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2013 and earlier-Subaru Forester Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,281
    Don't worry about it, Dalon! If you're happy with the car and the price, it was money well spent.

    The "mid-west" and east can be brutal on cars. I remember looking at several sales of late '90s Outback wagons a few years ago when I lost my '96 and was considering replacing it with a similar model/year. Every one of them had all sorts of surface rust in the engine bay (so what does that say about the rest of the car?)!

    These were cars with 100-120K miles. Mine had 220,000 at the time, and there wasn't a hint of rust anywhere on it.
  • "... the protection package... since I live in Illinois and we can have harsh winters, it was a necessary evil b/c I'm not going to keep up with spraying that rust stuff every year."

    The annual spraying of "rust proofing" is another service like the "protection package". Paraffin wax sprays and bituminous undercoatings served a purpose decades ago when car bodies were made of plain steel which was bare inside the door and body panels, and the undercarriage and wheel wells were only painted.

    However now bodies are made of galvanized steel dipped in primers, with electrostatic paint that reaches every side and crevice. Undercarriages and fender wells receive tough elastomeric coatings, and fender wells have plastic liners to protect against stones.

    Spraying of "rust proofing" on modern cars makes the owner feel good but does nothing for the car as there is no bare metal left for it to benefit.
  • "I have paid twice in last year for head gasket replacement. Then my engine became cracked. There is something wrong with these engines."

    The naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) engines up to 2011 were of an open cylinder deck design that stressed the head gaskets. The problem peaked in 2003, was band-aided with improved gaskets and the required addition of a sealant to fresh coolant every 30,000 miles. That almost ended the occurrence of head gasket leaks in recent years.

    After the warranty was up, Subaru often paid part of the cost of head gasket repairs, particularly for an original owner who had the car serviced and repaired at a dealer.

    Your second head gasket failure within a year was likely due to a poor repair of the first head gasket failure. It was probably not done by a dealer.

    The first time, the coolant could have gone low enough to cause overheating, which warped the heads. If the heads were not removed, checked and milled flat, the warpage would cause the new head gaskets to leak soon.

    Evidently enough coolant was lost the second time that severe overheating happened again and cracked a head.

    Forester owners must use the Subaru Conditioner (sealant), change coolant every 30K, and watch for signs of leaks such as low coolant, bubbles in the coolant, or moisture around the heads. Coolant must not be allowed to go low and cause destructive overheating.

    The design of the engine was completely changed in 2011 so that head gaskets are not stressed and leaks cannot occur for the same reason as before.
  • I bought Wednesday, 12/21. Seattle area. 2012 Forrester 2.5X Premium AT, PZEV, Ice Silver Metallic. All-Weather Package, Auto Dim Mirror/Compass W/Homelink, Cargo Tray, All Weather Floor Mats, and Luggage Compartment Cover.
    $24,796. Doc Fee $150. Wa State License fee $211.50. And the BIG ONE; Wa State Sales Tax = $2,430.01!!!
    I had a trade in, but I called a family member during the middle of the deal, and they really, really, wanted my '08 Civic LX. It had 93,000 miles already, but was in absolute tip-top condition. Super little car. Dealer was offering KBB. I sold to the family for less, on payments, with a handshake (phoneshake?), and ate the $600 sales tax savings the trade would have brought.
    So I certainly didn't steal it, and the State of Washington will still claim the end is near, but I sure as heck contributed my part.
    I got a couple books I read in the bathroom about day hiking around here. Now I can get off the pot and get to the trailhead. Wouldn't do that with the Civic, sprung too tight, didn't want to ruin it anyway. Maybe when I was younger. We used to take our full size domestics on logging roads all the time, way up into the hills, but that was 30-35 years ago!
  • Congrats bearcrkrd for the new car! I am in WA too. Did you buy from Mike Scraff? Good experience?
  • Yes I did. No hassle at all, just pick the color you want, and take a quick test drive. It's just a question of do you want to spend the money at this time or not. Very painless. If you go all out and solicit multiple dealers over a period of time, from multiple web sites, etc., you may be able to do better. I just thought there wasn't enough daylight to go for a scenic drive in the Civic on my day off, so stopped by Scarff. I should have purchased the 2011 year end close out. Would have save almost $3,000. I drove the same car I just ended up buying, but thought the seat comfort was terrible. It was fine two days ago. Must have exercised, ate right, and rested this time around. Live and learn. :)
  • hiker89hiker89 Posts: 3
    edited December 2011
    I don't know how you all get your below invoice prices quoted but I'm not able to. I'm shopping for 2012 Subaru Forester in Asheville,NC. I want a basic automatic 25X PZEV but with alloy wheels package and with a popular package (only because I need to have an auto dimming mirror). MSRP price came to 23,691. The best price I got is from a dealer about 60 miles away and it is $100 ABOVE the invoice price of $22,109. I don't have any trade-in. In your opinion, is it possible to negotiate? I would prefer to buy a car in Asheville but how do I negotiate? I don't mind paying a decent price but don't want to overpay
  • dalondalon Posts: 12
    Get car quotes from It will give you nice quotes below invoice that only certain dealerships will honor. Then, if those dealerships are far away, maybe call one closer to your hometown to see if they would match or come close to matching the farther dealership. That's what I did and I got mine about 700 below invoice. I could've probably gotten it to 900 but my salesguy was very nice and I wanted him to get some commission, although it probably wasn't much.

    That's the only thing you can use. No rebates, no manufacturer to dealer discount for Foresters, so you gotta get creative. The Foresters come standard with an option package that increases the price like $500 more than you see in the quotes. My salesperson gave me the flexibility of basically discounting the options that I didn't care for on my car, even though those options would still be on my car no matter what. Using that, I got it discounted another $275. Not sure if your salesperson will be willing to do that but give it a shot.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,281
    Also, if you really want to get the best price on your car, make sure you're willing to travel to get it, taking into consideration the cost of that travel. Otherwise, all you're really doing is bluffing on the price, and the local dealer(s) may just call your bluff. If that happens, you're left with either buying the car at a price higher than you'd prefer, or not buying the car at all.

    Depending on the market, the local dealer(s) might just tell you to take a hike, but that seems unlikely in an area like North Carolina where a myriad of dealerships are within a day's drive in (nearly) any direction.
  • Thank you both. I got three quotes from and they all are above the invoice price. Well, I guess I have to pay more than I would pay in other areas of the country. On the other hand a tax on cars in NC is 3%.
  • Purchase Date: 23/DEC/2011

    Car: 2012 Forester 2.5x Premium w/ AWP
    Color: Sage Green
    Options: All weather floor mats, Auto-dimming mirror w/ compass, trunk and side cargo nets, wheel locks, cargo tray, splash guards, and bumper cover.

    Dealer: Beechmont Subaru
    New Car Price: $23,500 (took Subaru's 36 month 0% loan)
    Trade-in: $1000
    Other: $150 Doc Fee + ~$60 Tags/Licensing + tax (6.5%)

    Highly recommend this dealer. We called and told them what we wanted to pay for the premium with AWP, but explained that we didn't want to pay for any of the dealer's extras. They agreed to our price and didn't charge us for any of the options. On top of that, they offered us $1000 for our old car. We went down that day and were in and out of the dealer in an hour.
  • tkay2tkay2 Posts: 32
    2012 Forester Limited w/nav options dimming mirror compass, Cargo net (wow) all weather floor mats (they are cool) luggage cover ( i thought they were standard) puddle lights, rear bumper cover, remote starter and rear camera...$ 29500 out the door..also negotiated 2 year 24000 free scheduled maintenance...
  • dfodfo Posts: 2
    edited December 2011
    We are being quoted $23,530 (not including $390 dealer handling fee and state taxes) for a 2012 Forester 2.5X Premium automatic with the following options:
    - All-Weather Package (Heated Front Seats, Windshield Wiper De-Icer, Heated Side Mirrors)
    - Aero Cross Bars
    - Rear Bumper Cover
    - Luggage Compartment Cover
    - Splash Guard Kit
    - Floor Mats, All Weather
    - Auto Dim Mirror/Compass w/Homelink

    Does that seem like a reasonable price? We don't need to get the best deal ever, but don't want to pay hundreds more than we should. The dealer seems unwilling to come down further. By way of comparison, says $23,069 is the best deal in our area for the Premium with all-weather package (that's the only one of these extras we're really interested in). The dealer says they could special-order one with only the all-weather package and match that price, but it could take 10+ weeks to deliver.
  • Just the premium with AWP, was 23300 by me so I took the deal at 23500 with all the extras. FYI-If you special order then you can't get their 0% or 1.9% financing.

    Just an update. Had the car for a few days now and love it. It has plenty of power, the audio is fine, and 4 gear auto is super smooth. I'm was also really surprise at how quite it is. A few issues though. For the extra money I would consider the limited for the radio alone. Audio is fine, but the display is the worst. The limited has extra functionality with bluetooth. Also, car has some sounds/rattles and doors sound light and hallow. Nothing that really bothers me though. Overall, love it.
  • ursusursus Posts: 48
    "FYI-If you special order then you can't get their 0% or 1.9% financing."

    That's not true. I just got my 2012 Forester X Touring at 1.9%/63 month. I ordered it at the end of November an picked it up on December 30.

    MSRP $29,481 (rear bumper cover, arch molding kit, mirror with home link & compass): paid $600 under invoice + got $890 over Chase's buyout price on my leased 2009 Forester X ("traded" to the dealer 1 month before lease end) + "Subaru Severe Weather Companion" kit.
  • Agreed. The sales guy last year (2010) told me no 1.9% for more than 2 years so I used

    When the manager went over everything he asked if I was offered the financing and said the sales guy was wrong that it could be up to 5 years

    I used anyway as good a rate if excellent credit
  • Any suggestion on how to sell 2012 Subaru Forester with under 1,000 miles? I'm not happy with it. I found a cargo space much smaller than what we had in our sedan and that's very important since we take many long trip and carry with us lots of stuff. I'm also puzzled with a placement of gas tank leveler on the floor and right next to my left foo. It came apart after my second hike and before I even open it for the first time to pump a gas. I also found that a gas mileage is surprising low. :cry:
  • dalondalon Posts: 12
    It's lower b/c you are probably in colder weather just like all of us.

    1. Newer cars get lower fuel mileage initially b/c the car has to be worn in a little for the optimal mileage to take place.

    2. Colder weather=worse fuel mileage

    I've been getting 19 mpg in the cold weather in the 2012 Forester. Also, I think it has a smaller fuel tank than the 16.9 gallons that the manual tells you, so you're not wasting as much gas, I paid around $44-$45 at 3.62 and my tank was over 3/4 empty.

    3. Yea, the placement of the gas tank opener is odd to me too but maybe you pulled it up a little too hard? Just a guess? But yea, that's not good. So, how are you opening the fuel tank now?

    Not everything is going to be perfect with the car unfortunately, and that goes for any car.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,281
    If you want to sell it, first make sure that any warranty issues are repaired, then, since you don't have any price guides at this point, look at the closest comparable 2011 on the guides and start your asking price at a little higher than that. My guess is that your top starting point will be 10% under the MSRP of the vehicle.

    You'll have to balance how much your willing to lose on the actual price of the sale with the added cost of keeping each month you do so. In other words, if you financed it and have full coverage insurance, how much are those costing you each month? If you ask $24,000 and somebody comes along and offers $23,800 (or even $23,500) after several weeks with no hits, how much is that extra few hundred worth to you versus the chance you won't get another hit for a month or two?

    That, and you know the first question all perspective buyers will ask is, "so, why are you selling it?" Keep it simple; coming out with "I don't like it" isn't going to put you into a good selling position!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited January 2012
    I'd keep it.

    You mileage will improve as it warms up, and then again as it breaks in. I just took a road trip to PA and recorded about 4mpg less than a similar trip in warm weather last year.

    Another thing - gas costs are a small % of overall ownership costs. The big one? Depreciation. And what holds its value well? The Forester.

    A Fusion Hybrid (I picked an efficient sedan) would save you roughly $900 per year, but you'll probably lose $2000 in trading in a brand new car, so that eats up 2 years' worth of gas savings.

    Just keep it, see if mpg improves. By a shelf'/organizer for the tall cargo area. Foresters really hold their value well, it wins all sorts of residual awards.

    Gas is cheap.

    Trading in a brand new car for another brand new car? Very expensive.
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