to eight inches. The Forester sports a familiar front fascia, grille, four-lamp headlight cluster, bumper and fenders, and outside mirrors are bigger with integrated turn signals available. The heavy-duty four-wheel independent suspension has been retuned for enhanced performance.

Notable Standard Equipment

All Foresters with the naturally-aspirated engine are called 2.5 X, and include head/chest side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), 16-inch wheels, air conditioning, an AM/FM/Weather-band stereo with CD player and remote keyless entry. In the 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition the durable finish on the floor and seatback is extended to the cargo area side walls, and also included are desert beige leather-trimmed upholstery with perforated Alcantara bolsters, a security system with shock sensor and a Momo wood/leather steering wheel. The 2.5 XT Limited, the sole turbocharged model, includes a premium package with leather-trimmed upholstery and sporty electroluminescent gauge pointers.

Notable Optional Equipment

Subaru's premium package, available on the 2.5 X only, adds rear disc brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, eight-spoke alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, panoramic glass moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control and a six-CD changer.

Under the Hood

Subaru's 2.5-liter, horizontally-opposed (boxer configuration) four-cylinder engine is in naturally-aspirated form for 2.5 X models and turbocharged for the 2.5 XT Limited. Manual-transmission models have Continuous All-Wheel Drive, while those with a four-speed automatic transmission have Active All-Wheel Drive, which includes a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch.

2.5-liter Boxer-4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 23/28 (automatic)

2.5-liter Boxer-4 Turbocharged
224 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 (manual), 21/26 (automatic)

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Pricing Notes

With a manual transmission, the 2.5 X has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,820, while the automatic-transmission adds another $800 to the bottom line. Offered only with an automatic transmission, the 2.5 X L.L. Bean Edition is $27,320, while the turbocharged XT Limited starts at $28,520. A look a the Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price paid for the Forester in your area, so be sure to check it out before you begin negotiating. Resale and residual values for the Forester tend to be slightly better than for a Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute, but Honda's CR-V leads in value as a pre-owned vehicle.

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