1999 Subaru Forester S from North America


Gigantic lemon


Check engine light came on as we drove it home from the seller after the car was purchased

- 07/08: Head gaskets replaced, resurfaced heads, diagnosed engine cylinders for cracks, replaced shot radiator, thermostat, engine cleaned - BIG job, over $2000.

- 10/09: Engine light on again less than 6 months --- spark plugs, back tail light, AND leak in gas tank - $800

- 02/10: No check engine light, but the car starts to emit a burning smell, makes buzzing noises frequently - electrical problems due to undiagnosed water leakage --- windows/ doors/ alarm become inoperable and the car locks and unlocks and engine starts by itself! The car is possessed. $700 to fix electrical problems, cover exposed wiring and patch leaking spots, replace wobbly ball joint (still not fully patched since car washes cause the car to fill up with water, and right passenger front window does not work).

- 05/10: Car check engine light now back on and catalytic converter needs replacing. $1000 plus estimate

...thousands of dollars in repairs in less than two years, a used car that's worth $0... Subaru, NEVER again.

General Comments:

Are Pintos still available? I'd prefer that instead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th June, 2010

13th Aug 2010, 11:05

I've had a 1999 Subaru Forester S since I purchased it new. 11 years later, I have 198,000 miles on it and it's still running strong. The only thing I've had to replace are the normal things after so many years.. (spark plugs, battery, brakes). The one thing I did have to replace that was the most costly was the timing belt, which I had to throw down about $750.

I don't believe you can purchase a 10 year old vehicle from someone though and call it a lemon. Sounds to me like the previous owner ran the car ragged & didn't keep up with the normal maintenance. Sorry to say, but you just got the shaft from that seller.

30th Nov 2011, 13:48

All wheel drive is there to assist you in traction when accelerating. When it comes to stopping or going around corners, it's up to you to adjust your driving to the road conditions.

1999 Subaru Forester L 2.5L from North America


Scary in the snow


The engine had a lower end knock, and the front CV joint broke at around 100k. Otherwise the vehicle was reliable.

General Comments:

The vehicle has great visibility, and the cargo room was good for its size.

The seat are most uncomfortable I have ever been in. When driving over 3 hours, my right leg fell asleep no matter how I adjusted the seat.

The vehicle is also a bit scary in the snow and ice. It does an OK job driving in the snow and ice as long as you do not slide. Once the vehicle starts sliding, the AWD system tries to help traction, but the vehicle ends up spinning out of control (Consumer Reports has confirmed this in the latest reviews). I had the vehicle checked out by the dealer for any failed components after my scary skid, and there are no issues.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st November, 2009

1st Sep 2015, 15:09

AWD is only going to help if you use the gas pedal. Slamming on the brakes in the snow after you start to slide will only worsen things. You need to know how to drive in the snow; it's not the AWD. I've never once heard of a Subie being bad in the snow. I know in my Forester you have to try just to unsettle it in the snow. You must steer with the throttle in AWD... if it slides, just give it more gas and let the AWD figure it out.

1999 Subaru Forester L from North America


I'd still buy another Subaru Forester; the last 40,000 miles have been problem free


Shortly after owning my vehicle, the clock in the head console area quit working. I noticed that water was dripping from the clock location, possibly from condensation. This only happened once.

At 5,000 miles, I could smell anti-freeze while the heater was on. I had the vehicle serviced and was told that the head gasket was beginning to leak. The cost for replacement was covered under warranty.

At 9,300 miles, upon smelling anti-freeze again I immediately suspected a leaking head gasket. It was completely blown out. It was replaced and covered under warranty.

At approximately 13,000 miles the speedometer malfunction; misreading 35 mph for 65 mph, and 80 mph for 25 mph. It was replaced at approximately 13,000 miles and covered under warranty.

At approximately 25,000 miles, the head gasket was leaking again and was replaced under warranty.

Shortly thereafter I received a letter in the mail from Subaru stating that the 1999 Subaru Forester was sold with a warped head, and that I should take my vehicle to the local Subaru dealer, where they would use a special additive to help reduce the leakage problem with the head gasket. The letter stated that if this was done, the warranty on the engine would increase to 8 years or 100,000 miles. I took advantage of this.

At about 52,200 miles the head gasket was again leaking, however, this time the dealer told me that the engine was finished and that I would need a new short block. I was temporarily not happy. However, the service rep said that they would try to get Subaru to cover the expense of the short block replacement. The replacement of the short block was covered under warranty.

Sometime, and I don't recall when, the driver side heated seat control button malfunctioned such that it lit up, but it did not work properly. I took it in to be fixed, and was told that it worked fine and that I was not operating it properly. When I received my vehicle, it indeed did work but for a short time; whereupon it malfunctioned again. I have yet to have it repaired.

General Comments:

The vehicle when driven at all speeds hugs the road; it is slightly top heavy around corners at higher speeds, but that is to be expected for that type of vehicle.

I found the seats to be comfortable; heated for winter months, lumbar support for lower back and firm seats provides leg support for long road trips.

I like the individual folding down back seats, and have used my vehicle often for carrying large items.

The vehicle has plenty of head room, which was one of the selling factors for me.

The floor mats on the driver side have a tendency to creep forward. A plastic peg which is affixed to the floor is supposed to hold the mat in place, however, it does not.

While the CV Joint boots sometimes become cracked due to driving in extremely low ambient temperatures during the winter season. I've never had problems with the CV Joints. The CV Joints were problematic with my previous vehicle.

I love the all wheel drive capability and can feel it working while driving over icy patches. When I first owned the vehicle, I would purposely accelerate on ice to see how it would handle; it handles superbly.

With the exception of the head gasket problems up to 52,200 miles, I haven't had any problems since, and I'm currently at 92,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2009