The Best Years For Subaru Forester


If you are considering purchasing a Subaru Forester, it is crucial that you research which years are the most desirable. You want to ensure you buy a car that won’t present with significant issues or rust concerns.

These model years boast high owner satisfaction ratings, low reported problem rates, and impressive crash-test results and come equipped with Subaru EyeSight safety features.

2000 – 2002

Subaru Forester models in this generation saw an overall steady increase in customer satisfaction and fuel economy and received high marks for seat comfort and entertainment system ratings, as well as adequate storage space. A high percentage of owners also rated it easy to drive. Unfortunately, however, many suffered from various reliability issues, including head gasket failures, transmission hitches, suspension problems, and head gasket leakage, being prevalent grievances among owners; furthermore, there was a 50% likelihood that expensive engine-related repairs needed replacing, which was 10x higher than average across all model years!

Understandably, the new Forester generation experienced initial teething troubles; thankfully, these issues proved short-lived; both its FIXD reliability score and owner-reported reliability improved throughout its three-year lifespan. Furthermore, more robust chassis structures and enhanced brake systems helped enhance drivability, as did an upgrade in the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system; fuel economy figures were respectable, with Consumer Reports rating its city mileage at 15 mpg and 28 mpg, respectively.

2003 – 2005

Subaru Forester models from 2003 to 2005 combined the practicality and sportiness of SUVs with sporty handling and on-road performance of cars, creating an optimal combination. This generation offered comfortable rides, solid acceleration, and fuel economy up to 28 mpg on highway drives; owner satisfaction scores also proved above average – all characteristics that make the third-generation Forester an attractive pick.

The Forester featured a 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 170 horsepower or an enhanced 2.0L turbocharged version producing 276. It came equipped with a manual or CVT automatic transmission; the manual was more reliable. CVTs had become notorious for jerking and shuddering while shifting gears; they could also lead to mechanical problems that necessitated regular servicing visits for repairs.

Though its attributes were unquestioned, the Forester was plagued with numerous issues during its later years, such as faulty ignitions, excessive oil consumption, passenger airbags not deploying, and frail windshields. Due to high owner complaints and recalls, its reliability score fell below average.

2006 – 2007

The original Forester hit showrooms in 1998 and quickly made waves for being an SUV with car-like handling and maneuverability. Owner satisfaction was exceptionally high; safety ratings were near-perfect; fuel economy was satisfactory, and KBB values remained stable.

By 2005, reliability had begun to decline for the FIXDs; owners reported more issues than average, repair costs increased significantly, and resale values declined substantially. Furthermore, forced induction caused high oil consumption levels, premature suspension coil breakage, and brake wear.

The fourth-generation Forester introduced Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance system and underwent a significant cabin makeover that raised seating positions to increase rear seat room. Fuel economy and crash test performance were excellent on these Foresters; however, their infotainment system and CVT transmission were lacking, and joint rust damage frequently occurred. before purchasing one, make sure significant rust damage hasn’t happened and check that the timing belt hasn’t snapped, as this may affect performance, as well as whether or not an owner replaced it before driving off the lot

2008 – 2010

The fourth-generation Subaru Forester represented an exciting leap forward for Subaru, successfully merging urban sophistication and off-road ruggedness into one compelling package. Subaru used a new platform for this generation, Forester, resulting in more spacious interior space, enhanced safety features, and better fuel economy.

Both critics and owners warmly received these model years, with Consumer Reports noting above-average owner satisfaction ratings. Notable upgrades include the addition of X-Mode for AWD systems, which optimizes drive dynamics in challenging terrain conditions and more comfortable suspension setups to create a more pleasant ride quality.

However, this model was not without issues. Most notable among them were transmission and engine-related, with many Forester owners reporting topics such as jerking when switching gears or an unexpected timing belt breakage; therefore, one must scrutinize their vehicle to make sure proper maintenance was provided for.

2011 – 2012

Foresters from this generation’s final years before its redesign were distinguished by improvements to drivability and safety, achieving top scores on crash tests and earning them a reputation as sensible crossovers capable of handling light off-road situations. Furthermore, they had large moonroofs with seating for five. Unfortunately, however, these cars also experienced issues. Complaints about radio and navigation systems freezing up or not turning back on were common; others included battery issues with short battery lives and P0420 being an error code typically related to malfunctioning catalytic converters.

These years witnessed Subaru’s implementation of its X-Mode feature for their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and upgraded suspension setups to improve off-road capability, owner satisfaction scores, and fuel economy metrics, all scoring above average; the EyeSight Driver Assist System was made available during these years making navigation difficult terrains more accessible, while this generation’s Foresters became known for their comfortable cabins.

2013 – 2014

The third-generation Forester was an impressive leap forward over its predecessor. Subaru adopted the much more reliable and efficient FB25B engine this time around, eliminating issues with blown head gaskets that plagued earlier generations – which led to coolant leakage mixing with oil, overheating engines, and costly repairs such as turbine rebuild.

Though this generation of Subaru Forester improved over its predecessors, owners still reported experiencing various problems ranging from transmission lurching and stuttering, broken suspension springs, unintended acceleration, and droopy rear-end issues.

Subaru significantly upgraded its fourth-generation Forester model during the last year of this generation, including lower maintenance costs, better fuel efficiency, and an increased NHTSA safety score. Furthermore, their FIXD reliability scores had also seen improvement – the best seen on this generation Forester! Unfortunately, though, this car still contains many serious flaws, which make buying one not an attractive proposition.

2015 – 2016

The third-generation Subaru Forester is an enjoyable car to drive. Although more costly than other SUVs, its performance and safety scores make up for that, not to mention its ample passenger space. When purchasing one, though, be wary of any signs of rust; costly repairs could ensue otherwise.

The fourth-generation Subaru Forester received a significant redesign in 2005 and a midcycle update in 2006. Changes included adding VVT to its naturally aspirated engine and revising its turbocharged mill’s intake and exhaust geometry. However, both models saw their reliability scores decline considerably over time due to excessive oil consumption, speed control problems, check engine light staying illuminated too long, and windshield cracks spontaneously appearing out of nowhere. Unfortunately, these results led to further complaints among owners, including excessive oil usage, speed control erraticness, persistent check engine light illuminations, and spontaneous windshield cracks appearing out of nowhere – unfortunately, dropping by nearly 20% in both years! Unfortunately, however. Unfortunately, both years saw reliability scores drop significantly, with owners reporting issues such as excessive oil consumption and irregular speed control issues with check engine lights lingering. The owner said problems, including extreme oil consumption issues and spontaneous windshield cracks, are also being reported.

This model was the first to adopt the FB25B engine, which successfully resolved recurring head gasket problems experienced with previous generations of this vehicle and provided improved fuel economy and off-road capability.

2017 – 2018

Subaru has taken steps to upgrade Forester’s off-road capabilities in this generation with increased ground clearance and suspension tweaks, adding a turbo engine option and Lineartronic CVT transmission for improved fuel economy. Furthermore, front cross-member rigidity has been enhanced along with rear trailing link bushing optimization to increase steering response and straight-line stability and improve its steering response and straight-line stability. Furthermore, their infotainment system now features a more intuitive Starlink touchscreen control and EyeSight suite for enhanced safety, including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking features.

Overall, this model year of Subarus has been well received by both owners and critics. Owner satisfaction levels are very high, while fuel economy falls below average. Crash-test ratings are outstanding, while Kelley Blue Book values have also seen significant appreciation. Overall, it makes an excellent choice if you want something with solid reliability as a base. If considering purchasing one of these vehicles, however, be sure that proper maintenance was conducted throughout its life – any models with significant reported issues should also be avoided as much as possible.