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Subaru Forester (up to 2005)



  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    Short trips to work, 100-mile weekend round trippers (= "mixed"): 24+ mpg. A bit lower in winter.
    Cross state over hilly Pa turnpike: 27 mpg.
    Up and down the flat South Jersey parkway during the summer: about 30 mpg.
    I just passed 15K miles in my 2001 Forester S.
    The purely subjective impression is that the vehicle is just now breaking in and any further coddling in driving style is absolutely unnecessary. Time to have some fun!
  • hayduke01hayduke01 Posts: 128
    I have slightly over 1400 miles on my '02 S. Cumulative MPG is 24.33. Worst was the first tank, 21.37; best was 27.88. That was all mixed highway and city driving, probably less than half highway. Current tank will be more than half highway, so hoping for 27 or better again.

    Most of my vehicles I get less than the EPA numbers, so I'm pleased with the results so far.
  • harperb1harperb1 Posts: 1
    Thanks for all the info you
    guys have on this site.
    I am fixing to buy a ,03 Forrester.
    Having always had jeeps, the ground
    clearence is concerning me.
    On my jeep Cherokee I had 215
    size tires. When I changed to 235
    tires I gained maybe an 1" more clearence.
    I do plan to take this Forrester to the limit
    out west !
    Thanks, old jeeper..
  • kohallkohall Posts: 12
    Just back from the first roadtrip for my new 2003 Forester XS Premium. Here are the raw stats:

    23.7 mpg - 1st tank of gas, driving around town.
    25.6 mpg - mostly highway, but 35 mph winds.
    24.7 mpg - around town, hilly area (State College, PA).
    30.8 mpg - mostly highway, although through a steady driving rain (I suspect this is not the most ideal driving condition).

    SO I am very happy with the mileage, and like others, it seems that is keeps getting better as the engine gets more miles (I am up to 903 now).

    My theory with options is to pay a little bit more (maybe) from the dealer, then have only one place to go when/if they break. I am a busy person and do not relish hopping from auto shop to auto shop. In fact, I even buy tires from the dealer so that the rotation can be done while in for every other oil change. The good thing for me is that I can pick up a loaner car (Subie) while in the shop. So I can look forward to a different Subaru experience every once in a while. I think the bottom line is that the person/company who has the most to gain by pleasing the customer is the one who will benefit from a future repeat sale, thus, I feel that you have the most leverage with the Subie dealer. Also, if you are under warranty, you will most likely go regularly to the dealer so the "covered" items can be fixed for no charge.

    I did not get the chromatic mirror/compass on my 2003. What do the users of these suggest? I test drove an 2002 with this and my first impression was that it blocked too much of the view. But maybe that was also due to the '03 having more visibility than the '02 (at least that is what I understand from some measure of this stat). The compass would have come in handy wizzing around the mountains in PA.
  • storytellerstoryteller Posts: 476
    Ken: That's great mileage, considerably better than the averages usually posted here. Could the '03 be a gas sipper? More likely you have a soft foot as you break in the new vehicle. But you can feel good about those results.

  • gened1gened1 Posts: 256
    I have a electronic chromatic mirror in my Pontiac GTP and it reduces any glare from someone behind me to a point where I don't even notice bright lights or low beams with fog lights.
    In my wife's Honda accord it is a constant fight to move my head around or change the switch on the mirror to remove the glare. I also have this feature on my Forester. In my opinion if I didn't have it on the car I would surely put one on aftermarket.
  • We have it on our 2003 Forester. Both the mirror and the compass are working great. I don't feel their blocking my view at all. BTW, though the compass is pretty small, it's easy to read.

    I'm a first time poster here. Hi to all of bear's friends here. It's a very nice group and all of you are great people.

    -cat (wife of bear)
  • rpbirchrpbirch Posts: 2

    I want to thank all of those who answered my questions about hauling heavy loads & the moonroof etc.

    We're definitely getting a forester s model (Mom still doesn't want moonroof but I won on the heated seats). I was amazed to learn that it has the same horsepower as my v6 3.3L caravan engine so am no longer worried about the power issue.

    The 2003 model is out for us for the same reason we didn't get the outback...that weird gear configuration...I know it's a safety feature but neither one of us like it.

    We were quoted a price for (cash purchase with no trade in) forester L 0f $22,173 (that includes sales tax/destination etc) and $2,200 more for a forester does this sound to you out there?

    I'm really not a "negotiator" at heart...should I try and get him down more on the s model bringing up their new influx of 2003 models & holdback?

    Again I appreciate any help...
  • joseph50joseph50 Posts: 235
    The chromatic mirror is fine, but the compass is super for the "geographically dyslexic" such as myself. When I know my desination is north of my departure point, and the compass is showing "S" after a right turn, I know I should have turned left. I am often saved a lot of time and gas and frustration.
  • mikeh19mikeh19 Posts: 18
    Has anyone gotten their windows tinted? I've read on the Window Tinting board that you can experience a drop in AM radio performance when a glass-integrated antenna is tinted with metallic tints. I've read the metallic tints last longer and don't fade compared to the dyed tints and are more expensive.
    Has this happened to anyone?
    How much are people paying? Is tinting on average more expensive on the Forester because of the size of the windows?Thanks.
  • mikeh19mikeh19 Posts: 18
    Living in one of the northern cites that sand and salt their roads in the winter is it worth paying to get the underbody washed? Someone with a jeep told me since the clearance on his Jeep is so high he doesn't get it done and since there's quite a bit of clearance on the Forester we don't need it either.
    Is this part of anyone's regular 'spring cleaning' routine? What are some of people's routines besides the obvious changing of tires?
    I'm curious to hear reponses from Vermont owners as they are just south of us and share the same winters, although I am not sure if they salt the roads with as much abandon as Montreal city workers.
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    thanks for the info! If memory serves me well, I believe stars used to be connected on Subaru logos back in 80s, weren't they?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I'm not sure.

    It's funny, when I was looking at the new '03 oval logo, next to the one used on the '02 Forester, I also compared the Forester '02 version with one on a '02 Legacy, and the '02 Forester's is different from that one too! It's more compressed on the horizontal plane. It looks less oval, and more round.

    Nothing like marketing consistency...

  • peterson10peterson10 Posts: 116
    I just had an oil change in my 2002 Forester and was told by the tech (dealer) that there was a recall for my car: "ECU needed to be reprogrammed". That's the first I've heard of it. They did it then and there, so it was no hassle, but I'm curious as to why I haven't heard anything about it on this board...or from SOA. Have I been in a coma?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I checked with my local regions NNJ and Philly, both said a forester would be allowed to run in their auto-xes, so get out there and let's see what the forester can do! :)

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup yup. I finally remembered to ask for you.

  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    I would've been @ Boeing yesterday but slept in late as I threw a birthday party for my wife Saturday night. I am planning to try to mount the 17" wheels/tires this coming Saturday as I finally have a set of wheels with the proper offset.

    I want to practice a little before I actually try a competition - missed that school in suburban Philly. I guess I'd better carry the balding OEM Yokos and 16" alloys to any auto-x or else I'll be in way over my head.

    Still it might be an opportunity to show people that the Forester is underrated as a road car and defies conventional categorization.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well I would definitely not use your regular tires for auto-x, you are gonna burn em up even the best of tires.

    Also anytime you come to an auto-x I'll make sure you get a good instructor. I'd just jump in, worst case you spin the car :)

  • goldencouple1goldencouple1 Posts: 209
    There is no Recall or TSB for 2002 Forester listed at NHTSA.
  • lark6lark6 Posts: 2,565
    Geolandars with 39K+ are not long for this world to begin with. Dedicated cheapies?

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What I would do if I were auto-xing your car is for the first season use the geolanders til they are shot. Thos are on stock size rims right? Then once they are shot, I'd get a set of Faulken Azenis or Khumho V700 R-compounds. Also you could then use the rims for winter tires if you so-chose to do so in the winter. But you don't really have to worry about tire choices til your 2nd season.

  • erictooleyerictooley Posts: 13
    I tested an 03 XS 5-speed a few days ago, and was surprised at the effort required by the clutch. Perhaps a side effect of the Hill Holder system?And maybe the reason Subaru had dropped Hill Holder years ago? A good workout for the quads, perhaps but not much fun to shift. Any other feedback on the 03 stick?
  • silfacesilface Posts: 14
    Hi again! I recently purchased a 2000 Subaru Forester Limited in exchange of my Honda Civic! After taking a short trip this weekend, I noticed there was 'Big difference' between my Forester & the Civic! My forester just drove smoothly & there was no hesitation when pushed farther.
    My question is when does one change the spark plugs for a Forester? The owner's manual indicates at 48 000 km. But when my father purchased his Subaru, he was told that there was platinum tipped spark plugs installed which would have a 100 000 km maintenance interval...(This is also written in the Subaru Impreza 1999 brochure) Although, during our recent service inspection, there was regular Champion plugs installed. What gives with this false advertising Subaru of Canada?
    Is it worse the extra $ for platinum tipped spark plugs? Are they more prone to be seized in the motor making them harder & costly to remove..

    Thanks in advance for your responses,

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    For my 1998 the interval is 60k miles. I'm still on my original plugs at 46k miles, and FWIW I'm getting 25mpg as smoothly as ever, so they can't be fouled.

    Jeff: 2 green Foresters? You're my hero! ;-) What about tinting the windows on one of them? I paid $170 to have 7 windows tinted with SolarGard 35% dyed film.

    Congrats to the new owners, Carlton, Jeff. Good luck shopping Rose. Try a no-haggle dealer if you don't feel comfortable negotiating.

    Renato: what's wrong with a pop-up moonroof? ;-)

    I just got quotes for a power moonroof for our new Legacy, $895 installed with a lifetime warranty. They put the biggest size that fits, or in the case of the Legacy a 17"x30" ASC model.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Anyone who leaves the originals in for 100K is asking for trouble. They'll likely be stuck in there and very hard to remove. I suggest ever 50K miles even on 100K plugs.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Harper: a Jeep convert? OK, you'll want to know about the 2" taller springs from iSR and Lovell, then, each about $400 delivered. That would allow for bigger tires.

    With the stock suspension, you can go 225/60R16 on an S, 205/75R15 or 215/70R15 on an L. Not much extra clearance from tires alone. I have 225/60R16s on aftermarket rims. My offset puts the tires farther out so nothing ever rubs. Springs are still stock, though I've always thought about the iSR ones.

    Welcome cat. Feel free to drop in any time, we don't bite! Promise!

    22k for a 2002 L model seems steep. I see them for around $19k at In fact I think that's high even for an MSRP, unless that's Canadian dollars.

    I wash my undercarriage with my pressure washer. I use it to wash the car, so while I'm at it I spray the bottom side. Once, after going on the beach, I removed piles of sand, so if you drive off road at all definitely pay extra to have it done.

    ECU re-programs are not rare, but uncommon. I've heard of one or two.

  • Meow~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm actually a dog person, but people here swear Hadji is feline! He barks, I swear it! ;-)

  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    It might have something to do with the AT lag... My 2000 Nissan Maxima (5 sp.) had a somewhat similar behavior, due to emission systems programming. After ECU was reprogrammed, the car became much smoother.
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