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25000 Mile Report
Reliability: Perfect, no problems (1 recall, reprogram computer)
Gas Mileage: Avg 24 mpg mixed/26 hwy
Other Issues: Had rattles in both driver & passenger doors (common problem apparently), dealer fixed, loose baffles. Had driver seat cushion fabric replaced, fraying/pilling, defect in material. Both done under warranty with no argument from dealer.
Performance: Excellent overall, superb in snow and very good on sand. Handling is competent but not sporty, transmission is good but could shift smoother. Could use a 5 speed rather than the 4 speed.
Tires/Brakes: Both showing minimal wear (I rotate & check pressure religiously), and I tow a boat and popup camper.
Overall: This is my first Subaru; I drove all the competition and although some were a bit slicker in terms of fit & finish (I have owned 3 Hondas, 2 Mazda's, and 1 VW plus many American vehicles) the Forester was the overall winner in terms of utility.
Pros: Sturdy construction if you use your vehicle as a sport ute. I tow a boat (aluminum fishing), pop-up camper(approx. 1400 lbs), and use the roof racks (along with Thule aftermarket) to haul 2 kayaks. I have had the camper, kayaks, 2 mountain bikes and gear inside the vehicle all at once and the Forester handled it all exceptionally well. The roof rails are very sturdy, better than all the competition. Pulling my boat up a slippery boat ramp is a breeze, never any drama. I like the fact that you can lower the rear seatbacks without removing headrests/etc. and have a nearly flat floor. The rubber cargo mat is a useful option. The panoramic sunroof is absolutely awesome, close as you can get to a ragtop.
Cons: The interior materials are a little cheap; the boxer engine has a peculiar trait- it has a constant clicking sound at idle that sounds like a penny in a clothes dryer, my girlfriend also has a '10 Forester and it is the same, the dealer claims it is the fuel injectors clicking. A minor annoyance but an annoyance none the less, especially if you have owned Hondas with their silky/quiet motors. The gas mileage could be a bit better, and I drive the vehicle easy.
Overall: I feel the few flaws (no car being perfect) do not impact the ownership enjoyment of the vehicle- it does all the things it is designed to do extremely well. Would I buy the Forester if I had it to do over again? Definitely, I think it is a solid product at a fair price
Please feel free to chime in with any additional info that may help others in the shopping/evaluating process.