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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Interesting. Could it be that the newer tires have more rolling resistance? Or maybe Subaru is being more conservative?

  • satyajeetsatyajeet Posts: 1
    I had the "Check Engine" light come on in my 2001 Forester S yesterday. The dealer applied recall WWF89 to fix it... on the work order it says that the oxygen sensor in the catalytic converter was replaced and reprogrammed. In reponse to the message by erzhan, I have not noticed the clicking sound while shifting from 2nd to 3rd... but will look out for it. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how long this WWF89 recall has been active ?
  • FYI,

    Edmund's has some of the 2003 info available at last. Obviously no TMV pricing this early, but invoice prices are there and at quick glance appear the same as VanBortel's prices. So...who is going to be the first one to post a review of the '03?? My first Subie won't be long in coming now! Happy reading!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Guess it was the virtual donuts that got the update in gear, Scirocco22 :-)

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • eps105eps105 Posts: 216
    I am surprised that with the addition of the automatic climate control in the '03 XS, no one has discussed it yet. Being controlled by mechanical dials rather than setting a precise temperature, I get the impression it is not as sophisticated or accurate as other systems.

    To the new XS owners out there: How do you like the automatic climate control? Does it keep the temperature consistent even if you are driving in cloudy-to-sunny-to-cloudy conditions? Do you consider it "set and forget" to the point where you turn the car on and drive and never have to tinker with the temperature?

    I am still considering trading up my '99 Forester L for an XS Premium, but I'm still on the fence if I will see a significant enough difference to justify the cost of upgrading.

  • casecom2casecom2 Posts: 72
    Steve: Thanks for the tip. Here on the western fringes of St. Paul, all those suburban auto-dealer clusters are pretty much equidistant (emphasis on the "distant") from me. So Vadnais Heights here I come!

    -- Casey
  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I spent some time playing with several '03 Foresters today. I did not drive one because there was only one manual model on the lot and it was awaiting delivery. I won;t buy an auto, so I am holding out to drive a manual.

    The interior has definitely gone upscale. Seats are much more comfortable (at least for the short time I sat in them) than the old ones. The fabrics in both models are much nicer and the dimpled vinyl on the dash and side panels looks very good. The leather steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle in the XS are also nice.

    The tilt wheel adjustment finally has a spring so it does not fall into your lap when you release the lever. The paint colors are really spectacular, but they are offered in fewer combinations than before (for example, the XS is not available in white except in the monotone that is part of the sunroof package).
    The driver seat has only a single height adjustment, so you cannot adjust the tilt of the seat bottom independently. The door pockets are now mesh, so that you can see everything in them and the small storage compartments in the armrests no longer have covers, so everything there is visible too. This may be convenient in some respects but can also look cluttered and invite theft.

    The top of dash compartment is larger than before and you already know about the TWO sunglasses compartments overhead. The glovebox also appears to be slightly larger. The front cupholders have been moved to the console which now has a 12 volt outlet in the storage compatment to charge a phone without the cord hanging over the shifter. The clock is moved to the top of the dash, just below the storage compartment. Unlike in the WRX, it stays if the optional auxillary instruments are mounted. The regular instruments have changed greatly. More on that below.

    There is marginally more leg room in the back seat than before. Sitting in the back seat, you have a very enclosed feeling. The glass starts higher than before and is thus not as open.
    The X has three rotary knobs for HVAC controls, much better than the fan slider of before. The XS has automatic climate control with very simple rotary driver controls. One knob sets temperature, one manually overrides fan speed, one sets air distribution, just like in a manual system, and you can select either automatic or manual modes.
    The 16" steel wheels on the X are reasonably nice looking and from a distance might be mistaken for alloys. The alloys on the XS are OK, but IMHO not as nice as earlier ones. They expose almost the entire brake caliper assembly which is ugly.

    Some bad points:

    Price remains almost the same, in spite of some added features and upgrades, including side airbags now standard. However, some items have been deleted: Mud flaps (now optional for $150), the cargo compartment tray, the rear bumper protector. There are some new options such as a complete set of cargo nets. The deluxe package that previously also gave you upscale wheels and side airbags, now is only the sunroof and monotone paint, at the same price as before, thus, not as good a value.

    The instruments are rotten. I think Subaru knows this because in the brochure there is not one interior shot that shows them. The tach is de-emphasized and placed on the right, the temp and fuel gauges on the left. The combined odometer readout is below the speedo, along with the outside temp gauge. The pointers are red and they are mounted in a shrouded cluster. I was hoping for the nice gauges with orange pointers as used on the WRX. The optional auxillary gauges are the same as before.

    The seat fabric in the XS, while very attractive, has an embossed pattern that is a guaranteed crumb and dirt catcher. Likewise the deep tuck in the seat bottom in both models.

    I was hoping for more power, but perhaps if rumors come true, it will happen next year.

    I was not able to get information on gearing, but perhaps the poorer EPA mileage is a result of gearing changes.

    Anyway, they are on the lots and the brochures are in.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What happens is

    3->4 without lockup TC
    4->4 with locked TC

    Basically the way an AT works is that you have the outputshaft from the engine that is providing power connected to a turbine/fan-blade type disc that is inside your torque converter filled with ATF. Inside this torque converter the spinning blades on the engine side spin the ATF that in turn spins the blades on the transmission side. Thus, this fluid can allow for slippage between the engine and the transmission, which is why you don't need to put it in neutral when your car is at a traffic light etc.

    On a lot of new vehicles in 4th gear they can electronically "lockup" the torque converter which basically puts the 2 sides of the torque converter (engine and transmission sides) spinning at the same rate. On my Trooper for example both 3rd and 4th gear get locked up via electromagnetically controlled means connecting the tranny to the outputshaft.

    Hope this helps.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I also got to look at and sit in new Foresters yesterday. I agree with most of your points and to repeat them would be redundant on my part.

    I am glad that the tops of the door panels aren't covered in cloth anymore. I wore the driver's side one down a little going through toll booths until I got an EZPass. The dimpled vinyl, which reminds me a bit of something you'd see in a VW, looks like it will be tough to keep clean. I can picture little pools of Vinylex, sweat, and gunk collecting in those dimples.

    I do like the revised console and the additional 12V outlet for us "business travelers." I also like the HVAC controls but not sure about the gauge cluster. I'd never go for the optional gauge pack since I've come to really like the center storage bin on the dash top.

    I don't care for the mesh door and console pockets, but I will say that I probably wouldn't scrape them the way I do the hard plastic door pockets when I reach down to adjust the seat with the door closed. I have mesh pockets on the back of the front seats already and like them.

    Here's something I don't understand: why are the (extra-cost) mud flaps painted? Aren't they going to get chipped by flying gravel anyway? Please forgive my language but that seems asinine.

    I'm trying harder but while the new car looks better in person than in photos, I still think the '98-'02 looks better. The side sculpting on the '03 is too busy, and the nice subtle fender bulges of the previous model are gone. (Note: I'm one of those who wishes the WRX wagon had fender buldges, too.) Rochcom - I did notice that the greenhouse glass starts higher; this makes the greenhouse look more integrated than in the '98-02, which I must admit looks a little like it was stretched vertically like a Silly Putty picture or Toyota Echo. While I haven't warmed up to the rear styling, the new rear glass does allow for more visibility than the old.

    The XS Premium I sat in was red and had - gasp! - dealer-installed gold-plated chrome trim. I have never seen this on a Subaru and must say it is unbelievably tacky and jarring, especially with the new smoky blue background on the corporate logo. Of the new colors, I liked the black best (then again, I would) followed by the blue and green.

    So this jury's still out. I'll have to drive one, now and hopefully when it receives more power.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I know most people here think that the '04 Forester turbo will be a "federalized" version of the current Japanese-spec 2.0L XT, yet rumors of a 2.5L version persist...

    If they do offer a 2.5L, I hope that it's not just going to be a "WRXed Forester;" by that I mean just a high-performance version of the existing Forester. I certainly want high performance, don't get me wrong; but I would hope the added displacement would be put to use by making the Forester more functional, in the *utility* sense. Yes, I mean increased towing , better off-road capability, etc.

    If they just make it another speed demon, without addressing those other issues, I think a great opportunity will have been lost.

  • burnsmr4burnsmr4 Posts: 318

    OK, fellas/ladies. I got a few things to ask/talk about here.
    1. Gas mileage: I just did some calculations of my gas mileage over the Memorial Day weekend on my 2002 Subaru Forester S (now with 6500 miles on the odometer). Y'all tell me if these numbers sound normal for the vehicle, considering I had a fuel system issue that put it in the shop 9 days after I bought it. It has an automatic transmission, by the way. The mileage is in chronological order from oldest to most recent:
      • 85% city/15% highway: 290.9 miles / 14.940 gallons / 19.47mpg

        Ran the A/C about half the time here, since the week before Memorial Day was nice in Atlanta.
      • 95% highway/5% city: 372.4 miles / 14.071 gallons / 26.47mpg

        Ran the A/C most of the drive during this stretch.
      • 95% highway/5% city: 377.0 miles / 15.008 gallons / 25.12mpg

        During this stretch, I sat in stalled traffic for nearly an hour on the insterstate with the A/C on and off as needed.
    2. Disconnecting the battery: I volunteered to try resetting the ECU in my vehicle to see if that solved some of the startup hesitation mentioned earlier. I was told that the radio presets would have to be reprogrammed. Is that all? What about the remote keyless entry (no security system). If I don't have to reprogam that, I'd like to know. I read the instructions on how to do it and didn't find the procedure to be the easiest in the world. Let me know, and I'll try the ECU reset this weekend.
  • dcabdcab Posts: 101
    I test drove a 2003 yesterday. I had never driven an automatic Forester before and was surprised by the relatively high RPM's when accelerating. The tachometer reached 4000-4500 several times when accelating to highway speed. Is the Forester geared differently than the Outback? The Outback weighs several hundred pounds more than the Forester and yet the mileage is the same.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    burnsmr4 -- IMO, your city milage looks a little on the low side, but nothing to be alarmed about, and your highway milage looks fine. What speed were you averaging on the highway. I've found that going over the 80mph barrier greatly reduces milage.

    dcab -- Gearing might be different between the two models, but what I think you might be seeing is a relatively new TCU. You'll find that two vehicles with the same specs, one driven differently compared to the other will exhibit different shift points due to what the TCU has "learned".

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I wish Edmund's would get around to incorporating a search function here - it's been all talk here - maybe you can use your newfound influence to get it done! ;-) Anyway my point is that I proposed the "tarmac package" and "gravel package" for the Forester some time ago, and I think it'd be appropriate again. There's a place in the stable for a high-performace, sleeper, Audi-killer Forester as well as a dual-range, rockhopping, towing Forester.

  • hypovhypov Posts: 3,068
    burnsmr4 May 31, 2002 7:49am

    Here's MRT's version:

    You got to scroll down to "How to reset your ECU (without disconnecting your car battery!)"


  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    but I think you've greatly over-estimated my new-found power. ;)

    I just think a 2.5L (vs. a 2.0L) engine, could open the doors to a potentially (much) larger market for the Forester. Not only will it attract speed freaks (like most of us), but also (more) utility freaks too.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Isn't the mileage the same? I think you are comparing a 5 speed with an automatic.

    I won't miss the upscale wheels on the old Premium package, didn't they have the gold highlights? I prefer the ones without the gold.

    Also, side air bags are standard, so it's not like the Premium loses anything. Yes, the package still costs the same, but IMO it's still a bargain. For the cost of a tiny aftermarket moonroof you get a huge one.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd prefer a 2.5l light-pressure turbo for the low-end torque, the off-boost throttle reponse basically.

    Look at how easy to tune the 1.8T VW engine is. A $360 chip would take a 150hp engine close to 200hp. So I hope Subaru comes out with a 200hp LPT, good for towing and off road.

    The speed freaks (like me) can just chip it to produce maybe 240hp or so. Droooool!

  • goldencouple1goldencouple1 Posts: 209
    I'd say your MPG are "ballpark". Especially the highway oriented driving. I'm curious about your usual highway speed. I recently did a trip to the Black Range here in NM (200 miles round trip). Essentially the same trip I had done about a month ago. A monthy ago I averaged about 27 MPG w/ cruise set at 65 MPH. Same trip this time, cruise set on 75 MPH, and the MPG was 25+. My city driving MPG has been as low as 19+ and as high as 24+. I have a manual.
  • kajkokajko Posts: 70
    I second Bob's and Ed's opinions. Subaru is carving out a nice niche in the market, but in North America they keep thinking performance instead of utility. It would be great to see a bit more rugged version of the Forester... I am sure more people driving Foresters now would appreciate that more than lower CoG.

    In general, I am rather frustrated with the "short end of the stick" that we get in the USA. Look for example at Nissan X-Trail. What an awesome SUV!! Yet if you want one, you have to go to Mexico... And for the Forester that i want with dual-range, i have to take a trip to Australia or Europe...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah but they don't get the 2.5l engine. And the 2.0l makes much less power.

    Still, the top models are not offered here.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    by offering a LPT 2.5L in the Forester, it won't compete so much with the WRX. Both will have their own distinct audiences.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Bob, I'd rather see the Forester compete with the WRX than the OBS. There was less overlap with the latter when it had the 137/142hp (which? Dennis will correct me) 2.2L engine. Now that it also has the 165hp 2.5L engine, what's the difference except in appearance, upholstery and a bunch of cubbyholes?

    Ed (pardon the sarcasm)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I think that will also happen if there is a LPT 2.5L, at least as far as the top-of-the-line models are concerned.

    Actually, what I'd really like to see, would be a LPT 2.5L engine offered as a stand-alone option package for BOTH the X and XS models. That way you would get excellent power, without all the bells and whistles, if that's what you want.

  • rochcomrochcom Posts: 247
    I forgot to mention that the 2003 brochure says that the Manual Trans model can now tow 2400 pounds, if properly equipped (not clear what they mean). The auto is still limited to 2000.

    The EPA rating is the same for the MT 2003 as for my '98.

    The rear seat room is specified as only .3 inches more, BUT the front is spec'd at .6 more, so if the front seat is pushed back only as before and not all of the way, you can have an extra .9 inches of legroom in back. It seems like a bit more though because of either the angle or height of the rear seat, at least to me.

    The new model has more overall height and a wider track, but slighly less overall width. Interior dimensions are nearly the same, but slightly less headroom, suggesting seats may be higher. Turning radius is reduced by about 3 feet.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    I don't know if this is typical or not (maybe I've got something aftermarket in our Forester I don't know about), but anytime I've disconnected the battery, upon reconnection, the interior lights continue to flash on and off. Obviously, this is some security thing. There is a small button at the bottom side of the dash under the steering column that I push to make the flashing stop. Seems strange to me, but its true.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • p0926p0926 Posts: 4,423
    Ed & Bob- I agree that it would be nice to have both a speed and utility version of the Forester. However, I suspect that SOA's thinking is that by adding a turbo option to the Forester they will have essentially accomplished that goal. That's becuase the current Forester offers enough utility to satisfy the needs of 90% of the potential audience and a turbo option would offer enough speed to make it easily the fastest & sportiest mini-SUV in its class.

    I just don't see the Forester gaining much in the way of towing capacity (especially if it gets a turbo vs. the H-6) or off-road ability. This is because both these areas are relatively small niche markets and there's not enough return on the dollar to develop/offer those capabilities here in the States. It's just my opnion but I don't think that SOA's target market contains that many boat owners or Rubicon trail aficionados. Besides, were I serious about either or both of those pursuits, I'd just get a Jeep Liberty and be set.

    Just my two cents.

    -Frank P.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ed: the Forester still has a lot more cargo room, plus extra ground clearance. People cross-shop Foresters with CR-Vs and RAV4s, so the market positioning doesn't seem to be a problem. Combined sales were up yet again last year, even with the new OBS.

    Still, I'd like to see it be a leader in this class, and 200hp is common now (XTerra, Escape, Liberty, Tribute).

    Glad to see a better turning radius, it seemed big for such a short wheelbase.

    As to Bob's request, I see two distinct directions for the Forester. The turbo would satisfy me, Ken, Frank, and Ed. We want a sporty yet practical Sport Ute, emphasis on Sport.

    But how about a "Utility Package", added to a base model? Give it the H6, the tow package standard including the hitch, with an engine and tranny cooler and only the rear disc brakes from the high-end models. Keep the steel wheels, even, maybe with a slightly raised suspension. Class II towing, and throw in a low range while you're at it.

    I imagine it could sell for the same price as the XS model, only it would offer the rough-and-tumble types an alternative that doesn't exist now.

  • burnsmr4burnsmr4 Posts: 318
    Several folks asked about the city gas mileage and my speeds around town. I live in Atlanta -- maybe that helps. We have some of the worst traffic in the country, hence, perhaps, the crappy city mileage. I have sometimes gotten above 300 miles per tank in the city, but not often.

    As for highway speeds -- usually 5mph above the speed limit. No more than that unless I'm passing an old f*rt or something.

    Could the A/C being on influence the gas mileage all that much?


    P.S. - No way in hell I'm resetting my ECU the way that Australian website mentioned. Yikes! I thought I could just disconnect the battery for 30 minutes. Jeepers, I'm confused. :-\
This discussion has been closed.